Report: Dodgers’ 2015 payroll is an MLB-high $262.6 million.

According to Yahoo! Sports, the Dodgers’ 2015 payroll projects to be an MLB-high $262.6 million. That includes players who are unsigned and eligible for salary arbitration, and players with 0-3 years’ service time who have not yet reached agreement on a 2015 contract.

The $262.6 million an estimate. So is the $275.2 million we estimated recently using a different methodology ($10 million combined for all 0-3 players, rather than $500,000 per player). As with all estimates, take each of those numbers with a grain of salt. Gather enough grains together, and you get a sense for the bigger picture.

The bigger picture is that the Dodgers are still baseball’s biggest spenders. From the Yahoo! piece:

Nearly two-thirds of the teams in baseball could start the season with $100 million-plus payrolls, with the Dodgers, Yankees ($210.9 million) and Red Sox ($180.5 million) all certain to exceed the $189 million luxury-tax threshold. Rounding out the top five payrolls are Detroit ($168.8 million) and World Series champion San Francisco ($160.7 million).

The biggest salary jump comes in Seattle, where the Mariners’ offensive additions bumped their payroll to an estimated $122.5 million, more than $30 million ahead of 2014. The Dodgers are second at $27.3 million, though in reality they’ll actually be spending less on players in their uniform this year: they’re paying a combined $37.5 million to cover the salaries of the released Brian Wilson and the traded Matt Kemp and Dan Haren.

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Don Mattingly on A.J. Ellis, Yasmani Grandal and personal catchers.

Yasmani Grandal

Switch-hitting Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has a 105 OPS-plus in his career batting right-handed and an 88 OPS-plus batting left-handed. (Getty Images)

Don Mattingly addressed the media yesterday for the first time since the Winter Meetings. I posted a bunch of videos from his interviews here. My story about the impending center-field competition is here.

Mattingly addressed a number of topics after my video recorder ran out of memory, or unfit for print. One was the catcher position.
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Video: Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson talks rookie program, patience, etc.

Joc Pederson gave a seemingly mundane interview [above] to MLB.com today, talking about his personal development as a hitter and the rookie development camp going on this week in Los Angeles. Two things to keep in mind about what he said:

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Zaidi: Dodgers ‘will definitely be a player’ in the Yoan Moncada mercado.

Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi told MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that the Dodgers will “definitely be a player” for free agent Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, confirming earlier reports. You can hear that full interview here.

Moncada, 19, has drawn throngs of scouts to his workouts. He could command up to a $50 million signing bonus. Since he is less than 23 years old, Moncada’s bonus would count against a team’s international spending allocation. By extension, the team that signs Moncada faces a heavy tax from MLB, a situation that favors the big-market clubs with money to spend. The Red Sox and Yankees were initially reported as the heavy favorites to sign Moncada.

Since Moncada’s major-league debut is likely years away, it’s too soon to know whether or not to believe the hype. He hasn’t even been cleared to sign with an MLB team by the federal government, which always comes with an unpredictable timetable. That said, there’s been a lot of hype about his baseball talent. How he left Cuba legally, with the government’s blessing, is another story without fully-fleshed details. We’ll pass along more as the story develops.

One more reason to click on the link to the interview: At the end, Zaidi comments on GM Dave Stewart’s assertion that the Arizona Diamondbacks are a “true baseball team” because their decisions are not driven by analytics.

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Update: Dodgers, A.J. Ellis avoid arbitration at $4.25 million.

Catcher A.J. Ellis batted .191 in 93 games for the Dodgers last season. (Associated Press photo)

Catcher A.J. Ellis batted .191 in 93 games for the Dodgers last season. (Associated Press photo)

The Dodgers and catcher A.J. Ellis have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract worth a reported $4.25 million.

Ellis, 33, made $3.55 million in 2014, when he batted .191/.323/.254 in 93 games. The new contract would make Ellis the 12th-highest paid catcher in baseball, not bad for a player who has yet to hit free agency.

MLBTradeRumors.com projected Ellis to earn $3.8 million in arbitration.

The Dodgers acquired switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal from the San Diego Padres in December with the intention of dividing playing time between Grandal and Ellis in 2015.

Five other Dodgers remain eligible for arbitration: pitchers Kenley Jansen and Juan Nicasio, infielder Justin Turner and outfielder Chris Heisey. The Dodgers avoided arbitration with infielder Darwin Barney in December by agreeing to a $2.5 million contract.

