Baseball-MoneyWhile PV got shut out of a 4:50 am showing of The Hobbit: “An Unnecessary Journey” (as I like to call it) and I just sat around and got fatter over the weekend, the folks at the commissioner’s office released the final payrolls for all 30 MLB clubs.  Apparently, it took a lot of crazy math involving the final 40-man rosters with pro-rated shares of signing bonuses, earned incentive bonuses, non-cash compensation, buyouts of unexercised options and cash transactions, and blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, not surprisingly, the Yankees topped the list at over $223 million—almost $54 million over the second-ranked Phillies (too bad that couldn’t buy them a single victory in the ALCS). It was interesting to see that three of the top four spenders didn’t even make the playoffs (PHI, BOS, LAA) while the A’s had a season worthy of a Moneyball sequel, grinding out 94 wins with a paltry payroll of just under $60 million—the lowest in the Majors (too bad it wasn’t enough to top the Tigers in the ALDS). What was really interesting was that the Tigers and Giants made it to the World Series with virtually the same payroll ($140,701,213 and $138,149,994 respectively), ranking 5th and 6th overall.

Being the nerd that I am, I thought it would be fun to figure out how much each team spent for every victory in the regular and post season.  I was too lazy to calculate all 30 teams, so I just focused on the four teams we follow here at

  • Tigers: $140,701,213 (#5 overall) / 88 + 7 = 95 wins, $1,481,065 per win
  • Giants: $138,149,994 (#6 overall)  /  94 + 11 = 105 wins,  $1,315,714 per win
  • Cubs: $107,708,021 (#10 overall)  /  61 + 0 = 61 wins,  $1,765,705 per win
  • White Sox: $101,763,212 (#12 overall)  /  85 + 0 = 85 wins,  $1,197,214 per win

For reference, the average cost per win for all of MLB was $1,276,245 ($3,148,498,166 total MLB payrolls divided by 2467 total wins) so you can see everyone but the Sox were over the league average.  As expected, Theo & Co. were the big losers and the frugal Sox came out pretty well (good thing since no one shows up to their games anymore).

Not sure I can glean any other overriding truths or themes out of the numbers, but I successfully wasted a few hours in a very nerdy way—not unlike what going to see The Hobbit would’ve accomplished. Oh, in case you’re curious, at an estimated $180 million to film, that would come out to about $1,065,090 per Middle-earth minute.