MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers took the field Monday with the highest Opening Day payroll in franchise history, but they still have room to make in-season acquisitions, principal owner Mark Attanasio said.
The Brewers' internal payroll figure is higher than the $102,724,338 reported this week by USA Today, because the club budgets for bonuses, midseason callups and other costs. But used as a tool for comparison, the Brewers rank 15th of the 30 teams in spending on players and third in the National League Central, behind the Reds and Cardinals but ahead of the Pirates and Cubs.
"One of the benefits of being conservative fiscally all these years is we will always have flexibility to make moves," Attanasio said. "Maybe not the flexibility of the large-market deals, but if we're in contention at midseason and we need to add people, we will add people, for sure. [General manager] Doug [Melvin] often says the players dictate what we do."
Melvin made that point to the players when he addressed the team in Spring Training.
"I tell the players their performance will take our pulse as to whether or not we go out and get someone to continue a drive to postseason," Melvin said. "We leave it up to them. Their talents and performance will dictate that. I've been in a position before where you're a week before the Trade Deadline and you still don't know. You're always prepared, and Mark's always been there if we needed somebody -- we haven't been afraid to make trades."
By USA Today's standardized measure, third baseman Aramis Ramirez owns the team's highest salary at $15.1 million, followed by right-hander Matt Garza at $12.2 million and second baseman Rickie Weeks at $12 million.