Opinion

How big will Royals’ 2016 payroll be? It’s approaching $130 million

The Kansas City Royals celebrated after their 7-2 win over the New York Mets in Game 5 of the World Series at Citi Field in New York.
The Kansas City Royals celebrated after their 7-2 win over the New York Mets in Game 5 of the World Series at Citi Field in New York. jsleezer@kcstar.com

The Royals have contract obligations of $120.5 million for 23 players in 2016. But how much will their opening day payroll be?

One of those 23 players, lefty starter Jason Vargas, is likely to remain on the disabled list for all of this season. The Royals also reportedly agreed to a five-year, $70 million contract with free-agent right-hander Ian Kennedy.

That leaves three spots on the Royals’ 25-man opening day roster. One Royal who filed for arbitration is unsigned: third baseman Mike Moustakas. MLB Trade Rumors projects Moustakas will make $5.7 million in 2016. The final two spots likely would be filled by free agents or players under the Royals’ control who would receive a one-year tender slightly more than the major-league minimum salary of $507,500.

Once Kennedy and Moustakas are signed, the Royals’ opening day payroll (including Vargas on the disabled list) would approach $130 million or more. Here’s a breakdown:

Outfielders

Alex Gordon, $12M

Lorenzo Cain, $6.5M

Jarrod Dyson, $1.725M

Paulo Orlando, no contract (made $507,500 in 2015)

Infielders

Kendrys Morales, 1B/DH, $9M

Eric Hosmer, 1B, $8.25M

Omar Infante, 2B, $7.75M

Alcides Escobar, SS, $5.25M

Mike Moustakas, 3B, arbitration eligible (made $2.64M in 2015)

Christian Colon, no contract (made $509,525 in 2015)

Raul A. Mondesi, no contract

Catchers

Salvador Perez, $2M

Drew Butera, $1.1625M

Tony Cruz, $975,000

Note: Royals likely to only keep two catchers on 25-man roster

Starting pitchers

Ian Kennedy, RH, $7.5M

Edinson Volquez, RH, $9.5M

Jason Vargas, LH, $8.5M (will open 2016 on DL)

Kris Medlen, RH, $5.5M

Chris Young, RH, $4.25M

Yordano Ventura, RH, $1.2M

Danny Duffy, LH, $4.225M

Relief pitchers

Wade Davis, RH, $8M

Joakim Soria, RH, $7M

Luke Hochevar, RH, $5.5M

Kelvin Herrera, RH, $2.55M

Tim Collins, LH, $1.475M

Note: Royals likely to add another reliever

Sources: Kansas City Star reports, Cot’s Baseball Contracts

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