Pirates Business: Official annual payrolls released

It took about a month longer than in the recent past, but the Associated Press finally gave us its annual gift and reported the official year-end payrolls for 2022 — both the Labor Relations Department and the Competitive Balance Tax.

This is one of my favorite and most anticipated reports of the year, because I can compare my estimates with actual verified figures.

In October I printed my estimated payroll of $60,925,548 (LRD) and $73,959,797 (CBT). How did this comparison come about?

First of all, I want to point out some quick adjustments, at least for the CBT calculation.

The AP report lists the official number of benefits that were factored into the total—$16,016,707. My estimate was based on a placeholder of $16,000,000, so I added $16,707 to the final amount. Also, between October and now it was brought to my attention that there was an undeclared bonus that the Pittsburgh Pirates had on their books, so I added another $717,213. While I’m not adding it to the LRD number, because I’m not sure if it belongs there or not yet, both of these additional amounts bring my projected total CBT to $74,693,717.

In terms of official numbers, AP has the Pirates with a payroll of LRD of $61,196,070 and CBT of $75,399,389. I decided to compare my work to that of other industry standards in this space—Spotrac and Roster Resource—and here’s what I came up with:

Department of Labor Relations
Source Final Difference % differences
AP 61,196,070
Spotter 66,184,032 4,987,962 7.54%
List resource 58,707,802 (2,488,268) -4.24%
Pirates Prospects 60,925,548 (270 522) -0.44%
Competitive balance tax
Source Final Difference % differences
AP 75,399,389
Spotter 73,807,070 (1,592,319) -2.16%
List resource 74,641,176 (758 213) -1.02%
Pirates Prospects 74,693,717 (705 672) -0.94%

As you can see, my final difference of $270,522 in the LRD calculation significantly outperformed both, while we were all much closer in the final CBT calculations. Spotrac still included the $10 million figure for He Who Shall Not Be Named, so they should be left out of the conversation entirely, as I’m not sure how they got that close in the first place.

But I digress…

In my opinion, you are in the right place for salary source. I take pride in my work and love to see the validation of that pay off.

As for the parts, I honestly don’t care, but I have to pass it on anyway:

The Pirates ranked 28thth and the 29thth in LRD and CBT totals, finishing ahead of only the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics. Year over year, Pirates has increased a total of $13,587,248 ($61,812,141 to $75,399,389) in CBT dollars, which is part of the trend that I actually find interesting.

As you can see from the figures below, CBT spending has skyrocketed from 2021 to 2022:

in 2021 in 2022 Difference
NYM 207,728,776 299,842,423 92,113,647
NYY 208,418,540 267,753,417 59,334,877
COL 117,210,393 172,251,358 55,040,965
TEX 111,309,808 160,505,146 49,195,338
DET 103,879,667 152,359,282 48,479,615
SEA 102,679,174 145,137,950 42,458,776
ATL 172,630,704 214,092,505 41,461,801
CHW 177,837,827 215,631,300 37,793,473
TBR 89,833,652 125,261,660 35,428,008
PHI 209,370,501 244,413,284 35,042,783
TOR 166,054,167 198,543,787 32,489,620
MIA 82,332,229 114,348,173 32,015,944
CLE 62,212,834 91,592,881 29,380,047
BAREFOOT 207,640,471 236,149,678 28,509,207
MIN 145,511,247 173,198,565 27,687,318
MIL 131,990,136 153,006,350 21,016,214
SDP 216,467,691 235,082,125 18,614,434
CHC 165,665,645 180,512,338 14,846,693
PIT 61,812,141 75,399,389 13,587,248
ARI 109,387,132 118,290,204 8,903,072
COLD 285,599,944 293,330,382 7,730,438
BALL 76,348,794 82,898,023 6,549,229
KCR 108,026,769 114,324,301 6,297,532
HOU 206,641,209 210,686,230 4,045,021
SFG 173,481,453 171,423,107 (2,058,346)
LAA 198,984,916 193,269,044 (5,715,872)
ANYWAY 174,582,117 160,500,353 (14,081,764)
RANK 144,248,891 125,021,497 (19,227,394)
STL 198,350,234 174,439,667 (23,910,567)
OAK 102,225,663 65,325,365 (36,900,298)
4,518,462,725 5,164,589,784 646,127,059

This is why the player fight for higher CBT thresholds was so important, as spending grew along with spending limits.

Of course, much of the heavy lifting was done before the lockdown, so 2022 may not be the best barometer; however, spending always rises directly after a new deal and labor peace is assured for several years, and so far this off-season has proven otherwise.

It’s hard to imagine the final totals falling from 2022, and it will be interesting to watch over the next few years to see if the rising tide continues to lift all boats.

Off-season calendar update

No updates here as of this week.

Pirates payroll updates

— To make space for the official signing Andrew McCutchenmarked by the Pirates Miguel Andújar for allocation.

The team already agreed to a $1,525,000 contract with Andújar in November. They’re tied to that amount no matter what—unless Andújar is fully declared and elects free agency, which is his right as a player with more than three years of service—and that guarantee actually makes him more likely to stay.

The Baltimore Orioles were able to pull off something similar recently with Ryan O’Hearn—who is close to Andújar in salary, position and service—after designating him for assignment. Teams were likely weary of making such a financial commitment to a depth team, and the Orioles knew it, also betting that O’Hearn wouldn’t elect free agency and give up his $1.4 million salary. So, they were able to keep him in the depth organization at the same price while preserving the 40-man roster spot.

That is very likely the thought process of the Pirates in making this move.

As for the salary implications, I remembered Tucupita Marcano to the active list and added an immortal Ryan Vilade back, and the payroll increased by $645,742 in the process.

— For 2023, the salary estimate is $73,202,372 for the Department of Labor Relations, while $89,619,039 is for CBT purposes.

A longtime reader of Pirates Prospects, Ethan has covered payroll, transactions and rules in depth since 2018 and has been dealing with these topics for as long as he can remember. He began writing about the Pirates at The Point of Pittsburgh before moving to Pirates Prospects at the start of the 2019 season.

Always a lover of numbers and finding answers, Ethan prefers to dive into these topics rather than what actually happens on the field. These under-covered and often inaccurate topics are truly his passion and he goes out of his way to educate fans on topics they may not always understand but are important nonetheless.

When he’s not updating his beloved spreadsheets, Ethan works full-time as an accountant while fathering two young daughters and watching too many movies and TV shows at night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *