The who, when and what of MLB payrolls

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

Currently, David Wright accounts for 20 percent of the Mets and Sandy Alderson’s 2014 payroll.

According to Newsday’s Marc Carig, of the 10 clubs that made the playoffs last season, none had a player who occupied this much of their budget.

“One rival executive likened the approach to diversifying a portfolio, a tactic that guards against underperformance while preserving enough flexibility to adjust on the fly,” explains Carig. “The Mets have taken a step toward that.”

StackOfMoneyThe goal of every organization seems to be to spread the money around the roster, while also spreading out their expiration dates, this way no one asset holds a team back from making additional acquisitions when needed.

According to people familiar with his approach, Alderson is unlikely to ever have more than three to four players occupying the bulk of his budget in a given season. He’s not alone. For instance, while the Braves and Cardinals had five players occupying at least 10 percent of their payrolls respectively, according to Carig’s research, the Tigers, A’s and Pirates had three, the Reds had two, the Indians, Rays and Red Sox had one and the Dodgers had none. Of course, many of those payrolls were larger than the Mets 2013 allocations.

Last year, Jason Bay and Johan Santana each accounted for as much as 20 percent of Alderson’s payroll each, yet neither played a single game in a Mets uniform.

The Mets have three players (Wright, Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon) who each account for at least 10 percent of the team’s expected 2014 payroll, which is on par with Alderson’s limit and with teams that made the postseason in 2013. In the event the Mets sign another $10 million a player (say Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales), it would adjust the math to have four players making at least 10 percent and none making 20 percent. This may also factor in when considering whether to give Drew a two- or three-year deal, especially since Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Matt Harvey and others will be due raises in the next few years.

In other words, it seems to me that the secret to sustainable success is less about the total number being spent, and more about when the money is spent, how it is allocated and who it is spent on.


Read More: The Payroll Sweet Spot (Carig, Newsday)




180 comments
mcgrupp81
mcgrupp81

Setting the bar high for the New Year with this post?

rben
rben

What if 2.5% of your payroll has been retired for years in Bobby Bo

Patrick Boegel
Patrick Boegel

This and Carigs original article dismiss mathematical fact as if it is not useful.


Here are the payrolls added to clarify this abuse of math. For sanity sake these are pulled from Baseball Prospectus COTs contracts.  So there is a touch of ebb and flow to them, but they are nearly accurate.


RED SOX: 10.6 percent (John Lackey), 1 (2013 Payroll, $154,555,500)

TIGERS: 15.5 percent (Prince Fielder), 3 (2013 Payroll, $148,693,600)

A'S: 14 percent (Chris Young), 3 (2013 Payroll, $61,964,500)

RAYS: 16.3 percent (David Price), 1 (2013 Payroll, $61,928,975)

INDIANS: 14.1 percent (Nick Swisher), 1 (2013 Payroll, $80,605,733)

PIRATES: 12.72 percent (Wandy Rodriguez), 3 (2013 Payroll, $66,805,000)

REDS: 17.25 percent (Joey Votto), 2 (2013 Payroll, $106,855,533)

CARDINALS: 14.59 percent (Matt Holliday), 5 (2013 Payroll, $116,790,787)

DODGERS: 9.8 percent (Adrian Gonzlalez), 0 (2013 Payroll, $216,753,286)

BRAVES: 14.6 percent (Dan Uggla), 5 (2013 Payroll, $90,039,583)



The Dodgers being on this list at 9.8 Percent is just downright laughable and totally ignores that they spent 


40% more than the Red Sox

46% more than the Tigers

250% more than the A's or Rays

169% more than the Indians

224% more than the Pirates

102% more than the Reds

86% more than the Cardinals

141% more than the Braves






MMIAA
MMIAA

GEE hmmm if the amount we spend goes up does DW's salary as a percentage go down???? Hmmm....

bigdirty
bigdirty

the percentage goes down as the payroll number goes up. They Yankees would sign players to $180- 200 million dollar deals but those players would account for only a certain percentage of the payroll becaused they were always near $200 mill per year. 


I think the more intertesting discussion is the quality of play recieved versus the amount of money spent. That was the biggest problem, with the Mets and the contracts they had to deal with in Santana and Bay. They did not recieve their band for their buck from those guys but vice versa got termendous production from low paid players like Byrd and Buck. 



rben
rben

If you want a laugh compare the conversations being had below with the "81%" current fan confidence rating.  Something doesn't add up

DMMP
DMMP

...this article fails to also note that the majority of those "successful" teams have larger payrolls than the mets.  Thus, a player making "wright money" would not be making 20% of the payroll.  

bromancer
bromancer

We know "the secret to sustainable success".  Shh.

fedupfan13
fedupfan13

Sweet spot....4th place....FREDDYBALL

dave27a
dave27a

You cracked the code, Cerrone!  We should trade Wright for 4 guys making the minimum, then we won't have anyone taking up 20% of our payroll and we'll be a winner!  Right?


