Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
They say that money can't buy love in this world
But it'll get you a half-pound of cocaine and a sixteen-year old girl
And a great big long limousine on a hot September night
Now that may not be love, but it is all right

We had a brief glance at the evolving AL payrolls a few days back. It was suggested that we should see how they do these things in the Other League.

Like this! I'm going to begin in 1994 this time, when the current three-division structure began:

First, the NL East:

Ted Turner's Braves had always been willing to haul out the chequebook. At the very beginning of the free agent era, Turner ardently pusured any free agent who caught his fancy. It didn't work out very well for the most part, and the franchise was generally a loser. His best acquisition turned out to be Bobby Cox, who spent the last half of the 1980s retooling the farm system before turning those duties over to John Schuerholz and returning to the dugout. Byu 1994, the Braves had won three consecutive division titles and appeared in the 1991 and 1992 World Series. Success always drives up the payroll - furthermore, they were moving to a new division, where no one spent money the way the Braves, Dodgers, and Giants did.

But the Mets soon decided that they wanted to play too, and they wouldn't be able to compete with the Braves without spending like the Braves. And how could they not spend like the Braves? They're from New York, dammit! And by the late 1990s, there were two teams in the division spending money, and three others standing by. For much of this period, the Braves and Mets were the only teams in the division spending more than the league average.

Since then, two things have happened. The Phillies have stepped up - you probably can't get Pat Gillick to work for you otherwise. Meanwhile, Braves have scaled back - the disastrous Time Warner-AOL merger may have cost Ted Turner $8 billion dollars, and certainly changed the corporate support for the ball club. Turner has faded out of the picture. The Mets have taken upon the burden of being the division's biggest spenders, but the Braves and Phillies are both close enough financially to be competitive.

The Nats and Marlins are generally just along for the ride, although every now and then Florida apparently decides to throw around some money, win a World Series, and fade back into the woodwork. But not much - only the 1997 team had a really significant payroll spike. The cuts to their budget are always far more dramatic.

And here's the NL Central:

In the Central, three teams - Chicago, St. Louis, and Houston - have remained more or less in step for all of the last 15 years.  The other three teams have made up a separate group - we have a kind of Upstairs, Downstairs dynamic here, although the Brewers have in recent years made a move in recent years to make a Gang of Four in the high rent section.

And the NL Worst... err, West

The Dodgers and Giants had been spending to keep up with Turner's Braves, when in 1994 Atlanta was finally moved to the NL East. Yes, for more than a quarter of century, the Western Division Braves would fly west, actually change time zones, in order to play teams in the East. The Giants slipped back a little, and were soon caught by the Padres; meanwhile, the brand new Rockies were enjoying the greatest attendance figures in history and started to match the Dodgers. And then came the Coleangelo. In just their second year of operation, the D'Backs raised the ante dramatically - only the Dodgers were willing to match, and it was Arizona who walked off with the division title. The Dodgers quickly escalated, and Arizona kept pace for a few years before drifting back to the same spending levels as the other western teams. In recent years, the Giants have spent a lot of money on old players, trying to squeeze out one last post-season appearance while Barry Bonds was still around. Those days are gone now.

It seems to me that for the most part, payroll patterns have been much more stable in the NL; as if the teams have all decided where they fit in amongst their fellows. Everybody knows his place.

Of course, George Steinbrenner doesn't have a team in the National League. It was more than twenty years ago, Pat Gillick said that it was the presence of Steinbrenner's Yankees, and how he operated, that was largely responsible for the highly competitive nature of the old AL East - Steinbrenner was always going after it, always shaking it up. George may be fading from the scene, but Hank certainly appears to be his father's son. But while every now and then, the Dodgers and Mets stretch their considerable muscle and resources, they've never really asserted them to the same degree.

Anyway, here are the actual budgets. Division winners are in bold.

