Skip to main content

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Trevor Bauer walks back to the mound after giving up a solo home run to Houston Astros' Carlos Correa on May 26, 2021, in Houston.The Associated Press

Two missing Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers, Trevor Bauer and Clayton Kershaw, earn nearly as much as the entire Tampa Bay Rays major league roster heading into the playoffs.

The defending champion Dodgers enter the post-season with more than three times the payroll of the Rays, the team they beat in last year’s World Series.

The Dodgers, who play St. Louis in Wednesday’s NL wild-card game, had a major league-high US$260.9-million payroll on Aug. 31, according to figures compiled by Major League Baseball. The New York Yankees were a distant second at US$203.5-million.

A look at the 2021 Toronto Blue Jays, an improved team that just missed playoffs

AL East champion Tampa Bay, which awaits a Division Series against the Yankees or Boston Red Sox, was 26th at US$76.6-million. That is just US$7.6-million more than earned this year by Bauer and Kershaw, both unavailable to the Dodgers this week.

Bauer, the Dodgers’ highest-paid player at US$38-million, has been on paid administrative leave since July 2 under MLB’s joint domestic violence and sexual-assault policy. Bauer, through his representatives, has denied any wrongdoing.

Kershaw, third at US$31-million behind Bauer and fellow left-hander David Price (US$32-million), went on the injured list last weekend with left forearm discomfort.

Kevin Kiermaier, the Rays’ highest-paid player at US$11.67-million, earned less than seven Dodgers. He also trails reliever Kenley Jansen (US$20-million), right fielder Mookie Betts (US$18.7-million), left fielder A.J. Pollock (US$18-million) and centrefielder Cody Bellinger (US$16.1-million).

Los Angeles was followed among post-season teams by Houston, fifth at US$188.4-million; Boston, sixth at US$187-million; St. Louis, 10th at US$167.6-million; San Francisco, 11th at US$165.4-million; Atlanta, 14th at US$149.4-million; the Chicago White Sox, 15th at US$141.5-million; and Milwaukee, 19th at US$105.2-million.

Among luxury tax payrolls, the Dodgers led at US$284.4-million and are on track to pay about US$14.9-million for exceeding the US$210-million threshold.

San Diego, which failed to reach the playoffs, is the only other team over the threshold at US$215.6-million and is on track to pay about US$1.1-million in luxury taxes.

Final figures will include earned bonuses and will be calculated in December.

Philadelphia and the Yankees were at about US$208-million each.

Luxury tax payrolls use the average annual values of contracts and include about US$15-million a team in benefits and extended benefits plus a US$1.5-million per club COVID-19 credit.