8 MLB teams pay luxury tax, led by Mets’ $101 million, both records

The logo of the Major League Baseball. /CFP

The logo of the Major League Baseball. /CFP

The Major League Baseball (MLB) has seen two new records regarding its Competitive Balance Tax, more famously known as a “luxury tax,” for the 2023 season. Eight teams must pay it, the most since it was introduced, and among those the New York Mets will have to fork out $101 million, more than any team in history.

The previous record was $43.6 million paid by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015. The Mets also set a new record of $374.7 million in tax payroll by beating the Dodgers’ $291.1 million in 2015.

The irony is, the Dodgers won 92 games in the regular season in 2015, finished as the National League (NL) West champions and made the playoffs. By contrast, the Mets won only 75 games this season, came in fourth in the NL East and were not even close to a Wild Card berth.

In order to ease the pain of going through one of the most expensive flops in major league history, the Mets traded away multiple stars along with their huge salaries: Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, David Robertson and Mark Canha. This move saved them about $18 million.

The logo of the New York Mets. /CFP

The logo of the New York Mets. /CFP

The logo of the New York Mets. /CFP

The other seven teams that have to pay the tax are the San Diego Padres ($39.7 million), the New York Yankees ($32.4 million), the Dodgers ($19.4 million), the Philadelphia Phillies ($6.98 million), the Toronto Blue Jays ($5.5 million), the Atlanta Braves ($3.2 million) and the Texas Rangers ($1.8 million).

The Mets and the Yankees were the only two luxury-tax-paying teams that didn’t appear in the postseason. The Rangers even won the World Series championship by defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose total salaries are $116.5 million, less than a third of the Mets’ number.

The previous high for taxpayers was six in 2016 and 2022. Last year, all six paid a total of $78.5 million in luxury tax, less than what the Mets alone paid this year, and far less than the total number of $209.8 million paid by the eight teams this time.

The MLB has no salary cap but uses the luxury tax to limit big spenders. The threshold for 2023 is $233 million and will grow to $237 million next year. Meanwhile, the teams that have been paying the tax in back-to-back years will face an increasing tax rate. The Mets, the Yankees and the Phillies all belong to this category.

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