1. The current deal was agreed to in 2011.There is no new local TV money kicking in.
2. They've cleared some crappy deals, but have not created payroll space.It's great and all that they're not paying Josh Hamilton anymore, but their payroll isn't significantly lower, and they're not significantly better, so what does that matter?
3.If the money is there, why hasn't he used it yet?To return to my question, when you have what is near-universally believed to be the best player in baseball, in his prime, for relatively cheap, why wouldn't you go above luxury tax thresholds then?
4. I went off opening day payrolls from spotrac.If the owner really wanted to compete, and was ok spending money to do it, don't you think he would spend in the offseason, not wait until halfway through the year?
They are spending on the team. With some significant young pitchers either returning from injury or coming up soon from the minors, they chose to spend in short-term deals this offseason on Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill, and Cody Allen. They flirted with other starters, but the price wasn't right with the options that they have in guys like Andrew Heaney, Jaime Barria, Tyler Skaggs, Felix Pena, Jose Suarez, Griffin Canning, and down the road Luis Madero, Jose Soriano, Oliver Ortega, and Patrick Sandoval.
Most every team drops salary in the offseason and adds during the year. The Angels were trading away assets during the year last year and still ended up with more salary by the end of the season. That's the nature of the beast with any team. Here are the Twins OD/EOY payrolls the last 5 seasons:
2014 - OD: $85,465,000; EOY: $91,071,286
2015 - OD: $108,262,500; EOY: $108,275,245
2016 - OD: $105,333,700; EOY: $122,601,625
2017 - OD: $108,102,500; EOY: $123,573,527
2018 - OD: $128,713,226; EOY: $143,820,218
Every single year, the payroll was higher at year-end, whether the team was competing or not.