Saturday December 20th, 2014

The Los Angeles Dodgers finished the 2014 season with a record payroll and have been hit with the highest luxury tax bill in the league, according to information obtained by the Associated Press.

The Dodgers' payroll, according to calculations made by the league, amounted to $257,283,410, a record that surpasses the previous high, set by the New York Yankees, by more than $20 million.

The current iteration of the luxury tax calculates payroll based on the average annual value of contracts for players on the 40-man roster, including benefits. For the first year since the current model was put in place in 2003, the Yankees are not on the hook for the highest bill.

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Teams incurred luxury tax penalties for payrolls exceeding $189 million, the threshold set for 2014.

The league's luxury tax calculations, which were based on a Dodgers payroll of $277.7 million, found that Los Angeles owes $26,621,125 this year. The tax for this season brings the team's two-year total to $38 million.

The Yankees owe $18.3 million this year, which, thanks to a payroll cut, is down from the $28.1 million owed in 2013. New York has surpassed the tax threshold every year, incurring a total of $271 million in taxes.

The tax, which the league uses to fund the Industry Growth Fund and player benefits, is due in the commissioner's office by January 21.

The Yankees, as well as the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox, were three of the league's five-biggest spenders, and all three missed the playoffs this year.

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The Oakland Athletics (23rd), the Pittsburgh Pirates (27th) and the AL champion Kansas City Royals (19th), were the teams that both made the playoffs and fell in the bottom half of the league in terms of payroll.

The league also found that the average salary rose 11 percent from last season, reaching $3,692,123 this year, the sharpest increase since 2001.

- Christopher Woody

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