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Payroll to Results: Successful MLB Teams

Did you ever wonder which teams in Major League Baseball really get the most bang for their buck? Sure the Yankees won the last World Series last year but weren’t they supposed to win when they had the highest payroll in baseball? Each year the Pittsburgh Pirates have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball so shouldn’t fans expect them to finish in the basement of their division each year?

I have calculated a formula called the “Payroll to Results Rating” that examines teams between the years of 2000-2009. I took into consideration their average payroll, total wins, and playoff success and ranked them from 1 to 32.

1. Florida Marlins

The fish have an average payroll of under $36,000 over the last 10 years and they were still able to scrape five 80 plus win seasons along with a World Series title. If this formula were calculating numbers over the past 15 years, their rating would be even higher.

2. St. Louis Cardinals

Talk about having productive years, the Cards have won the National League Central six times in the last ten years and won a World Series in 2006. Only the Yankees and Red Sox have won more game since 2000. One of, if not the, most underrated team of the last decade.

3. Minnesota Twins

Although their payroll is around $90,000 for 2010, over the past ten years there payroll has been about half that amount while Joe Mauer and Johan Santana helped guide the Twins to five American League Central Division titles.

4. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays go from a team that had a payroll of around $25,000 for much of the early 2000s, to a team that won the American League pennant in 2008. The most improved award for the past decade, hands down, goes to the Rays.

5. Oakland Athletics

Billy Beane just knows how to find talent for a low price. Although they have struggled over the past few years, it is hard to argue their success during the days where their pitching staff consisted of Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, and Mark Mulder.

6. Philadelphia Phillies

In the early 2000s the Phils had the low payroll, in the late 2000s the Phils produced the results. Philadelphia is like the father figure to Tampa Bay, yet they have one thing they Rays would love to have, a ring.

7. Arizona Diamondbacks

Three National League West titles, one World Series championship, and six seasons with 80 or more wins since the year 2000 allow the Diamondbacks to be considered a fairly successful franchise, largely due to the likes of Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson in the early 2000s.

8. Chicago White Sox

If there were one world in the dictionary used to describe the White Sox it would be consistency. They have kept a moderate payroll, average about 86 wins per season, and have one World Series title over the last 10 years. Barack Obama and other White Sox fans cannot be too disappointed with the productivity of their ball club.

9. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Some people may have thought the Angels would be a little bit lower on this list but they did have an average payroll of approximately $88,000 over the past 10 years, but there is no doubting their success as they won the America League West five times and captured one World Series title over that same time period.

10. New York Yankees

Yankee fans can finally silence some of the critics that say they pay for their wins. Sure they have the highest payroll in baseball but they also have the most wins over the last 10 years as well as two World Series titles and four American League pennants.

11. Boston Red Sox; 12. San Diego Padres; 13. Atlanta Braves; 14. Colorado Rockies; 15. San Francisco Giants; 16. Pittsburgh Pirates; 17 Cleveland Indians; 18. Washington Nationals; 19. Houston Astros; 20. Kansas City Royals; 21. Milwaukee Brewers; 22. Cincinnati Reds; 23. Detroit Tigers; 24. Chicago Cubs; 25. Toronto Blue Jays; 26. Los Angeles Dodgers; 27. Texas Rangers; 28. Seattle Mariners; 29. New York Mets; 30. Baltimore Orioles

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6 Responses to Payroll to Results: Successful MLB Teams

  1. Jetta10 June 14, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    Rating the Yankees anywhere but dead last is crazy. Total classless sellouts, they “overpaid” for their wins. It is sickening and not sporting at all. ROI is a complete joke with this example.

  2. Matt Clark June 15, 2010 at 3:58 am #

    They did over pay for many of their wins which is why they are 10 on the list. Cannot argue the fact that they had more wins than any team over the last 10 years plus numerous division titles, four american league pennants, and two world series titles.

  3. Dmitriy June 21, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    I don't think “bang for the buck”, as you define it here, is necessarily appropriate. Baseball is after all a business and the bottom line is money, not success. Sometimes the two are very closely related, but not always. Take for example the Minnesota Twins – a very successful franchise that finds a way to win despite average payrolls. However, in 2005 the Twins generated less revenue than every team in baseball. The team that makes the most, not surprisingly, is the Yankees (2. Red Sox 3. Mets, 4. Dodgers, 5. Cubs). So people can criticize the Yankees all they want for their exorbitant payrolls, but the mantra still applies – you have to spend money to make money.

  4. Dmitriy June 21, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    Oh yea and here's the link where I got my info (with 2010 data). http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/07/most-valuable-

  5. PatrickKinney April 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Having been a lifelong Cardinal fan I have to crow about their success!  And this was put together before last year’s title.

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