Chase Utley's acquisition puts the Dodgers close to becoming the first team with a $300 million luxury tax payroll.
The trade Wednesday that sent the six-time All-Star second baseman from Philadelphia to the NL West leaders raised the Dodgers' projected payroll for tax purposes to about $298.5 million, according to calculations by Major League Baseball. Performance bonuses for other players and end-of-season award bonuses could make Los Angeles the first team to reach $300 million.
"That's fine. They haven't won the championship," Orioles OF Adam Jones said. "You still have to play between the lines — same thing with the Yankees in the '90s and 2000s. It's baseball, man. Our union is tough enough to fight for our rights, and we don't have a salary cap. Los Angeles is the second-biggest city in the United States. They can support it. I don't have to pay it."
Luxury tax payrolls are based on average annual values of contracts for the 40-man roster and include about $13 million per team in benefits, such as the health and pension plan, and payroll, unemployment and Social Security taxes paid by clubs.
Los Angeles is well above the $189 million tax threshold and will pay at a 40 percent rate for exceeding the mark for the third straight year. Its projected tax bill is about $44 million, topping the record $34 million paid by the Yankees after the 2005 season.
The Dodgers' luxury tax payroll includes about $40 million for players no longer with the organization. Los Angeles paid $11.4 million in tax in 2013 and $26.6 million last year, when its tax payroll was $277.7 million.
Its regular payroll — salaries plus prorated shares of signing bonuses and earned bonuses — is about $285 million, up from a record $257 million last year.
GIANTS-REDS TRADE: The Giants acquired Marlon Byrd and cash from the Reds to boost their injured outfield. CF Angel Pagan is on the 15-day DL with an injured right knee. LF Nori Aoki came off the concussion list Thursday, but RF Hunter Pence went on the DL with a strained left oblique. Minor-league RHP Stephen Johnson was also sent to the Reds in the deal.
TIGERS-JAYS TRADE: Veteran LHP Randy Wolf was acquired by the Tigers from the Blue Jays for cash considerations. Wolf is scheduled to start against Texas on Saturday, which is his 39th birthday. He was 9-2 with a 2.58 ERA at Triple A. The club also placed a pair of starters, LHP Daniel Norris (oblique) and RHP Anibal Sanchez (right rotator cuff), on the disabled list.
D'BACKS: Former Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson was played on the 15-day DL with a strained left hamstring. RHP Chase Anderson was recalled from Triple A.
Pirates: OF Travis Snider was signed to a minor-league deal after he was released by the Orioles earlier this month.