Oh no, the winners actually have 4-5 guys making Wright money, so none actually make 20% of the teams much-more-competitive payroll, and they actually field a roster stocked with major league talent, and not AA retreads like Lucas Duda.

fedupfan13
fedupfan13

How do you write a piece on payrolls and not mention how the Mets' has decreased every year?

dave27a
dave27a

Does Cerrone actually sit back after writing this stuff and think he actually created anything of substance?  This is so absurdly pointless, it's frightening.  Go shovel your driveway or something.


And is he getting treatment for is addiction to italics?

rben
rben

If there was a poll attached to this post by Cerrone there would be about a 5% approval rating.   This article is rightfully getting destroyed by Mets fans with a brain

hashburry
hashburry

These comparisons to teams that actually win are just more attempts at justifying the never ending trudge towards mediocrity.  All the lame number crunching and only one throw away line mentioning the fact that the Mets payroll is a meager portion of the other teams.  Attempting to compare the Mets strategy to the Tigers is laughable.  The Met roster is littered with players  who are bench players forced into significant roles due to the lack or real talent.  Wait until the uproar when the first real player the Mets develop walks into (insert whoever is GM at the time here)'s office with Boras in tow and asks for a long term market rate contract.  Goodbye Harvey/Wheeler/Sydergaas, hello "we are emulating the Oakland A's/Tampa Rays model!  Harvey for 4 minor leaguers, back to square 1.

md92468
md92468

The percent of payroll argument obfuscates the fact that the team is in the lower one-third of the league in spending, which should never happen in NY. The fact that Boston and the Dodgers had only one player making more than 10% of their payroll is more predicated on them having $150+ million payrolls than it is on any sense of fiscal restraint and planning. The bottom line is the Mets have a late 1990s payroll while playing in 2014, and no amount of creative statistical harvesting is going to change that. 

Bill Florian
Bill Florian

WHEN do they spend it......hardly ever.

HOW do they spend it......extremely frugally.

WHO do they spend it on.....a couple of players.

AND the total is about HALF of what it should be.

So simply, the WHEN, the HOW, the WHO, and the TOTAL are all grossly inadequate!

maxster
maxster

Another 100 million would buy them another 5 David Wright type talents!! No more Duda, Ike,Tejada etc. You know, we would have Major League Ball Players.

maxster
maxster

If the Mets spent another 100 Million they still would be below the two LA teams and the Yankees of course

maxster
maxster

Spend like a big market club, I would be thrilled if they spent like a Mid Market club!!!

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

A guy that can't admittedly balance his checkbook is giving us lectures on the macroeconomics of baseball salary structure?  Yikes.


Nowhere does it mention that the Mets have a ridiculously low payroll, and when you have that combined with a premium, high priced player in Wright, of course he'll take up a big percentage of the payroll.

DMMP
DMMP

@bigdirty Truth, and my point also.  That on the yankees, for example, DW would be making under 10% of the payroll.  So it's all relative, and this article is really just an insult to the intelligence of mets fans by skewing facts to look like mets are spending.  The article REALLY seems to be about the idea of spending wisely, which, duh, I mean really I hope you learned that at some point in your life if you're an adult.  But... at the same time, mets exist in a large market, where they should have the ability to spend like a large market team (heck, I'd take mid-market.) And if ownership can't afford this team or to spend like a team befitting the market, they shouldn't be allowed to own the team.  After this season, when Bud S. resigns as commish, and a new one takes his place.  There's going to be a reckoning throughout the MLB, and I'm sure some teams are not going to like the results.  Too many teams that have loans out through the MLB, teams in the Red that should be in the Black... Owners using teams as a way to lace their pockets while the teams struggle, or not spending even while receiving profit sharing... ETC ETC.  


Santana was an overpay, but at the time seemed like a smart enough bank... especially since (at the time) it seemed we might be a playoff team.  Playoff teams tend to overpay for players once in a while due to needs.  Bay, well, no one could have predicted what happened to bay.  If Bay, today, entered the market off of his Boston season... He would be receiving a 20 mil plus payday a season, count on that.  Truth told though, team SHOULD have pursued Matt H. And not Bay...  But that was penny pinching really.  Oh well.

DMMP
DMMP

@rben The fan confidence rating was.. not surprisingly... posted after the signing (same day, actually) of Bartolo Colon.  When people were excited the mets were doing something.  They hadn't actually let things sink in yet.