      AVG    Mets  Atl  Wsh  Phil Flor   Chi  Pgh  StL  Hou  Cin  Mil     LA   SF   SD   Col  Ari
1994  29.4   29.9  40.5 18.6 31.4 20.3   35.7 20.3 29.0 32.0 39.8  --    37.2 40.1 13.5 23.0   --
1995  29.0   24.3  45.2 12.0 28.6 23.7   32.5 17.0 31.0 31.6 37.2  --    30.5 34.9 25.9 31.1   --
1996  31.1   23.5  47.9 15.4 28.4 30.1   31.0 21.3 38.7 26.9 40.7  --    34.6 34.6 27.1 34.9   --
1997  36.9   38.5  50.5 18.3 35.5 47.8   39.8  9.1 44.2 32.9 46.3  --    43.4 33.5 34.7 42.9   --
1998  38.0   49.6  59.5  9.2 36.1 33.4   49.4 13.8 52.6 40.6 22.0 32.3   48.0 40.3 45.4 47.4  28.9
1999  47.6   71.3  75.1 16.4 30.5 15.2   55.4 24.2 46.2 55.3 42.1 42.9   70.9 46.1 45.9 54.4  70.4
2000  55.4   79.8  82.7 33.5 46.9 19.9   62.1 26.6 63.1 52.1 44.2 35.8   90.4 53.5 55.0 61.3  79.2
2001  63.8   93.7  91.9 34.8 41.7 35.6   64.5 57.8 78.3 60.4 48.8 45.1  109.1 63.3 38.9 71.5  85.2
2002  65.8 94.6  93.5 38.7 58.0 42.0   75.7 42.3 74.7 63.4 45.1 50.3   94.9 78.3 41.4 56.9 102.8
2003  72.9 117.2 106.2 51.9 70.8 48.8   79.9 54.8 83.8 71.0 59.4 40.6  105.9 82.9 45.2 67.2  80.7
2004  67.8   96.7  90.2 41.2 93.2 42.1   90.6 32.2 83.2 75.4 46.6 27.5   92.9 82.0 55.4 65.1  69.8
2005  72.8 101.3  86.5 48.6 95.5 60.4   87.0 38.1 92.1 76.8 61.9 39.9   83.0 90.2 63.3 48.2  62.3
2006  72.4 101.1  90.2 63.1 88.3 15.0   94.4 46.7 88.9 92.6 60.9 57.6   98.4 90.1 69.9 41.2  59.7
2007  73.7 115.2  87.3 37.3 89.4 30.5   99.7 38.5 90.3 87.8 68.9 71.0  108.5 90.2 58.1 54.4  52.1
2008  83.0 137.8 102.4 55.0 98.3 20.8  118.3 48.7 99.6 88.9 74.1 80.9  118.6 76.6 73.7 68.7  66.2
Money talks and when you've been bought
You pay attention every time money talks

11 August 2008: Money Talking Some More | 17 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Geoff - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 06:07 AM EDT (#190454) #
Fabulous stuff. Some observations I'd like to make, if I may, on your data:

Who are the biggest risers and fallers here? Pittsburgh jumped $31.2 million in 2000-01 and Arizona $31.5 million in 1998-99.

Not sure why the Marlins cuts to their budget are always far more dramatic. The one for the ages from '05 to '06 --- $45.4 million! --- is the only real tear-jerker I see. (Although dropping $32.6 over 2 years ain't shabby)

Cincinnati shed $31 million from '05 to '06 --immediately after adding $45.3 million from '04 to '05. What were they thinking then and how did they do that? '04 / '05 / '06

Those are the only big movers and shakers here I see of +/- $30 million.

And there has been only one year since '94 where the average NL team salary was greater than the AL average -- in 2003. And the only significant drop in average team salary in either league? The NL, in 2004, immediately after they were higher than the AL, they drop an average $5.1 million.

And finally, it will be curious to see if Arizona can manage to win their division for the second year in a row with the lowest payroll in their division. They would be the only ones to achieve that feat in this era (in the NL), from what I see. Although those '94 Expos..... (shakes fist)

*it would be perhaps illuminating, seeing how often the wild card team makes it to the World Series, for the wild card to be italicized in the table.
Magpie - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 07:01 AM EDT (#190455) #
What were [the Reds] thinking then and how did they do that?

They did no such thing, I made a data entry error. Their 2005 payroll was $61 million, not $91.

If 6 turned out to be 9
I don't mind
I don't mind

Except when it messes things up.
Mike Green - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#190457) #
Thank you. I'm waiting for "Hey Joe, what are you doing with that bat in your hand?".

It would be fun to have five year $ spent and playoff appearance charts by team. Ideally, you would use an index tied to league average.  So, for 2000-2004, Florida's payroll would be (say) a 50 on an index of 100 and they made one playoff appearance, and the Mets would be 140 and one playoff appearance.
Mike Green - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#190458) #
Here are Chris Dial's defensive numbers in the AL for 2008.  It is generally better to look at 2-3 year ratings with 2000 innings or so, if you want to get a truer picture of where a player is at.
John Northey - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#190465) #
Sweet numbers to dig through - wish I'd thought of doing it first :)

As to the defensive numbers, it is interesting to note the Jays are #1 for the 2nd year in a row for defense.  JP has done a very good job finding that part of the equation.

From the link listing all who saved or cost at least one run overall...
Worst Defense on Jays...
CF: Vernon Wells: -3.1 runs
SS: David Eckstein: -3.1 runs (90 fewer innings than Wells)
LF: Kevin Mench: -1.8 runs in just 102 innings (gulp)
P: AJ Burnett: -1.8 runs (not doing himself any favours)

Best Defense on Jays...
3B: Scott Rolen: 10.8 runs (top 3B in baseball)
1B: Lyle Overbay: 6.0 runs (top 1B in baseball)
RF: Alex Rios: 5.1 runs (3rd RF in baseball)
RF: Brad Wilkerson: 4.3 runs
SS: Marco Scutaro: 2.8 runs
3B: Marco Scutaro: 2.7 runs
CF: Alex Rios: 2.6 runs
2B: Joe Inglett: 1.8 runs
2B: Marco Scutaro: 1.8 runs
LF: Adam Lind: 1.8 runs
3B: Joe Inglett: 1.4 runs
RF: Matt Stairs: 1.0 runs

Scutaro sure shows up a lot eh?  He also is +0.2 at 1B (15 Inn) and -0.2 in LF (25 Inn) for a net of 7.3 to the good.

