The players on the roster that haven't made it to their arbitration years, let alone their free agent years, don't get many headlines when they sign their contracts. The teams do not even announce the signings until after Spring Training is underway and the news gets mostly lost in the shuffle. The San Diego Union Tribune's Dennis Lin tweeted this today:
Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal were known to be special cases. When the Reds drafted and signed each of them they signed each of them to Major League contracts. That meant that each were put on the 40 roster from the day they were drafted and had specific salaries assigned to them. For example, here is Alonso's contract according to Baseball Prospectus (who acquired Cot's Contracts a while back):
5 years/$4.55M (2008-12)
- signed Major League contract with Cincinnati 8/15/08
- $2M signing bonus
- 08:$50,000, 09:$0.4M, 10:$0.5M, 11:$0.6M, 12:$1M
- if eligible, Alonso may opt for arbitration after 2011
- award bonuses: $0.1M each for MVP or WS MVP; $25,000 for Rookie of Year
- $78,000 for cost of 3 remaining semesters of college ($60,000 tuition, $18,000 room & board)
As you can see, the contract ran out after 2012. That meant that Alonso's service time would determine what part of the MLB salary structure he would now be in (pre-arbitration) and that the team could assign him a contract as such. In 2013, they gave him a raise of $120K. That put his 2013 salary at $1.12M. As you can see, that $980K salary that was just announced is quite the pay cut for him. It is not just less than his 2013 salary, but less than his 2012 salary as well. Alonso did not have the best 2013, but a pay cut like this was not expected. MLB rules allow the team to cut a pre-arbitration player's salary up to 20%, as long as they are still paid at least the league minimum. This was only a 12.5% pay cut, so the Padres did not pinch all the pennies, but did pinch some.
Without getting into all the same details with Grandal's contract, I can say that his salary was $1.24M in 2013. The Padres did not have to pay all of it because PED suspensions are served without pay. Apparently this opened a loophole for the team to cut his salary by more than 20%. His $792K comes in somewhere around a 35% pay cut, but if you assume he only got paid 2/3 of his original 2013 salary, then you could call it something closer to a 5% pay cut. However, I do not know for sure what Grandal ended up getting paid in 2013 so that percentage might be a bit off (it could be as high as 12%).
With these near-final numbers in, the Opening Day payroll should look something likes this:
|Player||Age||Position||Contract Status||Projected Salary ($ millions)||Notes|
|Josh Johnson||30||P||Free Agent||8|
|Joaquin Benoit||36||P||Free Agent||6|
|Cameron Maybin||26||OF||Arb Buyout||5.1||Will start on DL|
|Will Venable||31||OF||Arb Buyout||4.2|
|Nick Hundley||30||C||Arb Buyout||4|
|Cory Luebke||29||P||Arb Buyout||3.125||Will spend 2014 on DL|
|Chris Denorfia||33||OF||Arb Buyout||2.25|
|Tyson Ross||26||P||Super 2||1.98|
Note: I am calling Medica and Schuster the 24th and 25th players on the Opening Day roster, but their spots are up for grabs. You can swap them out with any other roster candidate and the salary will be approximately the same.