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Dodgers announce all their minor-league managers will return in 2015.


The Dodgers will retain six of their minor-league managers in 2015 while adding a fourth coach at every level.

Damon Berryhill (Triple-A Oklahoma City) and Razor Shines (Double-A Tulsa) will be moving to Oklahoma with the club’s top two affiliates. P.J. Forbes (Single-A Rancho Cucamonga) and Bill Haselman (Single-A Great Lakes) won’t change addresses. John Shoemaker (Rookie-advanced Ogden) and Jack McDowell (Rookie-level AZL Dodgers) will switch positions.

We’ll be getting comments from Dodgers farm director Gabe Kapler shortly. Here is the Dodgers’ complete 2015 minor league coaching roster:

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Update: 27 Dodgers prospects will participate in winter development camp.

Jarret Martin

Twenty-seven prospects will invade Dodger Stadium this week for the club’s annual winter development camp. (Associated Press photo)

Eighteen-year-old pitching prospect Julio Urias, who was invited to his first major league spring training last week, will take part in the Dodgers’ winter development camp for prospects this week at Dodger Stadium.

Urias is one of 27 prospects who will take part in this year’s camp, up from 15 a year ago. Earlier today we posted a partial list of four prospects who will take part in the eighth annual camp (Grant Holmes, Jose De Leon, Cody Bellinger, Ryan Scott).

The other 23 participants include pitcher Zach Lee, who also took part in last year’s camp and spent all season at Triple-A. Pitchers Carlos Frias and Daniel Coulombe, who earned their first major league call-ups last September, have also been invited. Another pitcher of note is Ross Stripling, who underwent Tommy John surgery in spring training of last year.

Catcher Austin Barnes, who was acquired in the trade that sent Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to the Miami Marlins, will take part in the camp. So will outfielders Scott Schebler and Darnell Sweeney, who will be in the Dodgers’ major league spring training camp.

Urias isn’t even the youngest invitee. That would be Michael Medina, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic who is 12 days younger than Urias. He finished last season with the Rookie-league AZL Dodgers.

Shortstop prospect Corey Seager, 20, was invited to spring training but was not invited to the camp.

Here’s the full list, via DodgerInsider.com:
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Dodgers prospects Grant Holmes, Jose De Leon en route to Los Angeles for rookie camp.

A partial list of participants in the Dodgers’ rookie development camp was revealed Monday. Sort of.

Catcher Ryan Scott, first baseman Cody Bellinger and pitchers Grant Holmes and Jose De Leon all announced via Twitter that they were flying to Los Angeles and/or participating in the annual camp this week. See below:

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Analysis: The Dodgers’ roster is still bloated.

Tim Wallach is addressing the #Dodgers. First full team workout is in progress.

A photo posted by J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) on


One question was posed to me several times this week: Are the Dodgers done making moves?

No. Ask Andrew Friedman or Farhan Zaidi or any GM, and he’ll say his work is never finished. There’s always an intriguing minor-league free agent somewhere (see: Chin-Hui Tsao), an injury waiting to happen. Some person or event will inevitably shift a team’s needs. Baseball is a dynamic sport. The only constant is change.

Furthermore, hasn’t the roster changed enough? As DodgersInsider.com recently pointed out, only 15 players on the current 40-man roster appeared in a game for the Dodgers in 2013. That was before Erisbel Arruebarrena was designated for assignment to make room for Brett Anderson (which doesn’t affect the stat I just cited, but still constitutes change).

OK, so the Dodgers have made a lot of moves recently and thrown around a lot of money in the process. But how much money, and where have all those moves left the 2015 club?

Here’s what got me thinking about this. Zaidi has already said that obtaining an eighth inning-type reliever is something the Dodgers will look at, either via trade or free agency. As I wrote yesterday, if the Dodgers have reason to be concerned with their roster, it might be what happens with the ninth inning if Kenley Jansen is hurt or sputtering.

Then I tried to figure out how adding a proven eighth-inning pitcher, someone who would cost more than your typical middle reliever, would impact the Dodgers’ current roster balance and payroll. That’s when this little thought exercise got messy. And complicated. Spreadsheets were needed. God help you if you’re a non-roster invitee trying to make this team out of spring training.

The Dodgers’ payroll is bursting at the seams because of pricey former players and potential 25-man roster guys. Still.

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