MMIAA
MMIAA

@DMMP this article says Adam Rubin is still on vacation.............

rben
rben

Math is not Cerrone's strong suit.  It is clearly writing.  He never makes errors in his writings!

rben
rben

Is this the most embarrasing shill worthy post yet on this site

rben
rben

When you run a "shill"blog for the Mets and the Wilpons

dave27a
dave27a

@rben Yes, but how many would vote for "moving the goal posts" of social media?

metsopsis
metsopsis

Didn't you hear? We are going to be exactly like the Boston Red Sox or maybe nothing like them at all. #smokescreens

DMMP
DMMP

@maxster Mid Market club would result in DW making less than 20%, as I've pointed out.  And thus make this article irrelevant. 

bruceleroy
bruceleroy

@BringBackDaveTelghe And you confuse balancing a personal checkbook with business financing.

dave27a
dave27a

@rben I was gonna guess social studies was his strong subject, by process of elimination.

DMMP
DMMP

@fedupfan13 My added note... Yes. And if the mets can trade half their team and really shoot for breaking some records (by shooting for the worst MLB record ever.) While retaining Wright, he'd make 50% of the teams salary or more, which is unsustainable. Really now?

DMMP
DMMP

@fedupfan13 Though it is worth noting that if the mets spent LEAGUE AVERAGE on payroll... Wright would still make under 20% of payroll. In fact, if the mets spent league average.  (so, they become the 15th ranked in payroll) - Payroll would be around 100-110 million. By my math... they're anywhere from 20-30 million under that... depending on what estimates you go by.

DMMP
DMMP

@rben I definitely think this post insults mets fans intelligence to realize what this article really points out.  Mets payroll is way too low for a NY ballclub to have.

dave27a
dave27a

@rben I definitely think it's the most blatant example of taking 5 paragraphs to say nothing that makes any sense, culminating in the brilliant nugget that how you spend money matters.


Next, Cerrone starts a nutritional blog and blows the world away with his theory that what (italics please!!!) you eat matters more than how much (more italics please!!!) you eat.

dave27a
dave27a

@rben Again, you all give this clown WAY too much credit to thing he's part of some sort of Wilpon-fueled propaganda machine.  You get this when you have some bozo casual fan who lucks into a well-read blog via a glorified school project and then spends the ensuing years refusing to either improve his craft or find people who can write and who know their subject matter to do it for him.  All of these blathering posts are the product of someone with no qualifications to be writing about baseball.  Period.

dave27a
dave27a

@metsopsis No we are going to be just like them, just divisible by 10.  For every $20MM player they have, we'll have a $2MM player.  For every $5MM player they have, we'll have a $500K player.  But we'll still win, because our percentage allocations will be aligned to the same winning formula!  It's so simple!

rben
rben

Great line!

DMMP
DMMP

@rben Bartolo Colon and CC Sabathia think that...

rben
rben

Its not human resources.  He keeps Baron as his resident pitching expert.  A man who thinks a slider is a pitch thrown while eating a white castle burger

DMMP
DMMP

@dave27a @rben  Nah, you have to have fantastic writing skills in social studies. (Lots of paper, research, etc.) I'm going with gym (He played baseball in HS if you keep track.)

DMMP
DMMP

@Hodges14 @DMMP @rben If mets signed... lets say... Tanaka, Drew, and someone else.  (They won't, btw) - Then Wright would also be making under 20% in that scenario. Again.  it's all relative.  I'd also add, they'd be in "Mid-market" salary range if they made the aforementioned moves I just noted.... Which is really moreso a testament to how low our payroll really is relative to things when it's all said and done.  And we'd be about as mid-market as you can be.  

Hodges14
Hodges14

@DMMP @rben

This is classic "wag the dog" thinking.  We don't spend so the payroll continues to drop to the point where Wright is consuming 20% and then we can't sign any new big ticket items because they will also consume 20%.  Bass Ackwards logic... Just maintain a representative payroll level instead of abandoning the franchise for 1/2 a decade and none of these issues exist.  Of course that's a lot to expect from a franchise that was in large part operating on money stolen in the Madoff ponzi scheme.

Hodges14
Hodges14

@fedupfan13 Getting tons of hits is what it's all about.  No disrespect intended to Matt Cerrone but I can't believe the Wilpons are spending their time telling him what to write in MetsBlog.

dave27a
dave27a

@fedupfan13 Sadly, it's B.  People keep coming here and this guy keeps getting a salary for being an oblivious dolt.

fedupfan13
fedupfan13

Actually I think he is either told to write this crap or he figured out that it's makes us all furious and he gets tons of hits.