Flight Path

Major League Baseball's Most Frugal Teams

Being the frugal-minded guy I am, I got to thinking about which teams could be considered the best at using their money. MLB does its best to create a level playing field for all teams, but let’s face it, small market teams or teams with owners not willing to part with their money are at a disadvantage.

Now my beloved, soon-to-be NL East champs, New York Mets are finally out from the Bernie Madoff shadow, but they still have some work to do. What about teams in small markets? No matter who the owner is, they just won’t have the ability to have the same size payroll as some of the big boys.

But does a big payroll mean big success? The answer is, not always.

Right off the bat here, you’ll find the teams paying the highest PPW in all of Major League Baseball, with a mixed back of success. Each team is in the top 10 for overall payroll for the past 5 years, but half are below-average teams in terms of the number of wins, not exactly getting a good value on their spending.

For the Giants, this is likely due to the back end of some big contracts for players part of their run of three championships in 5 years in the early 2010s. For the Tigers and Angels, it’s mostly large contracts that didn’t see the production needed to see success.

When Albert Pujols hit the free agent market, the Angels gave him a HUGE contract, I believe at the time one of the largest contracts in baseball history. Pujols hasn’t been the same player since leaving St. Louis and his contract alone is destroying LAA’s rankings here.

The Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox are perpetual big market big spenders that are historically used to success and that trend is true recently as well. They are the top three in payroll and the Red Sox are the lowest in wins, but still ranked 6th.

For our next group, each team is still above average in spending. The interesting part here is that none of the teams’ win rank is better than their payroll rank. The Mariners, Rangers have the biggest gap between the money spent and the results in the standings, so they are definitely not getting good value\returns on their spending.

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