In a hypothetical situation where Team USA remained together beyond the WBC, Ryan Braun would be under contract the longest. (Image Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

The Hypothetical Payroll of Team USA

Team USA, even before they defeated their friends to the North and advanced to the second round (that begins on Tuesday in Miami), had a roster of talent that has established themselves at the major league level. Every team in the history of ever dreams to create a team full of low-cost superstars, and I was curious how low Team USA’s costs would be in the imaginary case that they had to manage this team for 162 games, and they paid them what the players of their parent clubs signed them to. Consider also that this team has twenty-eight men on their roster as opposed to the usual twenty-five that will be on a major league team at one time.

With the help of and cross-checking of sites like Baseball Reference and Cot’s (along with the compensation page run through Baseball Prospectus), I was able to add up the salary for every year from now until the year 2021, and was also able to see how they ranked amongst the thirty major league clubs every year until 2020. My disclaimer for all this is that not all team numbers are final going into the 2013 season, and let’s not forget there is still that Kyle Lohse guy floating around waiting to be signed, so payroll rankings can still change. Also, there were four pre-arbitration eligible fellows (J.P. Arencibia, Craig Kimbrel, Vinnie Pestano, and Steve Cishek) whose salaries I had to estimate, so my numbers for 2013 might be off by $100,000-$200,000 or so. Ten players also had some sort of player or club option in their contract, and like Cot’s, I only counted what money was guaranteed and did not assume a club or player option would be picked up. On to the numbers and rankings.

In 2013, the owner of Team USA (can we call him “Captain America?”) would be on the hook for $142,152,250, and would rank seventh in the majors behind the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles, the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and Detroit Tigers. It is foreseeable that the San Francisco Giants could pass this payroll by the time the season begins, but for now, they’re behind Team USA’s payroll, and that’s with the USA having twenty-eight guys! For the next years, I will put the salary, and which teams rank near them along with an approximation of that team’s payroll (“MM” = “million”).

2014: $152,450,000 — 2nd (Dodgers at ~$172MM, Angels at ~$137MM)

2015: $136,650,000 –1st (LAD at ~$130MM)

2016: $118,300,000 –2nd (LAD at ~$124MM, LAA at ~$107MM)

2017: $94,250,000 –2nd (LAD at ~$125MM, LAA at ~$58MM)

2018: $80,000,000 –2nd (LAD at ~$90MM, Tigers at ~$29MM)

2019: $33,000,000 –1st (LAA at ~$28MM, Mariners at ~$27.9MM)

2020: $28,000,000 –2nd (LAA at ~$29MM, Reds at ~$25MM)

As you can tell, teams in the Los Angeles/Orange County areas have committed some money to their players for years to come, and Team USA has David Wright and Ryan Braun locked in for a while as well (Braun through 2021!). Despite Braun being signed the longest out of everybody on this roster, if Team USA had to pay their players, the guys that would be costing them the most would be both Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and New York’s David Wright at $138MM each. Braun sits a little less than 10% behind them at $125.5MM guaranteed. With Willie Bloomquist and Luke Gregerson set to hit free agency next year from Team USA’s roster, you wonder what Team USA would do with them, but luckily, I will choose to end all the hypotheticals now (how convenient!), and just turn my focus towards their upcoming matchups in Round Two.

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  • Aaron Somers

    Cool exercise. Nice work Stuart.

    • Stuart Jones

      Many thanks!