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Angels 2018 payroll outlook

Free agents, arbitration, Opt-outs - Eppler has some work to do

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Note: Miggs1337 did a great writeup on this topic a few weeks ago.
This is just another take and breakdown of the numbers and based on current arbitration estimates from MLB Trade Rumors.

2018 Luxury Tax Threshold = $197 million

The numbers below add up to about 152 million, giving the Angels about 40 million in wiggle room, but some definite holes to fill. The total numbers in some cases are approximate based on players final salary after arbitration and wether or not they decide to enter arbitration with some of these players and/or exercise 2018 options.

Approximate Numbers:

Free Agents: 11
Arbitration eligible: 10
Under Contract: 5
Team Control/AAA: 13
Opt-Opt/Buy-Out: 3

2018 Payroll numbers

Group PLAYER AGE POS. 2018 Projected Notes
Group PLAYER AGE POS. 2018 Projected Notes
Catchers Martin Maldonado 31 C $2,800,000.00 Arb Estimate
Carlos Perez 26 C $555,000.00 Team Control
Juan Graterol 28 C $555,000.00 Team Control
Infield/DH Albert Pujols 37 DH $27,000,000.00 under contract
Andrelton Simmons 28 SS $11,000,000.00 under contract
Luis Valbuena 31 3B $8,000,000.00 under contract
Jefry Marte 26 3B $555,000.00 Team Control
Kaleb Cowart 25 3B $555,000.00 Team Control
C.J. Cron 27 1B $2,800,000.00 Arb Estimate
Going, Gone? Nolan Fontana 26 SS AAA
Going, Gone? Brandon Phillips 36 2B Free Agent
Going, Gone? Yunel Escobar 34 3B Free Agent
Going, Gone? Cliff Pennington 33 SS Free Agent
Outfield Justin Upton 30 LF $28,000,000.00 opt out / re-sign?
Mike Trout 26 CF $34,083,333.00 under contract
Kole Calhoun 29 RF $8,500,000.00 under contract
Going, Gone? Ben Revere 29 CF Free Agent
Going, Gone? Eric Young Jr. 32 CF Free Agent
Going, Gone? Shane Robinson 32 CF Free Agent
Starters Garrett Richards 29 SP $7,000,000.00 Arb Estimate
Matt Shoemaker 31 SP $4,400,000.00 Arb Estimate
Parker Bridwell 26 SP $555,000.00 Team Control
Andrew Heaney 26 SP $800,000.00 Arb Estimate
Nicholas Tropeano 27 SP $555,000.00 Team Control
Tyler Skaggs 26 SP $1,900,000.00 Arb Estimate
Alex Meyer 27 SP $555,000.00 Out for 2018
J.C. Ramirez 29 SP $2,600,000.00 Out for 2018 ??
Going, Gone? Ricky Nolasco 34 SP $1,000,000.00 BUY OUT
Going, Gone? Jesse Chavez 34 RP/SP Free Agent
Going, Gone? Troy Scribner 0 RP/SP AAA ?
Bullpen Blake Parker 32 RP $3,000,000.00 Arb Estimate
Cam Bedrosian 26 RP $1,200,000.00 Arb Estimate
Keynan Middleton 24 RP $555,000.00 Team Control
Eduardo Paredes 22 RP $555,000.00 Team Control
Noe Ramirez 27 RP $555,000.00 Team Control
Blake Wood 32 RP $2,200,000.00 Arb Estimate
Going, Gone? Huston Street 34 RP $1,000,000.00 BUY OUT
Going, Gone? Yusmeiro Petit 32 RP Free Agent
Going, Gone? Bud Norris 32 SP Free Agent
Going, Gone? Andrew Bailey 33 RP Free Agent
Going, Gone? Jose Alvarez 28 RP Release ?
Going, Gone? Jason Gurka 29 RP AAA
Going, Gone? Fernando Salas 32 RP Free Agent
TOTAL $152,833,333.00

UPDATE: As CalEaglesFan pointed out, I forgot to estimate based on AAV. Ie., Trout makes 34 million next year but the payroll for calculated luxury tax numbers is 24 million (based on AAV over the contract term), so 10 million less. Simmons and Pujols combined account for 5 million less in the numbers above. So that 152 million number (which includes 28 million for a left fielder) is probably closer to 138 million. Without the left fielder thrown in you are closer to 110 million.



