Isn't the opposite also true then?
Say they spend $140M on payroll, but pocket the $10M. Then they actually only spent $130M, since they would have kept the $10M?
Sure, but if I'm reading Spotrac correctly, this contract puts them at $149.550M. That's without deducting the $10M. It also doesn't include Maeda getting any incentives, Perez's buyout, a 26th player, the possibility of Chacin making the team, and any callups to fill IL stints.
Depending on those play out, they could have a roster well into the mid or even upper $150Ms, perhaps even reaching $160M, particularly if they take on any salary at all at the trade deadline. Take out the $10M and they are still upper-mid $140s or pushing $150M.
For context, I don't remember many, if any, of our offseason blueprints getting past the mid-$140s. Most of the conversation I recall was hoping they would be willing to break $140M. It seems like they are well past that point.
And my point was that, to the best of what we know, they were willing to make the trade when it didn't involve getting $10M back. So, it seems they were willing to go close to $160M if needed. Let's give them credit for that.