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Baseball Evaluation

2011 Team Payroll Value Index
2011 Team Payroll Value  2012

Team Payroll Value Index 2011
Opening Day Rosters

Rank Team Actual
1 San Diego Padres $45,869,140 $60,019,000 130.8%
2 Tampa Bay Rays $41,053,571 $49,775,000 121.2%
3 Kansas City Royals $36,126,000 $43,348,000 120.0%
4 Florida Marlins $56,944,000 $65,979,000 115.9%
5 St. Louis Cardinals $105,433,572 $122,112,000 115.8%
6 Washington Nationals $63,856,928 $73,255,000 114.7%
7 Arizona Diamondbacks $53,639,833 $55,674,000 103.8%
8 Milwaukee Brewers $85,497,333 $87,207,000 102.0%
9 Los Angeles Dodgers $104,188,999 $105,615,000 101.4%
10 Toronto Blue Jays $62,567,800 $60,343,000 96.4%
11 Cleveland Indians $49,190,566 $46,139,000 93.8%
12 Texas Rangers $92,299,264 $86,447,000 93.7%
13 Philadelphia Phillies $172,976,379 $161,862,000 93.6%
14 Oakland Athletics $66,536,500 $62,105,000 93.3%
15 Atlanta Braves $87,002,692 $77,467,000 89.0%
16 Seattle Mariners $86,524,600 $75,558,000 87.3%
17 Baltimore Orioles $85,304,038 $74,050,000 86.8%
18 San Francisco Giants $118,198,333 $102,174,000 86.4%
19 Cincinnati Reds $75,947,134 $65,037,000 85.6%
20 Pittsburgh Pirates $45,047,000 $38,247,000 84.9%
21 Minnesota Twins $112,737,000 $92,512,000 82.1%
22 Boston Red Sox $161,762,475 $131,934,000 81.6%
23 Detroit Tigers $105,700,231 $85,313,000 80.7%
24 Chicago White Sox $127,789,000 $101,516,000 79.4%
25 Houston Astros $70,694,000 $55,153,000 78.0%
26 New York Mets $118,847,309 $89,292,000 75.1%
27 Los Angeles Angels $138,543,166 $102,970,000 74.3%
28 New York Yankees $202,689,028 $150,244,000 74.1%
29 Colorado Rockies $88,148,071 $64,540,000 73.2%
30 Chicago Cubs $125,047,329 $74,681,000 59.7%

Note: Team Payroll Value Index reflects ranking of Actual 2011 Major League Baseball Payroll on opening day versus SPRO Salary Projection values for the same players on the Opening Day roster.  SPRO takes into account Servicer Time, EXPEQ, PEVA, RAVE, and SPRO RAVE.  Source: Actual Payroll, USA Today Salary Database.

Team Payroll Value Index - 2011

April 14, 2010 - So everywhere around the nation, from Tea Party to Democratic operative, they're talking about whether the Ryan plan, the Obama plan, or the Gang of Six plan will reduce the federal deficit and get the nation back on a course with fiscal sanity.  Is anybody talking about that in baseball?  Which teams, if any, have spent their money wisely? Which teams continue to spend like drunken sailors on a caribbean night out, even though their teams are routinely out of contention come Independence Day?  Ah, ... can we say Cubs?  It's time for the Stat Geek Baseball version of a congressional hearing, and a look into the Value for Money index in 2011.  And no, there won't be a guest columnist appearance by either Michelle Bachmann or the Tribune company.

The Team Payroll Value Index from compares the actual money spent with the Salary Projection model estimates (SPRO), in order to come up with an index that takes stock of the salaries handed out, ranking them in the order of their effectiveness.  This does not represent who is the best team.  Low payroll or high payroll, you can spend your money well.  Good team or bad team, you can do the same.

Top Five
1. San Diego Padres - This makes it three years in a row that the San Diego Padres have figured out how to get the most money out of their dollars spent, and last year, that almost made them a playoff team.  Yes, they won 90 games when most pundents thought they'd win closer to 70, and yes, the VMI index said right up front, that they'd spent their money well in 2010.  No, we didn't think they'd win 90 games.

