Thursday, March 7, 2013

Are MLB Payrolls Striking Out?

Article written by Dave Thomas
Whether you go by yourself or take family to see a Major League Baseball (MLB) game this season, be prepared to open up your wallet or purse.

According to information from a Yahoo Sports analysis earlier this year, MLB teams that are currently training in Arizona (Cactus League) and Florida (Grapefruit League) will enter the new campaign with combined payrolls amounting to a staggering $3.15 billion. That figure is a more than 7 percent jump from last year’s opening day payroll of a mere $2.94 billion.

If you flash back to a season ago, you might remember that several teams who typically are amongst the highest spenders did not even get to their league’s respective championship games, that being the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. While there may have been a time, especially for the latter mentioned team to buy championships, that seems to have become harder and harder to do these days.

The analysis points out that the Top 10 spending teams for this season will be:
1. LA Dodgers ($213 million)
2. NY Yankees ($210 million)
3. Philadelphia ($158 million)
4. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ($152);
5. Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers (both $150 million)
7. San Francisco Giants ($137 million)
8. Texas Rangers ($120 million)
9. Chicago White Sox ($117 million)
10. St. Louis Cards and Toronto Blue Jays (both $115 million)

If you were like me when you looked at that list, you were probably scratching your head that certain large-market teams did not make the list.

The most notable absences included the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs, both of whom have struggled in recent years to get a foot in the playoff door.

The Mets sliced and diced payroll a year ago, cutting nearly $44 million from their 2011 Opening Day payroll. New York, which traded last year’s N.L. Cy Young winner (R.A. Dickey) to Toronto, continues for what is mostly a youth movement, that is built around franchise player David Wright at third base.

Meantime, those lovable Cubbies are projected to have a 2013 Opening Day payroll of approximately just over $102 million. Chicago (101 losses in 2012) averted last place in the N.L. Central a season ago only as a result of the Houston Astros being even worse.

While the Cubs have been able to attract some big free agents over the years, it appears management is not going on a spending spree anytime soon, instead going the way of young talent.

Who Emerges Victorious in 2013?
So, can you buy a championship in this day and age, especially given how many pretty decent or very good players oftentimes want out of being in a Pittsburgh or Kansas City type setting that is losing year after year?

Yes, it is possible to try and buy some needed pieces to finish the championship puzzle, but it is not as easy as one might think aka the 2012 Dodgers.

With those thoughts in mind, here’s a little prediction for this coming season: The Detroit Tigers will come out of the American League pennant race to face the Cincinnati Reds, winners of the National League, for the World Series.

In six games, Detroit wins the title, breaking the National League’s recent three-year hold on the trophy.

See you in October!

About the Author: With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of business topics, including finding the best payroll companies.

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