Oakland A’s could be forced into record payroll for 2022

Aug 31, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Oakland Athletics left fielder Mark Canha (20) celebrates his two run home run with first baseman Matt Olson (28) during the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 31, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Oakland Athletics left fielder Mark Canha (20) celebrates his two run home run with first baseman Matt Olson (28) during the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Oakland A’s are not a team that is known for their high payrolls. In fact, the A’s have never had a payroll over $100 million, with a payroll of $92 million as their high water mark. Even their acquisition of Starling Marte had a financial component as they had the Marlins pay the rest of his remaining salary. You know you’re pinching every penny possible when the Marlins are picking up the tab for a player.

However, the A’s may not have a choice as it comes to their payroll in 2022. While they have just over $14 million committed to salary next year, the A’s also have an incredible arbitration class with almost every key piece of their roster due for a raise in the upcoming offseason.

Oakland A’s could be forced into record payroll

As it currently stands, the A’s have at least 11 players eligible for arbitration. This includes their top two starters in Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea, first baseman Matt Olson, third baseman Matt Chapman, and outfielder Ramon Laureano. Closer Lou Trivino is also amongst that group, and even if he does not handle the ninth inning next year, is still a key part of the bullpen.

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Out of that group, there are some players that could reasonably be expected to non-tendered in Burch Smith and possibly Adam Kolarek if he becomes eligible for arbitration this year. However, that would be a relatively small drop in the bucket compared to the salaries that one could reasonably expect that the rest of the A’s arbitration class could receive.

MLBTR projects that class to receive just over $58 million, which already pushes the A’s payroll close to their comfort level. This also leaves the A’s with just 15 players on the roster, as they would also need to find a way to replace their free agent class headlined by the likes of Starling Marte, Mark Canha, and Josh Harrison.

Even if the A’s scour the bargain bin in free agency once again, they will still need to spend some money. They simply do not have the players in their system to be able to step in and handle those roles, at least not just yet. Unless the A’s make some difficult trades in the offseason and tear the roster apart, their payroll may move past their previous record.

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The Oakland A’s are going to have some tough decisions regarding their players this offseason. The payroll could reach record levels.

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