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  1. How does the accounting work? i.e. is 1/2 of Lee in the Marlins’ line, or is 0 of Lee on the Marlins line because he was being paid by Texas then.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — December 28, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

  2. You mean Mariners?

    Comment by Gary — December 28, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

  3. The NHL tracks salaries through the season. Salary calculation is done on a day by day basis.

    Comment by Nick — December 28, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

  4. Marlins and Indians sitting pretty. Pitching depth and elite bats locked up for a while. 2 of the best run orgs out there.

    Comment by puffy — December 28, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

  5. Are the Royals also on your list of “best run orgs” ?

    Comment by Scout Finch — December 28, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

  6. Other than the Marlins’ 2 recent rings and Cleveland finishing above KC for like 20 years, and each still currently outperforming KC, yes, I suppose they are similar.

    Comment by puffy — December 28, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

  7. Interesting list.

    A lot of White Sox fans are under the illusion that the White Sox are cheap and at the same time feel that the Twins manage to get by spending far less. I think if you asked the average meatball Sox fan they would guess that the White Sox were middle of the pack and the Twins were much lower. Both were in the top third although the Twins had a huge increase in payroll to get there.

    Personally, I would have thought the Rays were a lot further down.

    Comment by MikeS — December 28, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

  8. Something I find funny, looking at the whole 12-year plot. The Braves have been, for the whole period of time, in between ~80 and ~100 million the whole time. Over the years, as salaries have boomed, they have stayed pretty much at the same payroll… in 1999 and 2000, this was good for 3rd highest in the league, only 10 million or so behind the Yanks. Now they are right in the middle of the pack, 140 million behind the Yanks.

    Comment by GTStD — December 28, 2010 @ 2:57 pm

  9. A lot of fans are under the illusion that the As were cheap the past decade as well. They were middle of the pack for a while. Fans (people) believe what they want about baseball (life).

    Comment by puffy — December 28, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

  10. I think the perception of the Sox being cheap is largely due to the fact that since Albert Belle, there wasn’t the major financial commitment to star caliber top tier players. We’ve seen that change in the last 2-3 years with the additions of Dunn, Peavy, Rios. I also think part of the thinking stems from their lack of willingness to negotiate with Scott Boras clients (who usually represent those top tier free agents).

    I also believe the days of the Twins being perceiced as the “small budget little engine that could” are over. Big financial commitments to Mauer, Morneau should end that notion.

    Comment by Sox27 — December 28, 2010 @ 4:57 pm

  11. Yeah, I did that first letter, last letter, word length about right thing.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — December 28, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

  12. As a Mariner fan I have to question if they will ever be a top ten payroll again with the rediculously cheap tv contract they signed in 2007 that lasts until 2020. Washington state, especially Seattle, and also Portland are two of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. Add to that Idaho, Montana and even Alaska have higher than average growth and that many Mariners games are broadcast in Vancouver B.C. and you start to see that 35 million dollars a year is far too little for broadcasts of Mariners games. Which despite the product on the field are still very popular in every market they broadcast in. That contract is crippling in comparison to the Angels and Rangers television deals.

    Comment by mowill — December 28, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

  13. White Sox fans perception that ownership is cheap has more to do with the ’97 White flag trade, Jerry Reinsdorf’s role in the ’94 strike (while his team was in 1st), and his threats to move the team to Tampa prior to that.

    Since the ’04 offseason when they traded Carlos Lee and let Maggs walk without even offering him arbitration- I haven’t heard a single Sox fan call them cheap.

    as for the Twins yeah, I agree that they’re perceived as small market spenders. The fact that they’re hardly a decade removed from Contraction talks, as well as the fact that our manager referred to them as “Piranhas” has a lot to do with this.

    But I think the Mauer contract (and obviously the new ballpark) has woken everyone up about their spending behavior.
    But having said that- I can’t say that that their reputation wasn’t entirely undeserved. They did give away Yohan Santana and thus the 2008 Division title because they didn’t want to give the best pitcher in baseball a long-term contract extension.

    Comment by Patrick — December 28, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

  14. While I would love for the Braves to spend more on payroll, I applaud the Braves for having the restraint not to blow it on players that aren’t worth it. They could have yielded to the fan pressure and signed Javy Lopez, J.D. Drew, Russ Ortiz, Gary Sheffield, Jaret Wright, John Burkett during their career years with the Braves, but held back and made a good baseball decision.

