A Shift in Power: Major League Baseball’s Biggest Payrolls

For the first time in a very very long time a West Coast team has snatched the top spot for the Major Leagues’ biggest spenders.   The Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to surpass the long time spending champion New York Yankees in 2013.  Some estimates predict the Dodgers will spend close to 215 million dollars this year in payroll expenses.  The Yankees come in a close second at 210 million dollars; however, the significance of this shift in power is monumental for the game of baseball.

Teams out East have always spent more then teams from the West. For years, Major League Baseball has refused imposed a salary cap, allowing teams like the Yankees and Red Sox to outspend their West Coast counterparts by a ridiculous margin.   This however, is no longer the case (hooooray)..  The spending gap in baseball is a well-documented phenomenon, and there is no surprise in that regard. What is surprising is the top three teams in terms of spending in the last 30 years have been from the East Coast.

Team Payroll Averge Median
New York Yankees $ 197,962,289 $ 6,186,321 $ 1,937,500
Philadelphia Phillies $ 174,538,938 $ 5,817,964 $ 1,875,000
Boston Red Sox $ 173,186,617 $ 5,093,724 $ 1,556,250

Source: http://www.stevetheump.com/Payrolls.htm

In my opinion this has caused big problems for the MLB.  Teams with dinky payrolls simply cannot compete with these spending giants in a 162 game season because baseball is a game of endurance and attrition.  This wealth gap has caused teams with smaller payrolls to fall by the wayside.  City’s that host these teams have simply lost interest in the sport, and overall, this will hurt the Major League in the long run.

The bottom line is that imposing a salary cap is a no brainer.  Look at what it has done for the NFL—the parity has done wonders for the game.  What the MLB doesn’t realize is that a level playing ground will ultimately result in a more vested interest from cities that, as of now, could probably care less about their professional baseball teams.

Sometimes in life you have to take what you can get; and if the MLB doesn’t want to impose a salary cap, ill settle for a West Coast team being the league biggest spender.  Hopefully, this shift in power will result in more exposure for West Coast teams and get fans back in the game.

What do you think?? Are you glad the West now outspends the East? Or do you think Major League Baseball should impose a salary cap?  Feel free to let the comments fly.

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5 thoughts on “A Shift in Power: Major League Baseball’s Biggest Payrolls

  1. Great article JC. A primary reason why I love baseball is watching teams with small payrolls beat these behemoths. This last season proved that a large payroll doesn’t win you games. The A’s won a divsion with two big time spending teams and if it wasn’t for Kate uptons boyfriend they would have been in the alcs. It is going to be interesting to see how the dodgers perform, hopefully they all get suspended for using peds. I’m not sure of the attendance in these smaller markets, but drawing star power definitely attracts fans and increases revenue for future purchases. I think winning begins with a good organization and culture. Look at the rays who now have a winning culture and have one of the lowest payrolls and never draw much attendance. I can guarantee there will be teams with small payrolls in the playoffs once again… Just who? Padres, Pirates, Royals, Indians, Brewers, Cubs? Or do the rays, reds, A’s, Braves, Orioles finally go the distance? I can’t wait to see!

    • Great feedback, Zach. There is nothing better than watching teams like the rays, orioles, and the giants go toe-to-toe with teams like the yankees and phillies. My guess is as baseball become more equal, fans will be rejuvenated. Ticket sales and attendance will increase and kids who are deciding if they want to play baseball or football will start choosing baseball again (let’s hope). 2013 is sure to be a great one and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

    • I think as far as parity goes, the MLB is more scattered then the NFL. Although I agree in terms of the entire organization (i.e. farm, single A, double A, etc) the MLB has more parity, but in terms of all stars and impact players the parity is much greater in the NFL. Thanks for the comment!!

  2. Pingback: The NL West is the New AL East. | The Left Coast Sports Blog

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