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 Sox’ 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|
|7||New York Mets||$118,847,309|
|8||San Francisco Giants||$118,198,333|
|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|
|17||Milwaukee Brewers||$85,497,333||LDS win|
|23||Toronto Blue Jays||$62,567,800|
|25||Arizona Diamondbacks||$53,639,833||LDS loss|
|27||San Diego Padres||$45,869,140|
|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.