Monday, September 07, 2009

The best and worst in the Majors in payroll value

Once you have finished reading this report you will want to give the front office of the amazing Florida Marlins a big pat on the back. You will also feel like laughing (or shouting, if you are a fan) at the front office of the New York Mets.

Whatever about who is going to win what in ’09, there are some MLB teams doing a fantastic job on shoestring budgets, whilst there are several that are blowing through cash harder than Mike Tyson or MC Hammer. Actually, MC Hammer might run the Mets better than the current incumbents, and look more stylish doing so. That’s how bad things are for the ‘Amazins’.

There is a very straight forward way of telling what MLB teams are getting the most out of their payroll, and on the flip side, those that are getting the least out of same. If you take the payroll for ’09 for each team and divide it by the number of wins they have to date, what do you get? A dollar amount on each win for that team in the ’09 MLB season.



No prizes at all for guessing who came out last. Probably none for guessing who came first either. The Florida Marlins are really incredible. On a paltry ’09 total salary figure of $36M the Fish have managed a superb 72 wins. What that means is every win has cost the Marlins $.50M. Now that is serious bang for your buck.

The worst team is of course none other than the New York Mets, and they are worst by a long distance too. The ’09 Mets cost $149M to ‘put together’ (I use the inverted commas as it’s hard to believe there is a plan to the ’09 Mets, and the phrase ‘put together’ implies planning) and have to date ‘amassed’ 62 wins. This means each of those precious wins has cost the NY Mets $2.40M. Incredible.

The best and worst in the Majors

So on one hand you have a well run, massively cost efficient, young, talented team with a huge upside and on the other you have, well, you have the New York Mets.

Other teams worthy of credit are Tampa, Texas, St Louis and Colorado. All of those teams have produced high win totals on low budgets, in fact all of the above have a win average of less than $1M for the ’09 season, truly commendable. Tampa’s figure of $.88M per win is particularly of note, as their 72 wins have come in the ‘Group of Death’ otherwise known as the AL East. Their figure will come down drastically next season, with Scott Kazmir off the books, of course their win total might come down too, sadly.


Tampa - getting the job done

The above commendation of Tampa only shows just how incredible the Florida Marlins really are. Tampa have almost double the Marlins budget (63 against 36) however both teams have the same win total (72).Someone needs to study how the Marlins are running their ship, and pass that information on to some of the teams that aren’t exactly being fiscally sound in their team building.

The list is fascinating.

There are a group of teams in the top ten of lowest dollars spent against wins that you would think are doing a good job, however when you see how low their win totals are, all they are doing is basically treading water. San Diego, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Oakland all have really low budgets, and very low dollars per win totals, but they also have pathetic win totals. This means that although the front offices of those teams are doing a good job keeping costs down, a great job in some cases, their win totals are so low that, really, what’s the point?

These guys might be the worst offenders of the lot. At least the Mets are so bad they are entertaining. What exactly is the point of the Padres, Pirates, Twins or A’s? There is no point in these teams crying foul in that they have such low payrolls they can’t put a competitive team on the field, the Florida Marlins are a dramatic and comprehensive rebuke to that hypothesis.

There are a stack of teams idling along in mid pack with dollar per win totals in the $1M to $1.4M mark, some who are actually doing pretty well considering low-ish payrolls against admirably high win totals. The LA Dodgers are one, with a dollar to win average of only $1.23M. They are a good example of a big market team that is still getting the job done at the front office level. Take Manny Ramirez out of that payroll and the job they are doing gets even better.

There are four power-house teams that are all paying relatively high (in the $1.4M to $1.5M range) for their wins, however they can all argue convincingly that their high win totals, in aggressive, competitive divisions, are worth it to their rabid fan bases. Those four are Anaheim, Detroit, Philadelphia and Boston.

Team wins Payroll average per win
Anaheim 81 113 1.40
Philadelphia 77 113 1.47
Boston 79 121 1.53
Tigers 75 115 1.53


Finally, on to the dead beats.

The following teams, with one slight exception, should all be ashamed of themselves. First to the possible exception. The New York Yankees have the second highest dollars per win average, trailing the pathetic New York Mets by only $.09M, at a whopping $2.31M per win. Putting that in prospective, the next highest dollars per win of a successful team are the Tigers and Red Sox at $1.53M, an almost unbelievable $.78M less than what it costs New York for almost the same result. Yankees fans will argue, however, that the total is the cost of staying ahead in the super competitive (with the exception of the awful Orioles) AL East. They will argue, with some merit, that the big lead they are enjoying over Boston and Tampa is absolutely worth an enormous $2.31M per win.

There are no excuses for the following pack of chug monkeys.

Someone in the front office of the Cubs, the Astros, the White Sox and the Royals needs to come out and explain to the respective fan bases what exactly they are playing at. The Cubs have a whopping $1.97M per win, their win total of 68 doesn’t compute once put alongside their $134M ’09 payroll. They, in particular, are only saved by the sheer magnificence of the keystone cop like front office of the worst team in baseball.

The New York Mets are in a whole category to themselves.

Their ineptitude simply has no peer.





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