Monday, July 18, 2005

Wiggle Room

There is an important feature of the salary cap next season. The $39 million figure represents the maximum a team can spend in a year on player salaries. It does not represent the maximum a team may spend at one time. So, a team could have salaries totaling $36 million for the first 41 games, then add $6 million in salary to bring them up to $42 million. But, since they would only be paying for half of the new $6 million (only playing half the games for the new team) then they would have actually only spent $39 million. It's a great way for teams to add a big name for the playoff hunt.

However, this also ensures that no team will spend up to $39 million. If a team has a payroll at exactly $39 million and someone gets injured, a player will have to be called up from the minor leagues. That player will be making the league minimum $450,000. But the team will still have to pay the injured player. So unless they get rid of salary before the end of the season, this would put them over the $39 million total spent on salaries in a season. I expect smart team who want to max out to spend around $37 million, giving them wiggle room for injuries and an acquisition for the playoffs.