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2004, Revisited
2003-12-11 01:30
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

This morning, before the Kevin Brown news broke, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register quoted Dodger general manager Dan Evans as saying that the team's budget for 2004 salaries will again be "right around where we were last year."

This contradicts those who have suspected that Evans was under orders to reduce the budget amid the pending sale of the team. The 2004 budget projects to be about $120 million.

With that in mind, in case there is any doubt about the spending room trading Brown would create, take a look at this:

Dodger 2004 Salary Commitments

Shawn Green$16.0 million
Darren Dreifort$11.0 million
Hideo Nomo$8.0 million
Todd Hundley$6.5 million
Jeff Weaver*$4.75 million
Paul Lo Duca$3.9 million
Paul Shuey$3.8 million
Kazuhisa Ishii$2.6 million
Brian Jordan**$2.5 million
Tom Martin$1.65 million
Robin Ventura$1.2 million
Total$61.9 million

*$6.25 million minus Yankee contribution of $1.5 million
**Buyout of 2004 option

Additional Dodger 2004 Salary Estimates

Eric Gagne$6.0 million
Adrian Beltre$4.5 million
Odalis Perez$4.0 million
Guillermo Mota$1.0 million
Jolbert Cabrera$0.5 million
Dave Roberts$0.5 million
Cesar Izturis$0.5 million
Dave Ross$0.4 million
Total$17.4 million

That gives the Dodgers 18 players at a cost of $79.3 million, leaving the team about $40 million to spend. (There would actually be a fraction more, but because the Dodgers will use more than 25 players in 2004, we'll leave that fraction for the in-season replacements.

What slots are vacant on the 25-man roster?

  • Two pitchers, one of them presumably Wilson Alvarez, the other a minimum-salaried minor leaguer
  • A starting second baseman or shortstop (that's assuming the Dodgers do not offer arbitration to Alex Cora, who earned more than $1 million last season)
  • A starting outfielder
  • A starting first baseman
  • Two reserves
I think one can presume that the Dodgers can fill the two pitching slots and the two reserve slots with a total expenditure of $5 million.

That leaves $35 million for the two starting infielders and the starting outfielder - an average of $11.7 million per slot. If they want to replace Dave Roberts too, they can still spend an average of $8.75 million per slot.

And that doesn't even factor in what the Dodgers can still do in trade.

That, my friends, is a lot to work with.

You can pursue everyone, from Nomar Garciaparra, to Miguel Tejada, to ... Vladimir Guerrero.

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