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$10 Million Left
2004-02-10 11:19
by Jon Weisman

Twenty-two players, $89.75 million.

That's where the Dodgers stand in salary committments today, with players signed and players destined to be signed via arbitration or contract renewals.

Kurt, the author of Arrive in the Third, Leave After Seven, e-mailed me a link to a syndicated Vero Beach Press Journal interview with Dodger owner Frank McCourt. The Q & A contains the usual McCourt platitudes, Florida style, but McCourt does reiterate that "I just wanted to assure the fans we're going to have a $100 million payroll and this is a major market team."

It's not the $120 million we would have expected six months ago, but even without a trade, the Dodgers have approximately $10 million to spend. While they may not want to bump against that limit in February, that's still a big nugget. Were they to trade Odalis Perez' $5 million salary, they would have even more room.

Ostensibly, three slots on the 25-man roster remain. If Darren Dreifort (or anyone, for that matter) starts the season on the disabled list, four slots remain. At least one of those slots, if not two, will go to a minimum-wage pitcher, like Steve Colyer or Edwin Jackson. That leaves $9 million to $14 million to spend on two hitters, or on a single hitter if you keep a low-cal guy like Joe Thurston or Jose Hernandez.

Something can still be done.

Dodger 2004 Salary Commitments

Shawn Green$16.0 million
Darren Dreifort$11.0 million
Hideo Nomo$8.0 million
Todd Hundley$6.5 million
Adrian Beltre$5.0 million
Odalis Perez$5.0 million
Jeff Weaver*$4.75 million
Paul Lo Duca$3.9 million
Paul Shuey$3.8 million
Juan Encarnacion$3.5 million
Kazuhisa Ishii$2.6 million
Brian Jordan**$2.5 million
Tom Martin$1.65 million
Wilson Alvarez$1.5 million
Alex Cora$1.3 million
Robin Ventura$1.2 million
Jolbert Cabrera$1.0 million
Dave Roberts$0.975 million
Bubba Trammell***$0.3 million
Total$80.475 million

*$6.25 million minus Yankee contribution of $1.5 million
**Buyout of 2004 option
***Yankees paying remainder of $1.85 million salary commitment

Additional Dodger 2004 Salary Estimates

Eric Gagne$6.5 million
Guillermo Mota$1.5 million
Cesar Izturis$0.5 million
Dave Ross$0.4 million
Total$8.9 million

Player Distribution
Catchers (3): Hundley, Lo Duca, Ross
Infielders (5): Beltre, Cora, Ventura, Cabrera, Izturis
Outfielders (4): Green, Encarnacion, Roberts, Trammell
Starting pitchers (6): Dreifort, Nomo, Perez, Weaver, Ishii, Alvarez
Relief pitchers (4): Shuey, Martin, Gagne, Mota

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