- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

NEW YORK — Chase Utley’s acquisition put the Los Angeles Dodgers close to becoming the first baseball team with a $300 million luxury-tax payroll.

The trade Wednesday that sent the six-time all-star second baseman from the Philadelphia Phillies to the National League West leaders raised the Dodgers‘ projected payroll for tax purposes to about $298.5 million, according to calculations by Major League Baseball. Performance bonuses for other players and end-of-season award bonuses could make the Dodgers the first team to reach the $300 million mark.

“That’s fine. They haven’t won the championship,” Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said. “You still have to play between the lines — same thing with the Yankees in the ‘90s and 2000s. It’s baseball, man. Our union is tough enough to fight for our rights and we don’t have a salary cap. Los Angeles is the second-biggest city in the United States. They can support it. I don’t have to pay it!”

Luxury tax payrolls are based average annual values of contracts for the 40-man roster and include about $13 million per team in benefits, such as the health and pension plan, and payroll, unemployment and Social Security taxes paid by clubs.

Los Angeles is well above the $189 million tax threshold and will pay at a 40 percent rate for exceeding the mark for the third consecutive year. Its projected tax bill is about $44 million, which would top the record $34 million paid by the New York Yankees after the 2005 season.

The Dodgers‘ luxury tax payroll includes about $40 million for players no longer with the organization.

Los Angeles paid $11.4 million in tax in 2013 and $26.6 million last year, when its tax payroll was $277.7 million.

The Dodgers‘ regular payroll — salaries plus prorated shares of signing bonuses and earned bonuses — is at about $285 million, up from a record $257 million last year.

Utley receives as additional $1.13 million assignment bonus from the Phillies for agreeing to the trade, raising his potential 2015 income to $16.13 million. Philadelphia also agreed to cover the cost of the $2 million buyout if the Dodgers decline his 2016 option, currently on track to be at a price of $11 million.

Los Angeles is paying $2.13 million to the second baseman for the remainder of this season. As part of the trade, the Phillies agreed to send the Dodgers $383,661 by Oct. 15, covering a portion of the $2,513,661 remaining on the second baseman’s $10 million salary for this season.

In addition, the Phillies will pay the entire cost of Utley’s roster bonus, which will be the full $5 million, unless he has a specified knee injury during the rest of the season that puts him on the disabled list for 15 or more days.

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