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Dodgers' final payroll cost: $248 million

New York YankeesVernon Wells

What price glory, or return to glory? For the Dodgers, the price was a quarter-billion dollars.

The Dodgers were assessed $11.4 million under baseball's luxury-tax system, a person familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it said Tuesday.

That puts the Dodgers' total player expenditures for last season -- payroll for a 40-man roster, plus incentive bonuses, benefits and tax payment -- at $248 million.

In their first full season under ownership of Guggenheim Baseball Management, the Dodgers made their first playoff appearance since 2009. The Dodgers finished two victories shy of what would have been their first World Series appearance since 1988.

The luxury tax kicked in last season for any team with a payroll above $178 million. That threshold rises to $189 million this season. However, since the Dodgers will exceed the threshold for the second consecutive season, they will pay 30% on the amount above $189 million, rather than the 17.5% rate they were assessed this year.

The Dodgers opened last spring on pace for the highest payroll in major league history, although the New York Yankees finished with a payroll  $147,000 more than the Dodgers' -- that is, a difference smaller than baseball's minimum wage.

When the Yankees acquired outfielder Vernon Wells from the Angels last season, the teams structured the deal so the Yankees would absorb a luxury-tax hit for 2013 and the Angels would do so for 2014. That deal has put the Angels close to the $189-million threshold, with owner Arte Moreno reluctant to exceed it.

The Dodgers insist their emphasis on player development eventually will lower the payroll to the point where the team will not be subject to luxury-tax assessments. It is unclear when that might happen, but next year appears out of the question.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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