Everyone knows about the “evil empire” that is the New York Yankees. Their fan base loves them and the rest of the world tends to hate them. The prevailing thought is they have an unfair buyers advantage and pay top dollar, or above, to bring in talent in order to win championships. While not entirely accurate I will save that for a different piece. Today, as the 2014 Major League Baseball season begins, it is the Los Angeles Dodgers and not the New York Yankees that top the list of most expensive payrolls.
The Dodgers opening day roster tops out at just over $235.2 million while the Yankees have been bumped to number two at just under $204 million. It is a big day for the Dodgers since the Yankees have carried the largest payroll into opening day every year since 1998. So would say that the Red Sox trumped the Yankees in 2001 but the official line is the 1998 Baltimore Orioles. Below is a table of the opening day payrolls of all 30 MLB clubs according to stats created by the Associated Press. The Associated Press used data from management and player sources to come up with the final numbers. Those numbers include items like signing bonuses, salaries, players on the disabled list amongst other things.
|20||Chicago White Sox||$91,159,254|
Bringing up the rear in 2014 are the Miami Marlins and Houston Astros. The Marlins opening day payroll is $47.5 million while the Astros bottom the scale at $44.5 million. Spending money alone does not make you a contender. It takes smart business decisions and player evaluation or growth to help craft a winner. This can be confirmed by looking at the Oakland Athletics at $83.4 million (25th on the list), Pittsburgh Pirates at $78.1 million (27th on the list) and the Tampa Bay Rays at $77 million (28th on the list) who are all legitimate contenders to win the World Series in 2014.
Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers wins the highest paid player award in 2014 with a salary of $24 million. The suspension of Alex Rodriguez clearly had an impact on the Yankees payroll but they still would have been behind the Dodgers. In a bit of irony the Yankees still have to pay Rodriguez a portion of his money this season. Why? MLB players’ salaries are based on 183 days from April until the end of September. Rodriguez was suspended for 162 games meaning the Yankees will still have to pay him $2.9 million of the contract as well as the final $3 million of his signing bonus. So while the Yankees avoided a large portion they still owed him $5.9 million this year.
According to baseballplayerssalaries.com, the rest of the top-10 players (in no particular order) includes three Philadelphia Phillies in Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels, newly inked Seattle Mariner Robinson Cano along with teammate Felix Hernandez, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer and C.C. Sabathia.