The Angels ended 2017 with 3 catchers on the payroll. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Carlos Perez end up on another team or spend 2018 mostly in AAA as a depth option. Catcher spend in 2018 should end up around 3.3 million with 2.8 going to Maldanado and the rest to whoever lands the sparse backup job.

Questions: What happens to Perez and Graterol? Does one of them end up as Maldy’s backup or does Eppler look elsewhere?


The Angels are stuck with Albert Pujols for a while so let’s hope a full off season of conditioning really does help him perform better in 2018. Escobar, Pennington, and Phillips are all gone with Fontana maybe ending up in AAA or being released. Things are getting crowded at the corners with Cron, Cowart, Marte, and Vlabuena.

Questions: The Angels can’t shuttle CJ Cron down to AAA anymore and they may have to pay him close to 3 million to keep him. Will they foot that bill? Cowart and Marte were less than impressive last year but are under team control so we’ll see what happens there. Who is going to play second base? Who is the utility guy going to be with Pennington a free agent? Will Valbuena play 3rd on a regular basis?? There are a lot of questions for Eppler to answer this coming off season regarding the infield - and especially second base - again.


Things are pretty set with Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout who are both under contract. Trout gets another huge bump and his 34 million will make him the highest paid player in baseball next year. He will pass Kershaw who will make 33 million in 2018.

Questions: Who will the 4th outfielder be? Robinson, Young, and Revere all all free agents. The Angels may try to sign a free agent 4th outfielder or someone like Michael Hermosillo may get a shot. Either way, the Angels are pretty short on 4th outfielders AND outfielders at AAA after this season. The Angels need to spend here either by keeping Upton at 22 million or re-signing him as a free agents - assuming his value doesn’t shoot too high.


Billy Eppler shouldn’t bother with Ricky Nolasco or Jesse Chavez next year. Go ahead and give Nolasco that 1 million buyout and say “thanks for the memories”. Richards, Shoemaker, Heaney, Skaggs, and Ramirez are all due for Arbitration so it will be a busy negotiating season with the pitching staff. The health of Ramirez leaves doubt as to if he can play next year and Alex Meyer is definitely out.

If Ramirez can’t pitch, you are left with Richards, Shoemaker, Bridwell (what a bargain!), Heaney, Tropeano, and Skaggs. Six pitchers aren’t going to get your through the season and maybe they keep Scribner around and stash him in AAA.

Questions: The Angels COULD benefit from a big free agent signing, but it probably won’t be on the top of their list with a “planned” full year of Skaggs, Heaney, Richards, and Tropeano being back. If the Angels signed a starter, I would expect a back of the rotation guy in the 8 million dollar range or less since it’s easy to overspend on starters who end up letting you down or getting hurt (I just don’t see Eppler taking that route).

What ever happened to Nate Smith and will he be in the picture for 2018? How about Scribner? Can Jaime Barria crack the roster for opening day and if not - at what point in 2018 does he get the call up? As always, lots of questions for the Angels rotation that probably won’t be fully answered until March or April.


Most of the 2017 bullpen pitchers are either free agents, release/opt-out candidates, or arbitration eligible. The later include Blake Parker who should get a hefty bump, Cam Bedrosian, and Blake Wood - if the Angels decide to keep him which I’m not sure they should. Besides Parker and Bedrosian, you have Middleton, Paredes, and Noe Ramirez who are all under team control.

Questions: Chavez, Norris, and Bailey are all free agents that will probably land somewhere else in 2018. Wright and Magnifico will probably end up in the minors. Eppler should already be writing a 1 million dollar buyout check to one “Huston Lowell Street”. Blake Wood and Jose Alvarez are arbitration eligible and would get pay bumps if they stick around but it’s no loss letting them go. I expect the Angels to spend some money on the bullpen, either keeping some of these guys around/re-signing, or getting some other free agents. At the very least, then need to get busy on re-signing Yusmeiro Petit - stat!