Which MLB teams are slated to pay the luxury tax in 2023?
Mets owner Steve Cohen. Frank Becerra Jr. / The Journal News / USA TODAY NETWORK

The highest number of teams to pay the competitive balance tax in a single season is six, which occurred in 2016 and 2022. It’s possible that 2023 could be a record-breaking season in that regard, as Roster Resource currently has six teams already over the $233M base threshold, while the Dodgers are a rounding error away from the line and another handful of teams not too far off.

These numbers are still unofficial, especially considering the arbitration salaries are mostly still estimates. Teams can also change their status by making trades throughout the year, either adding or subtracting from their ledger, but consider this a rough snapshot of where things currently stand.

Top Tier – CBT Above $293M

The Mets are not just beyond the top CBT tier, they’re on another planet. Owner Steve Cohen has shown that he doesn’t care too much about what it costs to put a competitive team together, with their payroll currently projected for $376M and a CBT figure of $390M. They are currently slated to pay over $116M in taxes alone, which is more than the total 2023 payroll of 11 teams.

CBT Between $273M and $293M

The Yankees are alone in this tier but are just barely under the top threshold. Roster Resource currently has its CBT figure at $291.8M, giving them very little room for further additions without going over. If they stay above the $273M line, both the Yankees and Mets will see their top pick in the 2024 draft moved back by 10 spots. Both the Mets and Dodgers were more than $40M above the base threshold in 2022, meaning their top draft picks will be moved back in the upcoming draft.

CBT Between $253M and $273M

The Padres are the only club in this section, with their CBT number currently pegged at $267M.  Since they paid the tax in 2021 and 2022, they are set to be third-time payors in 2023. That means they are currently slated for a 62% tax on spending over the $253M line and will continue to do so for any further additions. Jumping over the $273M line would lead to a huge spike to a 95% rate, as well as their top 2024 draft pick being pushed back 10 slots.

CBT Between $233M and $253M

The Phillies, Braves, and Blue Jays are currently in this group, with the Phils ahead of the other two at $251M. The Phillies also paid the tax in 2022, setting them up to be a second-time payor. That means they are currently set to be taxed at a 30% rate, with that rate jumping to 42% for spending that goes over the $253M line.

Both the Braves and Blue Jays would be paying the tax for the first time in their respective histories, putting them each in line for a 20% tax rate on spending over the line. The Jays are only a hair over right now, with Roster Resource calculating their number at $233.2M, with Atlanta at $240M.

Just Under The $233M Threshold

The Dodgers are currently calculated for a CBT figure of $232.9M, just barely under the lowest line. It’s been rumored they would like to limbo under the line to reset their status since that would allow them to go into 2024 as a “first-time” payor. Doing so will be a challenge at this point unless they move something off their books.

A few other teams are within range of the Dodgers and could have to start thinking about the tax line if they make another significant signing or trade. The Rangers and Angels are each at $220M, the Cubs at $214M, the Red Sox at $212M, the Astros at $209M, the Giants at $208M, and White Sox at $205M.

This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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