Remember how last year at the All-Star break, nearly all of the division leaders were “big spenders” while the cheap (frugal, thrifty, whatever you want to use) teams were basically in the cellar? That’s not quite the case this year. Two division leaders (Texas, San Diego) have incredibly low payrolls. Two others (Atlanta, Cincinnati) have “medium*” payrolls, and the other two (Yankees, White Sox) spend “lavishly**.” But before this turns into a “no need for a salary cap” discussion, check out where the rest of the Top 10 spenders are – with the exception of the Cubs and Mariners, all are lurking just five games back of the division leader.
1st place teams, and their payrolls
NY Yankees, AL East, 1st, $206 million
Chicago White Sox AL Central, 7th, $108 million
Texas Rangers, AL West, 27th, $55 million
Atlanta Braves, NL East, 15th, $84 million
Cincinnati Reds, NL Central, 19th, $72 million
San Diego Padres, NL West, 29th, $37 million
The rest of the big spenders are lurking, dangerously. And with 75 games left, it wouldn’t surprise us if five of these division leaders (everyone but the Yankees) weren’t able to hold on. As a reminder, scientific data has shown that the more you spend, the better your chances are for reaching the postseason. USA Today mentioned it earlier this year.
2. Boston, AL East, 5 games back, $162 million
3. Chicago, NL Central, 9.5 games back, $146 million
4. Philadelphia, NL East, 4.5 games back, 141 million
5. New York, NL East 4 games back, $132 million
6. Detroit, AL Central 1/2 game back, $122 million
8. Anaheim, AL West 4.5 games back, $105 million
9. Seattle, AL West 15 games back, $98 million
10. San Francisco, NL West, 4 games back, $97 million
* Medium. A team that is ranked 11-20th in payroll.
**Lavish. A team that is ranked 1-10th in payroll.