Thursday, April 06, 2006


The Payroll Report

Once again, the Red Sox and Yankees top the list of payrolls for 2006. And that's the way you'll read about it in the press for the next year, with no distinction between them. You'd never know, by the way they are described, that the gap between them is enough to fund over half the the teams in the league. Last year I set out to describe that gap tangibly for the casual observer, and I feel a moral obligation to my readers to update the situation.

Before jumping right into the gap, I should let you know about some major changes in payroll around the league. Eighteen teams increased their payrolls this year, by an average of 23%. This puts a slight damper on our fun here today, but makes for a more competitive league, of course, which in the end is what we are shooting for. That revenue-sharing must be working, or at least it seems to be for the Toronto Blue Jays, as they take a stab at competing in the AL East with a 57% increase in payroll. Also breaking the bank are the Milwaulkee Brewers, whose 44% bigger budget pulls them out of the MLB $40 million ghetto. And it may pay to win the World Series, but it also costs big bucks to sign guys when you're done - as we can see from the 37% increase in payroll for the Chicago White Sox. Last year we could field both Sox teams in place of the Yankees and still have almost $10 mil leftover; this year we'd need an extra $30 mil.

Not everyone is cash-crazy. Three teams remain within 1% of last year's budget, and all three moved down in payroll rankings. Omar Minaya, after throwing a ton of money at free agents last year, kept things status quo for the Mets this year. Also sticking to the budget were Seattle and San Fransico.

Nine teams cut costs, and none moreso than the Florida Marlins. While other teams feasted on the firesale in Florida this off-season, the Marlin organization has accomplished the remarkable feat of decreasing their payroll by over 75%. Last year the Marlins boasted a moderate payroll of roughly $60 mil... this year people are wondering how it's possible, but they are indeed fielding a major league team down there for less than $15 million, almost half of last year's cheapest team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Most teams cutting costs were slightly more conservative, with the only other significant drop by the Colorado Rockies at 14%.

While it's not going to make any headlines, The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox both cut payroll this year by 6.5% and 2.8% respectively. The difference between them also went down by about $10 mil, leaving the gap at a mere $74.6 million. (More than the payroll, maybe I've mentioned, of 16 out of 30 Major League teams.)

So. With all king georgie's money, and none of his men, what could we do in addition to fielding the second-richest payroll in the MLB?

We could field the Boston Red Sox +

We could field this year's Red Sox opening day WITH the Rangers, and give an extra $6.3 million to charity or just drop it like confetti into the stands during the seventh innning stretch. We could pay Boston's favorite PLUS their (last night's) second favorite, ESPN mag's hot-pick, the Moneyball A's, and still have $12.3 million to play with... that's almost enough to pay the Marlins, too!

What's that? You would really like to field three teams? Well the bottom third of last year's payroll ranks really stepped it up this year, so I'm afraid that's not possible without the help of those penny pinchin' Floridians. So we don't have the kind of variety we had last year, but it's still feasable.

How about the Boston Red Sox +

I don't want to make your head spin with all the combinations, but let's just say we could fund Fenway PLUS all the major league ballplayers in Florida, and we'd be just $2 million short of putting a fourth team on the field, the Colorado Rockies. That Steinbrenner's got some big bucks.

And isn't it a shame he is doomed this year again to have to get used to failure. For if his team is not a World Championship team, there is no Steinbrenner glory. How sad, huh?
LOL, Peter!

As long as they have that Blue Lip Gloss-Wearing, Ball Slapper, Alexis Rodriguez, they mi9ght NEVER go anywhere.

Fans should wave purses & bark, whenever he comes to bat.
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