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None of the top-nine payroll teams are still alive in the playoffs

Oct 8, 2011, 11:55 AM EDT

Money Bag

Just a quick update on something Aaron mentioned yesterday.

With the Phillies eliminated, we can now say that none of the top-nine payroll teams made it through the first round of the playoffs. In fact, the Tigers and Cardinals are the only teams left with a payroll north of $100 million.

Here are the payroll and payroll ranks of the four remaining teams, according to USA Today:

10. Tigers – $106 million
11. Cardinals – $105 million
13. Rangers – $92 million
17. Brewers – $85 million

It’s even interesting when you look at the teams who were eliminated in the first round. The Rays and Diamondbacks were among the bottom six in payroll while the Yankees and Phillies ranked one and two, respectively. The playoffs can be pretty random, but we somehow ended up with four teams in the middle. Parity feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

  1. paperlions - Oct 8, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    No team from the bottom 43% are in the playoffs….so………..parity? Really?

    Congrats to low payroll teams that might catch lightning in a bottle once every few years and then get bounced in the first round of the playoffs, this is parity. Uh…huh….

    • meteor32 - Oct 8, 2011 at 1:16 PM

      The Rays who have been in the playoffs 3 of the last 4 years are lightning in a bottle?

    • Mark - Oct 8, 2011 at 2:27 PM

      It couldn’t be because those teams are rebuilding, and traded away their stars so that they could better compete in the future? No, that makes way too much sense why the bottom payroll teams rarely compete…

      And I’ll echo Meteor on the Rays. Not just making the playoffs, but winning the East a couple times too.

    • paperlions - Oct 8, 2011 at 3:29 PM

      …and all they had to do to amass that talent was to draft in the top 5 for over a decade…then lose most of those players to FA to get a crap load of compensation picks….there is a reason other teams have not done what the rays have done…..and yes, within the context of the life-time of a franchise, the Rays did catch lightning in bottle….as they will not be able to keep many (if any) of their stars once they start costing money in arbitration, never mind trying to keep them off the FA market.

      • clydeserra - Oct 8, 2011 at 5:13 PM

        Exactly. Not only do they have to get the top picks, but they have to stay healthy and develop well

      • lukeslice - Oct 8, 2011 at 8:04 PM

        You mean like Longo, who’s got a team option to stay until 2016? The only players they’ve really lost at this point were Carl Crawford/Soriano (who sucked this year anyway) and Carlos Pena (who kinda sucks period minus the occasional bomb). WIth the Rays being smart in the draft, this ain’t lightning. Price/Shields/Hellickson/Matt Moore ain’t going anywhere right away.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 8, 2011 at 9:59 PM

        Seriously, are we still beating the draft-high strawman? They got Price, Longo, Niemann and Upton out of the top ten. The rest of the team has come from deeper in the draft and shrewd acquisitioning.

  2. proudlycanadian - Oct 8, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    Are you implying that money can’t buy happiness? Too much money can affect the motivation of some players. Too often, players with big contracts go into tail spins.

    • hittfamily - Oct 8, 2011 at 1:33 PM

      I think all players can go into tail spins. The ones who make the most money are least likely to do it, because they have the most skill. Longoria made less than 1 million dollars this year, and was far below his norm til September. No one paid much attention to him batting .240 this year because he is so cheap. When a league minimum player goes in a slump, no one notices. When highly paid players get in a slump, everyone notices.

    • bobdira - Oct 8, 2011 at 1:45 PM

      Not lightning in a bottle, but not the “free agent” path that other teams with resources follow. The Rays organization has shown how by suffering for several years and getting good draft picks, Deftly trading value for value and making few (Burrell) mistakes, you can compete. But honestly, they are doing it with little help from free agents that others covet.

      No one wanted Damon. No one wanted Farnsworth, No one wanted Kotchman. They found value where other teams who had money went in a different direction,

      • hittfamily - Oct 8, 2011 at 2:46 PM

        I don’t think their high picks help them very much.

        Top picks over the years overall picks:
        Josh Hamilton: Long gone, nothing in return
        BJ Upton: Very average centerfielder, below average most years
        Delmon Young: Traded for expendables; Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett
        Tim Beckham: Marginal Minor Leaguer
        Jeff Niemann: Solid #4 starter
        Longo, Price: The only stars taken in the first round to ever play for them

        Their success has far more to do with scouting and player development than high picks.

      • bigleagues - Oct 8, 2011 at 6:54 PM

        But the Rays best draft picks which have come to fruition in recent years – are guys they draft in the 4th round or lower, out of High School and commit to developing on a 4-6 year program – rather than drafting college players, who cost more to sign.

        And I agree with the lightening in the bottle. It’s one thing to “find value” it’s another to sign Farnsworth and Kotchman and have to rely on them. Kotchman, for one, after a hot start cooled off considerably and was regressing back to his career averages – which aren’t good.

  3. cintiphil - Oct 8, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    I don’t agree with the premise here either. The thing about spending more money than anyone else is HOW the money is spent. It looks like the Phillies spent a lot of money on Howard, but probably not well spent. Not just because he didn’t do well here, but he has a history of going into long slumps and now some injuries. This is why now, I don’t think the Cardinals will empty the purse for Albert. He does not have 10 more great years ahead of him, and injuries are a problem. I think the Cardinals like the Reds & Brewers have a much better front office than do the Phills or even the Yankees and Red Sox. I am sure that the cards can afford 10 years at 30 Mil. for Albert, but they are much too smart to pay it.

    • Ari Collins - Oct 8, 2011 at 12:46 PM

      The Phillies payroll this year was actually well-spent. I mean, Raul was definitely overpaid, and Howard a bit overpaid, but everyone else lived up to their contracts. That’s how you win 100+ games.

      Their future payroll could be a problem as the stars move into their mid 30s and get worse as they get paid more, but this year, they got great performances for their money overall.

  4. redbear18 - Oct 8, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    It’s not as much as the NFL, but this is the most parity I’ve ever seen in the MLB. Good to know that you can’t always buy a championship.

    • Ari Collins - Oct 8, 2011 at 1:12 PM

      The last 10 championships have been won by 9 different teams, and unless the Cards win, that’ll be 10 teams in 11 years. So that’s pretty decent parity, right there.

      • paperlions - Oct 8, 2011 at 3:30 PM

        worst metric of parity ever. How many teams started the year with no hope whatsoever and ended the year the same way? How many of those teams did the same thing in 2010 and will do it again in 2012? Too many.

      • dprat - Oct 8, 2011 at 4:44 PM

        A huge amount of NFL parity is the residue of a 16 game season. This year, if the MLB season ended after 16 games, the Indians, the Rockies, the Marlins, and the Royals would have been in the playoffs! The Pirates and the Nationals would have barely missed. Apples. Oranges.

  5. cur68 - Oct 8, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    So, its the payroll logic is it? The Beaver Men are ~ 21st or 22nd in the league. The spend around 60mil PA. Using this logic, they can afford to spend up to the Brewers and increase by 15 to 20 Mil PA. Seems reasonable that they can acquire some hitting behind Bautista and some closing for that.

  6. royalsfaninfargo - Oct 8, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    Its good for baseball when parity reigns!

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