The unknowns that come with the coronavirus pandemic makes it very difficult to predict what might happen in the short term for baseball this year. So take with a tremendous grain of salt any attempts at even thinking about looking at 2021.
But it can still be sort of instructive to look ahead, and maybe even a little fun.
Craig Edwards at FanGraphs took a stab at projecting team payrolls for 2021 relative to the competitive balance tax, looking at rosters with no changes other than free agents leaving, plus a look at what guaranteed money is already on the books for next year (not counting the variability of salary arbitration-eligible players).
The Angels’ 2021 guarantees, relative to the CBT, are roughly $133.5 million per FanGraphs’ Roster Resource, which includes an estimate for player benefits and minor leaguers on the 40-man roster plus the contracts of Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Albert Pujols, and Justin Upton. That ranks fourth highest in baseball. Cot’s Contracts estimates are right in line, having the Angels at $133.5 million for 2021.
And that’s before factoring in folks eligible for salary arbitration next year, like Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney, Hansel Robles, and more than a handful of others.
Edwards’ conclusion was that payrolls probably would be lower next year with or without a global pandemic:
Even before COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the world, teams were looking at significantly reduced payrolls for the 2021 season. That effect might now be exacerbated, but as payrolls lower in 2021, most of the drop can likely be attributed factors that were already present – namely, that many big contracts are set to an end in 2020, and that the last several offseasons haven’t resulted in enough new long-term contracts to fill in that gap.
- Manny Randhawa at MLB.com took a stab at comparing Mike Trout with Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, a look at three of the best center fielders in major league history.
- Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic wonders what might have happened had the Angels traded for Miguel Cabrera in 2007, and the ramifications since.
- Marc Normandin at Baseball Prospectus is nervous about the two-tier division of the MLBPA, and how concessions for the present might hurt the future for players.