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 second baseman from Philadelphia to the NL West leaders raised the Dodgers' projected payroll for tax purposes to about $298.5 million, according to calculations by Major League Baseball. Performance and end-of-season award bonuses for others could make the Dodgers the first team to reach the $300 million mark.
Luxury tax payrolls are based average annual values of contracts for the 40-man roster. 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 year in a row.
Its projected tax bill is about $44 million. It would top the record $34 million paid by the 2005 Yankees.