Dodgers record-high luxury tax number is actually misleading
On a technicality, the Los Angeles Dodgers have the MLB’s highest payroll for the 2022 season, but it likely won’t last long.
With Trevor Bauer’s contract still floating around to the tune of a $32 million salary for this year, the Dodgers’ $310.6 million payroll would be the largest in MLB history and would also result in the largest luxury tax bill ($47 million) in MLB history given they are repeat offenders of exceeding the tax threshold.
Remember all the talk about LA wanting to remain under the “Cohen Tax” threshold of $290 million this offseason, though? The organization was clearly banking on a Bauer suspension to make that a reality.
Because if that wasn’t the case, they wouldn’t have been able to sign Freddie Freeman. When Bauer was suspended for two-plus seasons in late April, the Dodgers likely exhaled, but the pitcher’s current appeal continues to leave everything in limbo. Nonetheless, the team should at least be relieved of his dollars in 2022.
Here’s the latest from the Associated Press:
"“After adding Freddie Freeman and reaching a big one-year deal with Trea Turner, Los Angeles was the only team to exceed the new fourth threshold, the so-called Cohen Tax named after New York Mets owner Steven Cohen. But the Dodgers’ payroll would drop by about $28.1 million if the domestic violence suspension of pitcher Trevor Bauer is upheld by an arbitrator. The Dodgers’ payroll included $34 million for Bauer, the average of his $102 million, three-year contract.”"
Trevor Bauer’s bloated salary would hurt the Dodgers if he wasn’t suspended
If you subtract Bauer’s $28.1 million — assuming his suspension is at least upheld through 2022 — from the Dodgers’ current payroll, you get $282.5 million, which would incur a tax of $39.375 million (they pay 75% on every dollar spent above $230 million, which, in this case, is $52.5 million).
That would also be a single-season record, though, beating out the Dodgers’ 2021 mark of $32.65 million paid in luxury taxes. That bill would make up a large percentage of some of the lowest payrolls in the sport, too.
That’s, in large part, thanks to these salaries:
- Freddie Freeman: $27 million
- Mookie Betts: $22.5 million
- Trea Turner: $21 million
- Justin Turner: $20 million
- Clayton Kershaw: $17 million
- Cody Bellinger: $17 million
- Chris Taylor: $15 million
- Max Muncy: $13 million
Barring an unforeseen occurrence in which Bauer’s case with MLB gets overturned in shocking fashion, the Dodgers will more than likely be paying the lower bill.
Fans’ jaws may still drop as a result, but they at least won’t go through the floor with that insane $47 million figure. Probably not going to happen.