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The Rays payroll projects to be far lower in 2016

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A look ahead at the financial commitments of the upcoming season, in light of the Dickerson trade.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Back in October, Daniel Russell took a look at what the Rays' payroll in 2016 could be.

Now that all but one (Drew Smyly) arbitration eligible cases have been settled,  and with Corey Dickerson and Steve Pearce officially on the roster, we have a better idea of where the Rays stand for financial commitments in 2016.

Arbitration Case Results:

Player Projected Actual
Rene Rivera $1.6m $1.7m
Hank Conger $1.8m $1.5m
Logan Morrison $4.1m $4.2m
Desmond Jennings $3.1m $3.3m
Brandon Guyer $1.3m $1.185m
Alex Cobb $4.0m $4.0m
Erasmo Ramirez $2.8m $2.375m

All projections provided by MLBTR.

The above is not including Logan Forsythe's 3-year, $10.25 million extension signed earlier this month. Forsythe has a $2.5m signing bonus, and is set to only earn $1m this year.

Alex Cobb and Jake McGee were heavily involved in trade rumors this off-season, combined to make almost $9MM, and set to go through arbitration one more time before hitting free agency. The Rays settled with each player for a total of $8.8m, and then promptly traded one of them.

In total, the Jake McGee trade allows the Rays to save more than $4 million in payroll by swapping his salary for Corey Dickerson's rookie contract. Now that the deal is finalized, and that Steve Pearce is officially on the roster, we can sort out next year's financial obligations.

Looking ahead, here is how the payroll looks for the Rays.

Roster Player 2016 Salary
in $Millions
C1 Hank Conger $1,500,000
1B James Loney $8,000,000
2B Logan Forsythe $3,500,000
SS Brad Miller $550,000
3B Evan Longoria $11,500,000
LF Corey Dickerson $550,000
CF Kevin Kiermaier $550,000
RF Steven Souza $550,000
1B/DH Logan Morrison $4,200,000
C2 Rene Rivera $1,700,000
1B/OF Steve Pearce $4,750,000
OF Desmond Jennings $3,300,000
OF Brandon Guyer $1,185,000
SP1 Chris Archer $2,920,000
SP2 Jake Odorizzi $550,000
SP3 Drew Smyly $3,750,000*
SP4 Erasmo Ramirez $2,375,000
SP5 Matt Moore $5,000,000
RP Brad Boxberger $550,000
RP Alex Colome $550,000
RP Xavier Cedaneo $550,000
RP Danny Farquar $550,000
RP Steve Geltz $550,000
RP Enny Romero $550,000
RP Andrew Bellatti $550,000
DL Alex Cobb $4,000,000
DL Chase Whitley $550,000
TOTAL: $64,830,000

*Siding with the higher number and assuming Smyly wins his arbitration hearing.

Even with the extra players it is below 2015's payroll of $75.794,234, which Sternberg called "beyond uncomfortable" last season.

With a possible deal, and possibly another trade, the Rays could shed even more salary heading into 2016. Desmond Jennings is either relegated to the bench in this scenario, or displaces Steven Souza in the starting line up.

Jennings seems to be the odd-man out, and stands on a list with Rene Rivera (blocking Curt Casali) and James Loney (blocking Richie Shaffer) as likely Rays to be traded. If all three players were shipped out, the team would shed an additional $13 million in salary.

The extra money could be used to sign pillow contracts to players looking to rebuild their value, or the front office could head into this season in hopes of fielding the lowest payroll in baseball. Either way, the Rays will be in contention for that dubious honor.