Royals fans can lose hope already; team payroll almost full (update)

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What does $70 million on payroll mean to you?
  • What does $70 million on payroll mean to you?
The mantra of Royals fans, for what feels like an eternity, has been some curse-filled variant of "We're getting close. Have you seen our minor league system? It's sick, bro. Sick." That was (and is) true, and now the fruits of the Royals' bumper crop are being realized. And that's good because The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton reports that the team's coffers are just about dry.

Team owner David Glass had previously told Dutton that the team would be fine spending $70 million on payroll. That seemed reasonable enough; nobody expected Glass to turn on a fiscal fire hose and douse the best free agents with rich contracts. But Dutton revealed Thursday that Glass was a little tricky with his word choice around the $70 million statement. See, when you or I or your mom or Buster Olney or, say the Royals' beat writer at the only daily paper in the city, discusses an MLB payroll, we're talking about what is being paid out to the team's 25-man roster. Like, "Holy hell, the Yankees spent $195 million on payroll last year!" That number is calculated by adding up the salaries of the 25-man roster.

Glass apparently doesn't speak like the rest of us. No, when Glass is talking about payroll for his precious club, he's talking about the total team payroll, Dutton reported Thursday. As in, he'd go as high as $70 million for the 40-man roster, draft pick signing bonuses and international expenditures. In other words, the team is already at its budget limits. Or, as Dutton puts it: "That reduces the break-even point for the 25-man roster - the figure generally used for comparison purposes in public discussions - to roughly $57 million."

Update:The Star has since amended its piece to explain that the team plans on using $70 million to cover just the 40-man roster. It will not include signing bonuses and international spending.

Dutton also notes that the projected 25-man roster is already at approximately $65 million. This is why instead of looking to sign a top-notch starting pitcher, general manager Dayton Moore is looking to trade Wil Myers, the team's top minor league prospect for pitching.

So Royals fans are in for another season on a shoestring. Certainly not surprising, but it's disappointing that Glass was misleading with his payroll estimate. But, hey, the team is totally getting close, right?

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