One little spreadsheet I like to put together at the end of each baseball season is the subject of this post: a look at the payrolls of the 30 teams compared side-by-side with their seasonal performance and then looking at the playoff teams.
Here’s the table; the teams are sorted by the Opening Day Payroll as calculated by Cots. I used Cots’ numbers because they were far more accurate than other typical sites that report these types of things (Googling leads to tables at Newsday, CBS and USAToday among others). Cots are the most accurate because they take into account payments to former players, which is significant in some teams. The other lists do not take this into account, just summing the payroll of the players still on the roster. The team this makes the most difference for in 2013 is the New York Mets, who released Jason Bay but are still on the hook for his $17M payroll this year; that took them from the #23 payroll to #15 just by itself.
|Team||Cots Opening Day Payroll||Cots Opening Day Rank||Final W/L||W/L Rank||Playoff Status||Payroll/Record Delta (CBS)|
|New York Yankees||$228,106,125||1||85-77||14||-13|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||$216,753,286||2||92-70||8||NL West||-6|
|Boston Red Sox||$154,555,500||4||97-65||1||AL East||3|
|Detroit Tigers||$148,693,600||5||93-69||6||AL Central||-1|
|Los Angeles Angels||$137,271,250||6||78-84||17||-11|
|San Francisco Giants||$136,908,777||7||76-86||18||-11|
|Toronto Blue Jays||$119,277,800||9||74-88||20||-11|
|Chicago White Sox||$118,914,500||10||63-99||28||-18|
|St. Louis Cardinals||$116,790,787||12||97-65||1||NL Central||11|
|Cincinnati Reds||$106,855,533||13||90-72||11||NL WC||2|
|New York Mets||$93,684,590||15||74-88||20||-5|
|Atlanta Braves||$90,039,583||17||96-66||3||NL East||14|
|Kansas City Royals||$81,871,725||22||86-76||12||10|
|Cleveland Indians||$80,605,733||23||92-70||8||AL WC||15|
|San Diego Padres||$68,333,600||25||76-86||18||7|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||$66,805,000||26||94-68||5||NL WC||21|
|Oakland Athletics||$61,964,500||27||96-66||3||AL West||24|
|Tampa Bay Rays||$61,928,975||28||92-71||7||AL WC||21|
The “delta” column gives a barometer for teams who over performed or under-performed based on their salary.
Some interesting observations in bullet-form:
- The Jason Bay note from above: nearly 20% of the Mets’ payroll this year is dead money.
- 3 biggest over-performers this year shouldn’t be a surprise: Oakland, Tampa and Pittsburgh.
- The biggest under-performer also isn’t much of a surprise: Philadelphia.
- Only 3 of the most expensive 10 teams made the playoffs.
- Half the top 10 payroll teams finished with a LOSING record. That’s amazing.
- The Dodgers spent nearly as much as 3/5ths of its divisional rivals (San Diego+Colorado+Arizona’s payroll).
- I didn’t realize just how much payroll the White Sox were carrying this year, for a last-place finish.
- Miami more than halved their payroll from last year to this. Los Angeles more than doubled theirs.
- Washington, despite the disappointing season, finished almost exactly where they should have based on their payroll; they had the 12th best record of any MLB team and had the 11th highest payroll.
- The only two teams to “under-perform” their payroll and make the playoffs were Detroit and the Dodgers.
- Boston was the only team to “over-perform” their payroll rank of the 11 highest payroll teams. That’s a lesson for you.
The playoffs consisted of:
- 3 high-payroll teams (LA, Boston, Detroit)
- 3 mid-league payroll teams (StL, Cincinnati, Atlanta)
- 4 lowest third of the league payroll teams (Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Tampa)
This post dovetails nicely into my next coming post, which looks at the roster construction of the 10 playoff teams and talks about team building mechanisms.