Setting the Budget is the the first important step to the new season. This isn't the only place where one can fail during a season, but can be the beginning, especially to a rookie. Setting the budget requires some information gathering before deciding where to put your hard earned dollars from the fans. If you have a question, try clicking on the HELP button. If that doesn't clarify your question, don't be afraid to ask for help. You can also go to the Hardball Dynasty forum for help also. The Aaron/Ruth has a lot of info in it, but can take a long time to find anything specific.
1. One of the first things I do is find out how much money is expended on players for the season already. To find this info, select Finances and Franchise Payroll Analysis under the World Office menu. At the bottom it will give you the Player Payroll Budget and Player Payroll Used (may want to write those numbers down).
2. Next select Contracts and Arbitration Report under the GM's Office, this will give you a list of players seeking arbitration. You can hit the negotiate button to find out how much a player wants per season (remember you only need season 1) and add the total up for each player you plan to keep. There is nothing that says you have to arbitrate with players. You can meet their demands. You can trade them, do it real early so the trade is completed before the deadline. Lastly is to release them before the arbitration deadline.
3. Next is your Free Agents, this report is located in the same place as step 2. Pay attention to the notes section of any Free Agent. If you plan to keep him, make sure you add it to the budget. You may want to sign one of your Free Agents, but you may see in the notes section that he may be a Type A, this means he could get you an extra draft pick or two in the first or second round if signed by another team. As a rule I do not release Free Agents, I let them sit. As the season gets underway and they are not signed, they start lowering their asking price, making the over-priced suddenly affordable most of the time.
4. Add all this up and add about 5 to 10M for the season and that should give you an inkling of what the Player payroll should be.
5. Coaches, first you need to find out what coaches are returning that you desire to keep. You can find this out by looking at the Rehire Coaches under the Admin drop down. You can even select the coaches that you want to rehire (the ones that want to stay) and it will make a running total for you even. The ones you are worried about the most here is the ML coaches. They cost the most and will cost you the most money to replace and it even gives you minimum amounts you can spend, don't pay much attention to that as a good coach won't even be close to that amount. The most expensive to replace is the Bench Coach, Pitching Coach, and Hitting Coach, they can run 2M to 4M+ in the dog-eat-dog coach hiring phase. So plan accordingly, of course the better the coach, the better the player can advance and teams can win.
6. Prospect Payroll allows you to pay the signing bonus money for International players and draft picks, there actual salary comes from Player Payroll.
7. College and High School Scouting allows you to see the ratings of the players in the draft. The more you spend here, the truer the numbers will be.
8. International Scouting finds out-of-country players from all over the world throughout the season. The more you spend, the more and better players they will find, some of them can be AAA and ML ready even. An International Player is a Free Agent and several teams could be bidding on his services driving the price up. If you sign an International, the signing bonus comes from your Prospect Payroll, so be careful not to empty it before the draft.
9. Advance Scouting allows you to see any active player and his rating values, the more you spend the truer the numbers.
10. Training helps players from getting injured, also think the more spent here, the higher the players health rating goes up at rollover time (just an observation).
11. Medical helps players rehab faster after getting injured.
*Note: Player Payroll is the only one that does not have a 20M cap. It will allow you to max out a cap on some and others is incremental at +/- 4M per year.