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Baseball playoffs: The waning influence of money

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by LongTimeListener, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    The A's did it again. And although a very low payroll team is still a bit of a rarity, it seems like we've hit a spot where a very big payroll isn't much advantage either. Is it enough time to say the world is shifting away from the big spenders or is it just a cycle?

    Crazy money and the value of it hit its apex with the Yankees in the 2009 World Series. That season also saw five of the top 10 payrolls in MLB make the postseason, and only two of six playoff teams from the bottom half make it. Since then, though, things have changed.

    It's easier to divide into thirds since there are 30 teams. Here's the number of playoff reps from each third in the last four years, with payroll based on USA Today figures. Those figures are based on the start of the season and don't include in-season upgrades for, say, the Dodgers this year, but I don't think those adjustments would change these numbers:

    Top third Middle third Bottom third
    2009 5 2 1
    2010 4 3 1
    2011 3 3 2
    2012 5 4 1
    2012 w/o extra WC 3 4 1

    Also, in the last two years, we haven't had a World Series participant that ranked higher than ninth on the list (SF in 2010). Obviously that could change in the AL, but with the NL field set we're going to have one team ranking no higher than eighth. (Go Giants!) And the "average payroll position" (my self-created stat) of playoff teams has gone up every season. The teams, with WS teams in bold:

    NYY (1)
    Boston (4)
    LAA (6)
    Philadelphia (7)
    LAD (9)
    St. Louis (13)
    Colorado (18)
    Minnesota (24)
    AVG 10.25

    NYY (1)
    Philadelphia (4)
    San Francisco (9)
    Minnesota (10)
    Atlanta (15)
    Tampa Bay (19)
    Cincinnati (20)
    Texas (27)
    AVG 13.125

    NYY (1)
    Philadelphia (2)
    Detroit (10)
    St. Louis (11)
    Texas (13)

    Milwaukee (17)
    Arizona (25)
    Tampa Bay (29)
    AVG 13.5

    NYY (1)
    Detroit (5)
    Texas (6)
    San Francisco (8)
    St. Louis (9)
    Atlanta (16)
    Cincinnati (17)
    Baltimore (19)
    Washington (20)
    Oakland (29)
    AVG 13.0
    AVG W/O EXTRA WC’s 14.75

    What does it mean? I don't think we'll see spending itself decrease. But I think teams are going to be pretty comfortable getting into the mid-range and rolling the dice, and there's going to be a huge bias against longer contracts. We're already seeing some of that with the Red Sox salary dump.

    I don't know. Is it a new era or just a three-year blip?
  2. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    Teams are much smarter across the board than they ever have been.
  3. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Teams are smarter, revenue sharing has increased significantly, some teams are beginning to bump up against the de facto cap.

    Players are more willing to trade security for top dollar, thus signing long-term deals long before they reach free agency, at prices mid-level teams can afford.
  4. Meatie Pie

    Meatie Pie Member

    There are going to be fewer excuses for baseball's third world to get its shit together. MLB recently announced an extension of national broadcast partnerships with TBS and Fox, which will create about $7B to be spread around starting in 2014.
  5. JosephC.Myers

    JosephC.Myers Active Member

    I agree with this. There are always going to be outrageous contracts handed out, but for the most part, I think teams are trying to spend their money (however much they might have) more wisely.
  6. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Another thing: High-payroll teams get that way when their players sign long-term contracts in what is in the median a little past their primes. This can work very well for awhile (Yanks, Phils, Red Sox), but eventually that team becomes TOO old, or has a rash of injuries as happens to older teams, and they fall.
  7. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    The Phillies' payroll progression and their finish:

    2008: 12th, won WS
    2009: 7th, lost WS
    2010: 4th, lost NLCS
    2011: 2nd, lost NLDS
    2012: 2nd, missed playoffs
  9. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Injuries did 'em this year. But they did have five straight divisional titles before that. That's pretty reasonable ROI.
  10. Meatie Pie

    Meatie Pie Member

    The Boston Red Sox had the No. 4 payroll in 2012. Final record: 69-93.

    They paid John Lackey $15M, Daisuke Matsuzaka $10M and Vicente Padilla $1.5M in 2012.


    This kind of spending does not reflect that "teams are getting smarter."
  11. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    Smarter does not equal perfect, teams overall are getting better at realizing overpaying veterans is not the way to go. Getting smarter does not mean without mistakes. All teams will still make mistakes.
  12. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    The Red Sox were another team beset by bad luck and injuries. And when it got rough, they completely tanked the team, which isn't the worst thing in the world to do.
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