The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Money will not buy the 2011 MLB title

After the League Division Series drew to a close, the list of Major League Baseball teams still in the hunt for the 2011 World Championship dropped to four. Of course, the original eight playoff teams emerged from among the 30 MLB franchises.

While the Boston Red Soxโ€™ fall from grace this September has been well-chronicled, their primary combatant for many of the most desirable and expensive free agents, the New York Yankees, did not make it past the first round. They fell to the Detroit Tigers at home last Thursday night.

After the St. Louis Cardinals eliminated the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 of their National League Division Series one week ago, the current status of the highest-payroll teams in 2011 is summarized following. Their on-field results are not a very strong endorsement of high spending.

$ Rank Team 2011 Payroll Playoff result
1 New York Yankees $202,689,028 LDS loss
2 Philadelphia Phillies $172,976,379 LDS loss
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 Francisco Giants $118,198,333
9 Minnesota Twins $112,737,000
10 Detroit Tigers $105,700,231 LDS win
11 St. Louis Cardinals $105,433,572 LDS win
12 Los Angeles Dodgers $104,188,999
13 Texas Rangers $92,299,264 LDS win
14 Colorado Rockies $88,148,071
15 Atlanta Braves $87,002,692
16 Seattle Mariners $86,524,600
17 Milwaukee Brewers $85,497,333 LDS win
18 Baltimore Orioles $85,304,038
19 Cincinnati Reds $75,947,134
20 Houston Astros $70,694,000
21 Oakland Athletics $66,536,500
22 Washington Nationals $63,856,928
23 Toronto Blue Jays $62,567,800
24 Florida Marlins $56,944,000
25 Arizona Diamondbacks $53,639,833 LDS loss
26 Cleveland Indians $49,190,566
27 San Diego Padres $45,869,140
28 Pittsburgh Pirates $45,047,000
29 Tampa Bay Rays $41,053,571 LDS loss
30 Kansas City Royals $36,126,000

Only two of the top nine spenders made the post-season – period – and after their first-round defeats, neither of them are still alive. Top active payroll clubs are the number 10 and 11 teams, Detroit and St. Louis, at $105 million each. Interestingly, the two lowest-payroll playoff entrants have been eliminated as well, Tampa Bay and Arizona.

Further, the East and West Coasts were knocked entirely out of the picture the rest of the way in 2011, an occurrence the television networks must certainly not like.

Note the salary listings are from the USAToday Salary Database. I believe it records season-opening rosters only, so later moves can lead to discrepancies. Still, the big picture is clear. At least in 2011, money is not going to buy the title.

Follow me on Twitter.
Follow The Cardinal Nation Blog on Facebook.

Follow me

Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
Follow me

30 Responses to “Money will not buy the 2011 MLB title”

  1. blingboy says:

    Some big spenders are hopeless bunglers while others just weren’t hot at the right time, especially important in the 5 game series.

    • Brian Walton says:

      So true, bb. If there is one thing I have learned is that momentum heading into the playoffs trumps all else and it doesn’t even seem to be close.

      • blingboy says:

        Agreed. One of the things that’s often frustrating about Tony is his refusal to accept that momentum exists, at least as to the individual player, looking to remote stats more than the here and now. IMO, the more remote, the less predictive value.

  2. friendmouse says:

    Yes, it is rather interesting that all 4 teams still playing “meaningful” baseball are all either in the Central Divisions (3 teams) or in the Central Time Zone (3 teams), or both (2 teams). Talk about “Fly-over country.” It’s where the best baseball is played!

    Got tonight’s line-up yat, Brian? I bet Punto is back at 2nd, and Berkman is back in Right…but wonder if Berky will bat 4th or 5th? I bet 5th.

    Also, while my hope is that J-Gar will pitch at LEAST 6 strong innings, allowing nmt 3 runs, I believe TLR will have him on a much shorter leash tonight as compared to his last game. JUST WIN, CARDS!!

  3. Brian Walton says:

    Friday Game 5 lineup:
    1. Rafael Furcal (S) SS
    2. Jon Jay (L) CF
    3. Albert Pujols (R) 1B
    4. Lance Berkman (S) RF
    5. Matt Holliday (R) LF
    6. David Freese (R) 3B
    7. Yadier Molina (R) C
    8. Nick Punto (S) 2B
    9. Jaime Garcia (L) P

    • friendmouse says:

      Wow! Thanks, Brian…it looks like I was 2 for 3 on my predictions. Got Punto and Berkman right, but wrong batting position for Lance. Oh, well…if this is the only mistake TONY makes today ๐Ÿ™‚ , then we’ll be fine. Every thing else looks hunky-dory, and victory shall be ours tonight!

