Boston's Payroll Inching Upwards

[image title=”153036_brewers_cardinals_baseball” size=”full” id=”15410″ align=”center” alt=”Julio Lugo scores for the Cardinals while being paid by the destitute Red Sox” linkto=”full” ]
NoMaas did a post this morning about Boston’s “little engine that could” attitude and their 2010 payroll, which is slated to be about 170 million dollars. When I first saw that number, I thought that it was mistaken, and that it was simply the luxury tax number, which is based upon average annual value rather than actual salaries. However, Mike Axisa of RAB pointed me towards a Cot’s Contracts spreadsheet that puts Boston at about 166 million before pre-arb contracts are set, meaning they should finish at about 170M. They will almost certainly be paying the luxury tax, and will be forced to consider that when making moves during the season.

With the Yankees coming in at 212M at this point, that makes for a fairly sizable gap of 46 million dollars. However, the Red Sox have closed on the Yankees significantly this offseason, as the 2009 difference was 85 million (207 vs. 122). The Red Sox have attempted to paint themselves as the underdog for a while now, and a gap in payroll of 85 million allowed them to do so, despite the fact that they have been consistently among the most expensive teams in the sport. However, as they inch towards 200M themselves, it might be prudent for Larry Lucchino and John Henry to stop pushing the old poorhouse routine. To suggest that they need to “make the best of what they have,” as if they were a small market team that needed to make every dollar count, seems fairly ridiculous when they can afford to field a contender for 30 million more in salaries than the 2nd most expensive club in 2009 (the Mets, of course). The Red Sox are not an underdog. They are the second most expensive club in the sport, and it is time for them to stop the “little engine that could” charade.

0 thoughts on “Boston's Payroll Inching Upwards

  1. I do feel sory for them; I mean, how many other teams are paying eight figures worth of salary for guys to not play for their organization? Hell, if the Lowell deal went through, we are talking ~$20M.

  2. So let me get this straight the Red Sox up their payroll ~$45M to ~$170M and will have to “make the best of what they have”?! When Henry starts talking payroll perhaps he reverts and still thinks he owns the Marlins and not Bos. Here’s another quote from Henry/Lucchino:

    “…People tend to clump us together but there’s a wide gulf financially between the two teams, and that’s going to continue. … it’s exacerbated by the new park [creating] tremendous revenues.”

    …but this doesn’t make any sense. the Yankees payroll has gone down the last 2 years with the increased revenue of the new stadium (not up). But hey, I’m sure the Boston media and the owners won’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

  3. I prefer to just calculate the 25 man roster, since that’s the talent you’re playing with. I understand that for luxury tax purposes it’s different, but when fans/other owners complain about how much the Yanks spend, they generally refer to the on-field talent.

    The most bogus claim people make is “the Yanks can eat their mistakes, other’s can’t.” Really? The Red Sox got the Brewers to pick up 7 mil+ on Bill Hall, the Indians got the Red Sox to pick up most of Lugo’s salary and the Sox offered to pay Texas most of Lowell’s 2010 salary.

  4. It has always seemed to me that arguments that compare the payrolls of different teams are somewhat spurious, because they fail to take into account the fact that certain clubs, armed with greater resources, likely pay above market value for their players. Now, I don’t deny that this enables those fortunate clubs to have their pick of the talent on the market, but it simply doesn’t follow that a team with a payroll of $200m has twice the amount of talent as a team with a $100 payroll. Put another way, if all of the players on the Yankees’ current roster had signed for other teams instead, I think it’s highly unlikely that their combined salaries would today be anywhere near $212m.

    Let’s say I am a very rich person who decides to buy apartments in my favourite 40 cities in the world. Because I am world-famous, sellers end up charging me over the odds for the places I buy, but I don’t care – because I am rolling in cash, and I just want to buy the 40 places that I like best, regardless of cost. I end up spending $212m on the portfolio, even though the value of the cribs I buy (in a free market not skewed by the fact that I am participating in it) is only (say) $150m.

    Are my properties inherently better than other comparable apartments in the cities I have chosen? And if I sold them again tomorrow, would I get my $212m back? No way!

    We’ve seen this in action with the Johnny Damon situation this year. If the Yankees had been in on JD, his eventual contract (whether with NYY, Detroit or whoever else) would have been pushed higher than the deal he in fact ended up with. Likewise, if NYY had not needed a first baseman last offseason, there’s no way that Mark Teixeira would currently be sitting one year through a $180m deal.