Thus we have Rolen at #1 (10.8), Alex Rios is at 7.7 combined for #2 on the Jays overall, then Scutaro (7.3), Overbay at 6.0, Wilkerson at 5.1 (+0.9 in LF, +0.4 at 1B, -0.5 in CF), Joe Inglett at 3.6 (positive at all but RF), Lind (1.8), Stairs (+1 in RF, +0.6 in LF), and John McDonald (1.3 overall, 0.8 at 3B, 0.5 at SS and 0 at 2B). 

For combined 'ugh' we get Vernon at #1 still (-3.1 in CF), then Eck (-3.1 at SS plus +0.4 at 2B), then Mench (-1.8 in LF and -0.7 in RF, a born DH).  Pitchers are the rest of the negatives (AJ, Litsch at -0.9, Downs at -0.6, and Marcum at -0.4). 

Not bad, just 3 non-pitchers who are drags on defense one of whom has been pretty much moved away from his weakness (SS) to a strength (2B).  Might be time for Butterfield to get a raise eh?

FYI: best fielding pitcher?  Roy Halladay at +0.4  - why am I not shocked?
Sheldon - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 02:14 PM EDT (#190466) #
Geoff - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#190467) #
And here I thought that Cincinnati blew its budget on bobblehead dolls that year to account for the enormous spike. Animated, colour-changing, transformer bobblehead dolls. Designed by Ken Griffey.

While I'm fishing for corrections, shouldn't this be an Analysis feature? Or is this doubling duty for random events of TDIB, like Stewart getting the heave-ho? (and isn't there something foul about releasing a guy while he's on the DL, or did he just step off the DL to be shown the trap door?)

Mike D - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#190468) #
Speaking of Cincinnati, Adam Dunn has reportedly been traded to Arizona.
AWeb - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#190469) #
I see that Arizona claimed Dunn off waivers and worked out a deal, according to fox sports. Waivers go worst to first? Do all NL teams get first shot, or does this mean the Jays (and more than half the other teams in MLB) took a pass on him?
Ryan Day - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#190470) #
Adam Dunn got through waivers? How does that happen?

Original Ryan - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#190471) #
Teams in the National League would've had the ability to grab Dunn first.  The Dodgers are the only team with a worse record than the Diamondbacks who might've had an interest in Dunn, but it sounds like L.A. has some payroll issues right now.  Everyone else who passed on Dunn is in no position to make a playoff run.
#2JBrumfield - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#190475) #

Do the Diamondbacks know the guy really doesn't like baseball that much?  Do they know the guy doesn't have a passion to play the game that much?  How much do they know about the player?

Thankfully, the Jays did their homework on guys like Adam Dunn and there's a reason they didn't want him but let's not get into specifics.  The D-Backs will regret the acquisition of this passionless, major league leading home run hitter.

Geoff - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#190476) #
So is Dunn going to play right field or will Connor Jackson?

D'Backs still have a glaring hole at second and I doubt they will be able to get their hands on Roberts. Methinks they are feeling somewhat desperate to hold on to their lead with a big Manny breathing down their necks.

And how come the Dodgers didn't add Dunn? They could use a seventh outfielder.
James W - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#190478) #

Re: Halladay's defense:

I actually am surprised.  Perhaps it's due to him missing time that's he's not leading, but I'd put Shaun Marcum at the top of any fielding list for Jays pitchers.

Mike Green - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 04:18 PM EDT (#190479) #
Me, too.  Teams don't bunt on Marcum any more, but do against Halladay with success.  Pitcher defence is hard to suss out on 1 or even 2 year statistics.
Magpie - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 04:48 PM EDT (#190481) #
I agree with James and Mike. Halladay is very good at everything he can control. He always hustles over to first, he doesn't make mental mistakes, doesn't make bad decisions and throw the ball away. But all of this is true of Marcum as well. And Marcum really is a fifth infielder out there. Doc does his best, but he's not.
John Northey - Monday, August 11 2008 @ 05:26 PM EDT (#190484) #
McGowan (surprise) was just behind Halladay at 0.3 runs saved due to defense.  Marcum though was way down at -0.4

Just remember, single season stats for any player has limits and for pitchers defense I'd put a big * beside it until you have a few years data to play with.  FYI: Kenny Rogers at 0.9 is #1 for pitchers with 2 guys at 0.5 (Gil Meche and Felix Hernandez) and 8 guys at 0.4 including Halladay.  22 are at 0.3 like McGowan.  AJ was the worst by a landslide (-1.8) with #2 from the bottom being Santiago Casilla of Oakland at -1.4 with Jesse Litsch being in 6th worst place in the AL.

Oh yeah, the stats were AL only, not MLB wide.  Ooops.

11 August 2008: Money Talking Some More | 17 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.