    • crdswmn says:

      WC will be happy to see Molina out of the 6 spot. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • friendmouse says:

        Yep, Greinke’s gonna have a formidable bunch of hitters to face tonight. Boy, would I like to see another blow-out by our ‘birds tonight!

      • STLfan51 says:

        Tony is willing to win tonight! Look out!

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        Yes…………… this is his best line up possible……….

        • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

          La Russa moved Freese to No. 7 earlier in this series to reduce what the manager saw as a young player reaching to produce. What he’s got from Freese since that move is some of the most consistent production outside of Pujols.

          Read more:

          I love the way Molina’s name is never mentioned in the article……………………. ya think…………..

        • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

          Whats with Holiday….? (rhetorical question)………… Molina is hungry at 7…….his entire AB routine is noticeably different ……….. Freese gets Holiday a few pitches to hit………go figure…….Jay has to start slashing a bit…..they need to keep on him…………. Pujols was credible….led with defense….took a walk when offered……got a timely hit………… I wish Lance would start going off field……..thats the only way he is going to get anything to pull…………

          Weeks has always been a 0 sum player for them……… they are a better team without him…… pressure mounting on Fielder who is playing the “last game” sob story……….. if we continue to neutralize Braun……….we win…………. play of the game……….Punto’s bunt……….. also, its such a momentum builder when they start throwing some leather………….. you should see Nick Sunday…same lineup.

  4. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Tony is up to it again………………………. will it work every time? He will use Lynn for a couple maybe………………

  5. Kansasbirdman says:


  6. Kansasbirdman says:

    Even with the loss last night, the good story has been the bullpen.

  7. crdswmn says:

    I followed the game on Gameday. Was Jaime on the verge of another meltdown in the 5th? What is with Jaime?

    Anyway, great win. Now we just need to win 1. Marcum on Sunday might be our best bet since he has been pretty bad lately. I would like to see Carp pitch in Game 1 of the WS.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Yes, Garcia was visibly upset, including muttering to himself. Dotel delivered in a huge situation.

      • Kansasbirdman says:

        Crdswmn, we seem to be the antidote to every struggling pitcher this season (even last). We do best against better pitchers on a roll. I would cringe everytime the talking heads would talk about an opposing pitcher having recent struggles. I think I even commented about it on here earlier this season. I speculated that opposing pitchers really had to focus and prepare for our formidable lineup.

      • crdswmn says:

        Well at least, TLR learned something and pulled him.

        Jaime needs help.

        • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

          That move was more specific to Braun,,,,,,,,,,,Tony does not want to get him going……Garcia was starting to get the ball up……………. I think it had a least as much to do with screwing with Braun’s head than anything else……….. worked……………..

          Give this some thought……….when is any Cardinal starter going to get by a mid inning crisis? We need a big lead at this point…………..maybe the bottom of the order………….

  8. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    General information.

    Tony is coaching now exactly like he wants too. Complete reliance on his perceptual hunches. He is projecting his emotions, and sensing this interactive emotionality with his players.

    This is a very taxing state of mind. Takes up a lot of energy. He is medicating still and is one step ahead of his next shingles outbreak. The kind of inner conflict he is dealing with is very intimidating I would guess.

    He is fully aware that it is very unlikely that AP returns to this team at this point. In one moment he plays a lineup that is based solely on nostalgia, almost apologetic in its recognition of the favored privilege that he offers certain players. The next moment, he decides he wants to keep coaching, intermingling his interpretation of player values (assets) in such a way that it would appear that every player is flawed, save for his special understanding of there usage. He has established the BP, quadrupling it monetary value on replacements equations. Throw in the rotation that has really lost half its value in recent weeks, except with his personal preference and usage of course. Love him. Hate him. He’s a player, and a very self interested player at that. I say he retires in the wake of the Pujols fiasco. But hey, that just me.

  9. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    One wonders why Kmac and Boggs even follow the team to the bus……………. who does Tony trust?

    How does he pick a WS rotation………….. ??????? I see a real need to win this game at all costs….but what is the pint of not seeing what these guys have………and then use the proven arms……..

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.