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Who earns the highest percentage of his team’s payroll?

Jul 7, 2011, 7:20 PM EDT

Carlos Lee Getty Images

Would you believe it’s Houston’s Carlos Lee?

Over at the Baseball-Reference blog, Neil Paine has listed the top 100 salaries as a percentage of a team’s payroll, and Lee holds an edge over Travis Hafner for first place.

Five players are earning more than 20 percent of their team’s payroll (salaries in millions):

1. Carlos Lee (Astros) – $19.0/$70.1 – 26.9%
2. Travis Hafner (Indians) – $13.0/$49.2 – 26.4%
3. Todd Helton (Rockies) – $20.3/$88.1 – 23.0%
4. Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners) – $18.0/$86.5 – 20.8%
5. Joe Mauer (Twins) – $23.0/$112.7 – 20.4%

Alex Rodriguez, the game’s highest-paid player comes in at No. 19. His $32 million salary accounts for 15.8 percent of the Yankees’ $202.7 million payroll.

The Red Sox stand out as being exceptionally well balanced. Their high earner, Josh Beckett, makes just 10.5 percent of their payroll ($17.0/$161.8), placing him 80th on the list. To put that in perspective, he accounts for a lower percentage of their payroll than Lyle Overbay does the Pirates or Randy Wolf does the Brewers.

  1. royalsfaninfargo - Jul 7, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    What do Travis Hafner and Carlos Lee have in common? Neither one has been able to stay healthy or done s*** since they signed their deals.

  2. kiwicricket - Jul 7, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    Nearly 50% of the Card’s payroll would be Pujols/Holliday if they re-sign him. Not sure that would work would it?

  3. aceshigh11 - Jul 8, 2011 at 5:08 AM

    Given that the Sox have WAY overpaid some lackluster players in the last few years (Lackey, Drew), I wouldn’t mind seeing their payroll become LESS balanced, so long as they paid lesser talent their true worth…

    …or let some other team get suckered by an agent’s hype.

    • dan1111 - Jul 8, 2011 at 6:06 AM

      Lackey’s contract looks bad in hindsight, but at the time there was nothing to suggest that he was a lackluster player. He had been consistently very good for five years.

      Drew was overpaid, perhaps, but on the whole he has been productive.

      Not every move works, but the Sox have done very well. They are one of the teams least likely to get suckered by an agent’s hype.

      • aceshigh11 - Jul 8, 2011 at 10:43 AM

        Good points!

  4. royhobbs39 - Jul 8, 2011 at 7:11 AM

    Where would McCourt or his sons have fallen on this list if he was a player?…

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