Six teams are set to pay penalties under the newly restructured competitive balance/luxury tax for their 2022 payrolls, per a report from the Associated Press. Each of the Mets, Dodgers, Yankees, Phillies, Padres and Red Sox is currently over the threshold. That marks just the second time since the luxury tax’s inception that six teams will pay the tax.
This will be the second straight year paying the tax for both Los Angeles and San Diego. Each of the other four clubs was under the threshold in 2021 and thus counts as a first-time luxury tax offender.
The 2022-26 collective bargaining agreement not only saw the tax thresholds increase by a relatively significant margin — it also implemented a newly created fourth tier of penalization. For a reminder, the new thresholds are as follows:
Tier One: $230-250MM (teams pay a 20% overage)
Tier Two: $250-270MM (32%)
Tier Three: $270-290MM (62.5% for first-time payors; 65% thereafter)
Tier Four: $290MM+ (80%)
For second-time payors (i.e. Dodgers, Padres), those rates jump to 30%, 42%, 75% and 90%, respectively.
While those sound like substantial penalties at first glance, the actual amounts to be paid by most teams in excess of the luxury tax is relatively minimal. Those clubs are only taxed on dollars over the threshold, leading to often trivial sums of money (by the standards of a Major League franchise, anyhow). The Padres, for instance, are less than $3MM over the threshold, per the AP, so even with an increased 30% tax rate they’re only set to pay a bit more than $800K. The Red Sox are roughly $4.5MM over the threshold, putting them in line to pay about $900K in fees. The Phillies ($2.6MM) and even the Yankees ($9.4MM) are also looking at generally small sums, relative to their annual payroll marks.