The Dodgers haven't won the World Series since 1988 and if they fall short again this year, they might spend even more. They had the biggest impact on the elite free-agent market.
"There's a perception that we're in on a couple dozen starting pitchers, three dozen outfielders and infielders, 17, 18 catchers," GM Ned Colletti said during the winter meetings.
Toronto also bulked up, jumping from $75 million at the start of last season to about $118 million after adding Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson in trades and signing Melky Cabrera.
"You look on paper and Toronto should be in the World Series," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "The talent they've added is substantial."
Oakland showed last year that money isn't everything, winning the AL West despite the lowest payroll in the majors. The A's have gone up slightly to about $68 million.
"Our payroll, as in every year we have owned the A's, has been within our annual budget — around half of our revenue," Oakland owner Lew Wolff said in an email. "We are all set to go even as we face much larger payroll teams. Actually, that makes the season even more exciting to me."
The Mets hardly resemble a high-revenue team anymore and are down to about $90 million — and that includes about $17.5 million to account for the settlement with departed outfielder Jason Bay. After the Mets' owners settled a lawsuit caused by the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, they promised to resume spending. But they haven't broken out the checkbook just yet, except for a new long-term deal with new team captain David Wright.
"I think we would anticipate being big investors where appropriate," owner Fred Wilpon said.
The AP's figures include salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses and other guaranteed income for players on active rosters, disabled lists and the restricted lists, and rosters will change before teams must cut down to 25 active players. For some players, parts of deferred signing bonuses and salaries are discounted to reflect current values.
For the first time, the AP study presents payrolls for both active rosters and rosters following adjustments for cash transactions in trades, signing bonuses that are the responsibility of the club agreeing to the contract, option buyouts and termination pay for released players.
For instance, the Astros are paying Pittsburgh $4.5 million as part of last year's trade sending Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates. Houston's active payroll for its 25-man roster will be about $19 million, the lowest in the major leagues since the 2006 Florida Marlins at $15 million.
AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley and AP freelance writers Mark Didtler, Maureen Mullen and Dick Scanlon contributed to this report.
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