So this year, don't be surprised if the San Diego Padres do better on the field, even without Adrian Gonzalez, than most predictions state.  That likely won't mean 90 wins again though.  That's tough to do when the payroll for your team is less than 25% of the Yankees.  But they have spent it well, with a 30.8% above the norm value due to good deals for several key players.  In fact, almost all of the top $ players on the Padres are being paid at below SPRO market value, including Heath Bell and Chase Headley.  There are a few that are significantly below, however, in new hires Aaron Harang, Jorge Cantu, and Brad Hawpe.  We know, they'll have to rebound from some poorer years, which we think Harang might do.  It's a bit tougher to state that with Cantu and Hawpe, if only because that's one tough park to hit in.

2.  Tampa Bay Rays - It's a bit of a sad inclusion, as their decision not to overpay for all those prime free agents has really put the Rays back into a rebuilding mode.  And with a payroll at only $41 million, competing against the Yanks and Red Sox, despite their stumble out of the gate, is ney improbable at best.  However, we're gonna find out that alot of the deals paid to the now former Rays were higher than the new teams should have paid (think Carlos Pena for one and we're not as enamored with Carl Crawford as others are either).  And one of the reasons they are near the top of this list has lots to do with paying people fair market value, and for this year, paying Evan Longoria, one of their two remaining stars, at a cheap level.  Longoria is worth, according to SPRO numbers, $7,134,000 for his service class, and the Rays are paying out $2,000,000.  That's a big number difference to crunch inside their total payroll.

3.  Kansas City Royals - Okay, so it's easy to spend your money wisely when you're pretty much not spending much at all.  And that is true, as the top three on this list are the lowest payroll clubs of all 30 teams in 2011, although coming up soon, the Cardinals will pop into the top five, with a contending club that does spend money.  But yes, the KC squad with all that incoming talent is scraping by these seasons until the kids are ready for prime time with a payroll that doesn't even want to keep David DeJesus, let along Zach Grienke.  For now, they're content with paying home grown talent that's still there at slightly below value level, i.e. Billy Butler, Joakim Soria, while mixing in some veterans who'd rather have playing time over money, i.e. Jeff Franceour and Melky Cabrera, as they try to revive their careers.  It's not necessarily a recipe for winning the division, but it does get you into the third place finish in the Stat Geek Baseball Value for Money Index.  Yeh, I'm sure that's what they were shooting for.

4.  Florida Marlins - Coming up in the 4th position is the team who'se making it a tradition to have a fire sale.  This year, they sold Dan Uggla.  Next year, ... well, we'll have to see whether a new stadium prevents these sales.  The Marlins payroll is #24 in MLB this season at $56,944,000.  And much of this number is going to a few players in Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson, and Javier Vazquez.  And each of those players are being paid below their top value.  Ramirez with an SPRO $ of 12,350,000 and actual salary of $11,000,000.  Johnson with SPRO at $11,521,000 and actual salary of $7,750,000, and Vazquez brought to town with an SPRO value, even after a bad year, of $12,634,000, while the fish paid him $7 million.  That's how you spend money wisely, but some day, they need to be able to do that for more than a few of their stars.  That said, they do have two World Series championships in their short history.  Maybe they shouldn't change what seems to be working after all.

5.  St. Louis Cardinals - It's going to be very interesting to see just how the Albert Pujols free agency sweepstakes works out, because while the Cardinals are a team that's willing to spend $ on the payroll to contend, they are one of the few good teams who do it judiciously.  Now, Albert's a special player and will command a ton, whether he stays or goes.  If he were not at the end of a long ago signed contract, they'd have to be paying him in the vicinity of the SPRO$ projection of $25.6 million today.  As it is, Albert's a heck of a bargain at $14,508,395, which helps them into the #5 spot in the VMI.  The Cardinals know how to run a franchise, both on the field as well as in the payroll office.
 Once they make a decision on Mr. Pujols, it'll probably be a good one.