    Most bigger market teams can’t resist the urge to double down on a player that just had a career year, like Kyle Lohse with the Cards, Bret Boone with the Mariners Bobby Higginson with Detroit, or Brady Anderson with the O’s.

    When a player they like comes around, they usually keep them for awhile (Tim Hudson, Greg Maddux, Chipper, Glavine, McCann etc.). So maybe the Braves are just waiting for the right players to come along before they raise their payroll…like that guy Heyward.

    Comment by Scott — December 29, 2010 @ 3:39 am

  15. Even with the horrible media deal the M’s have the dough to spend in free agency. They have the best geographic territory in baseball.

    The problem is that money hasn’t solved their problems. The farm hasn’t produced much in years besides Felix. They tried blowing cash and prospects on Sexson, Beltre, Bedard, Silva, Cliff Lee and ended up losing a hundred games.

    The M’s just need to be patient and develop the “right way” and go into free agency when their farm grown talent is on the cusp.

    Comment by Scott — December 29, 2010 @ 3:47 am

  16. The Brewers are definitely not small market anymore, having the 13th highest payroll in 2010. Unfortunately that was a lot of “dead” money last year, paid to Bill Hall and Jeff Suppan to play for other teams.

    Comment by Mason — December 29, 2010 @ 9:40 am

  17. As always, Maury, great stuff! Thanks!

    Quick clarification question… are the option buyouts you include the ones paid after the completion of the 2010 season to get out of 2011 commitments, or is the clock the day after the 2009 World Series until the end of the 2010 series?

    Comment by david — December 29, 2010 @ 10:13 am

  18. One other process question actually. How do you account cash included in player trades. For example, how is the $10.5M the Dodgers sent to Kenny Williams accounted for in both team’s totals?

    Comment by david — December 29, 2010 @ 10:16 am

  19. Nice to see the Mets, open a new staduim, raise ticket prices, and then drop total dollars spent by 10%.

    Comment by JK — December 29, 2010 @ 10:18 am

  20. The Mets’ number is misleading. The drop in payroll is mainly due to their poor play and Omar Minaya’s desperation to save his job. Jason Bay’s contract cost only $8mm in 2010, and $16mm after that. I think this was done on purpose to give the Mets some flexibility to make a deal during the season to fill a hole. But when they played poorly, there was no reason to expend the resources. Omar knew there was nothing he could do to save the season (or his job!).

    Comment by tarheelcoach — December 29, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  21. Must we talk about Bill Bavasi and his terrible job with the M’s? Jack Z doesn’t have an easy job. Not only does he need to bring the payroll down, he has to rebuild and stay competitive at the same time.

    Good luck!

    Comment by Jeff Wise — December 29, 2010 @ 10:47 am

  22. Basically, it is the same team, but they pay Mauer and Morneau what they are worth.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — December 29, 2010 @ 11:26 am

  23. Yeah… the thing with the Braves seems to be that they don’t deal with their own players in the market. If they let a Braves star get to free agency, they’re pretty likely to let him go. If they think they’ll want the guy around long term, they generally do it via contract extensions, which gives them a little more leverage than letting the players get to free agency and testing the market. This comes from having a farm system that they know they can go to for replacements or trade capital.

    The biggest payroll increases seem to come when they bring in a bigger contract in a trade or sign a free agent to fill a hole they can’t with their own guys. Since these are lessened by their pipeline of talent, they don’t have the need to compete for the top notch guys most of the time, and they can manage their payroll. Which is good because the ownership has been hesitant to allow large increases anyways.

    Comment by GTStD — December 29, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

  24. I was surprised to see the Twins spending figures. I thought they would be down since losing Crain, Guererr, Thome, Hudson, Punto, and a few more.

    Comment by leon — December 29, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

  25. Who pissed in your oatmeal, Puffy?

    You’ve got to be the most cynical person on Fangraphs.

    Comment by DIVISION — December 29, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

  26. That is nice spin. It doesn’t change the facts that: the mets total payroll dropped 10%, they moved into a new stadium, and they raised prices.

    Comment by Bob — December 29, 2010 @ 1:51 pm

  27. Technically the Brewers are still a small market but they just have a strong fan-base.

    Comment by anon99 — December 29, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

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