Bottom Five
26.  New York Mets - While a lot of the reasons why the Mets have been so bad on the field and look so poor in the Value for Money Index at only 75.1% value is due to a lot of injuries to their best players, they spend top dollars at every turn for players, and when more than one perform under value for whatever reason, it impacts the financial viability of the team.  And we won't even get into the Bernie Madoff stuff.  Let's just look at the six highest paid players.  Only one, David Wright, is performing up to his contract standards.  Johan Santana is being paid $21.6 miillon, but is now worth $15.2m.  Carlos Beltran is due $19.3m this year; he's worth $6m.  Jason Bay will command a salary of $18.125m in 2011.  His value is now $9.9m.  Francisco Rodriguez now commands $12.2m for this season, but is worth $7m.  Folks, he was never worth $12.2m a season.  He's not Mariano Rivera.  Jose Reyes plies his trade at shortstop to the tune of $11 million, but should be paid $7m.  Contrast this to Jimmie Rollins of the Phils, who's paid $8.5m.  Okay, we said there was one.  Yes, David Wright is being paid $14,250,000, and should be paid $17,117,000.

27.  Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - There's likely nobody in baseball today outside the office of the Angels who think their players are worth the $138 million they will be shelling out for them this year.  Go ahead, name the stellar players on their team.  Torii Hunter, ... never worth the contract they paid him, even though he's a good player.  Vernon Wells, ... never worth the contract Toronto paid him.  Why would the Angels want to tack him onto their roster.  Scott Kazmir.  Well, we actually don't know what is happening with Scott, because we used to like him alot.  But now the Angels are paying him $12m, while, even if he comes back to form and onto the field, is worth just north of $4m.  You know, folks, you don't have to pay everyone as if they're an All-Star.  Because, guess what, most aren't, and even those who get there once or twice in their careers, don't make them $10-15m a year players..

28.  New York Yankees - It's easy to beat up on the dollars the Yanks throw around, but they've actually been doing a better job of things in the past couple years.  They held most of their ground with Derek Jeter this off season.  But they're paying big time for past mistakes and dollars spent on players who should never have commanded $30 million per year in the case of Alex or $16.5 million for A.J. Burnett.  Think of the rationale for a contract such as Rodriguez.  Could he ever really brought in that many additional dollars to a franchise who will sell out if Scott Brosius played third.
And let's not even get into the fact that no player gets to bat more than 11% of the time anyway, but you're paying him almost as much as the total payroll of some franchises.

29.  Colorado Rockies - We actually like what they're doing with some of their young players, extending Troy Tulowitski and others.  We have some concern about the contract of Carlos Gonzalez, however, and might have waited for another season before doing that one.  However, that's not the reason why they've made the #29 spot this year.  That has to do with contracts of Todd Helton, Jorge de la Rosa, and Aaron Cook.  Helton was never a $20m player at sea level; he shouldn't have been made one here. de la Rosa has not done anything for long enough to command $10 million per year.  Cook.  Well, his career seems to be going in the wrong direction.

30.  Chicago Cubs - I know people will disagree with this contention and they do win more games at the end of the season than some other teams, but we just think that this is the worst franchise in baseball.  Year after year making free agent decisions that overpay, sometimes double what the player is worth.  They purchase the wrong players and pay them too much money.  Alfonso Soriano was never one of the best players in the game, but the Cubs are paying him $19 million a season.  Carlos Zambrano has way too many issues to count out nearly that much money per season.  Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, and Carlos Pena.  Do I have to say any more.  They just don't or won't perform up to the numbers they are being paid for a variety of reasons, ... injury, talent, or age.

For salary projections and player ratings for every player in Major League history, get Stat Geek Baseball PRO 2011.

Payroll Value Index 2011
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Baseball Payrolls

1.    New York Yankees    $202,689,028
3.   Philadelphia Phillies     $172,976,379
3.    Boston Red Sox    $161,762,475
4.    Los Angeles Angels    $138,543,166
5.    Chicago White Sox    $127,789,000
6.   Chicago Cubs     $125,047,329
7.    New York Mets    $118,847,309
8.    San Francise Giant     $118,198,333
9.   Minnesota Twins     $112,737,000
10.   Detroit Tigers    $105,700,231

Source: USA Today Salary
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Pitchers 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 1 2 - 7 12 1
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