Sunday Words: Payroll Play Role?

8/12/12 in MLB   |   This_is_Rick   |   265 respect

Every time a fan, executive or player in the MLB demographic-pool sobs the tale of "small payroll, equals small success," I laugh so loudly you can hear it through the computer screen - Hee! Hee! - Ha! Ha!

The idea that a team's cash amount directly effects the win amount is a s silly as thinking steroids can turn the talentless, into a talent. The real reasoning behind a teams success, or lack of, is based more on the way the cash is spent, not the amount. Coaching staff, the make-up of team chemistry, dealing with injury and the right pieces in the right spots hold more value to winning in the MLB than the actual price-tag hanging from the sleeve. Unfortunately for the novice and unknowingly types, this criteria is not easily constructed and can't be bought. 

Teams that perform below average, year to year, can and will blame small payroll for some part of the disaster,especially in small-markets. But, look closely and you will see the common threads listed above are not intertwined, properly. The coaching staff is horrid, team chemistry is brutal and the line-up is full of square-pegs in the round hole. Regardless if it is an expensive mess or a cheap mess, it is still a mess. 

Think of it like this: A one-million dollar rotten egg will smell just as badly as the two-cent rotten egg.
Blog Photo - How Much Does an MLB Win Cost?

Yes, teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, Rangers and Tigers have had general success this year, and in the past, while also holding the top spots in the payroll department. However, holes in the front office, the clubhouse or in Divorce Court have had all of these teams in some version of turmoil as well, and their records suffered because of it. Check your stats. How many World Series Titles have the top-5 payroll teams had in the past decade? Five. If you count the 2002 Angels, which didn't hold the payroll they have now - With Albert and Company.

2011 St. Louis Cardinals Texas Rangers 4-3
2010 San Francisco Giants Texas Rangers 4-1
2009 New York Yankees Philadelphia Phillies 4-2
2008 Philadelphia Phillies Tampa Bay Rays 4-1
2007 Boston Red Sox Colorado Rockies 4-0
2006 St. Louis Cardinals Detroit Tigers 4-1
2005 Chicago White Sox Houston Astros 4-0
2004 Boston Red Sox St. Louis Cardinals 4-0
2003 Florida Marlins New York Yankees 4-2
2002 Anaheim Angels San Francisco Giants 4-3
2001 Arizona Diamondbacks New York Yankees 4-3

Before you get out your comment-box pencil and start wasting phalange strength on arguments that, "50% is a really high amount and this Rick guy is nutty!" Hold your breath, have a beer and relax. The truth is not in he numbers, but what it took to reach a pinnacle of success to produce them. 

50% is a high amount, but it's not 100%. Teams in the top-5 are not winning every year and when they do, it's because the team worked really well, together, not just as one or two high-priced saviors - See Alex Rodriguez. He was a playoff joke and the Yankees suffered because of it. When he finally played team-ball in 2009, the success of that franchise was rekindled, and the Yankees won. It was many pieces in the right spots, mixed with good coaching, that provided the spark, not the size of the Steinbrenner piggy-bank. Oink!

Then there are the Rays and the A's.

Currently, both of these teams are sitting atop the Wild Card race in the American League. Big surprise? No. And, it should not be a big surprise. If the winning trend continues, the Wild Card may provide a back-up plan for each team as they battle for the lead in their divisions, respectively, and that's all. No surprise, again. In fact, the only surprise to come of this scenario is where they rank in the, cha-ching, payroll category. The A's are 28 out of 30. The Rays are 24 out of 30. 

Take a moment and listen to the crickets chirp. It's easy to hear when the critics go silencio (spanish for silent) and the whiners stop sniffling. 

Joe Maddon should be recognized as one of the best Coaches to ever put on an MLB uniform and Bob Melvin is quickly showing that his genius is no fluke, either. Both have constructed teams on small payrolls, and have had success doing so. Like Bobby Cox, the two have been labeled as "players coaches" and the clubhouse environment is a complete 180 from disasters like the Red Sox - Minus the beer. 
Aug 11, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon looks on during batting practice before a game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

A good team will always take what they have and make it work. They play hard, they play together, they play as a team - The things money can't buy. The teams that don't, fail. Through laziness and poor spending choices, the easy way out of the losing-bag can leave a team and its fans confused, and exhausted - And ultimately out of the playoffs.
Aug 12, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin (6) during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Don't blame the money, blame the guy that spends it. The MLB is full of talent, and most often missed talent. Big-market teams will always have the resources to get the marquis players, but that doesn't always mean instant victory - Albert Poujols. The rest of the league has the ability to compete if the entire organization plays their cards correctly and builds success from the top, down. Teams like the Rays, Pirates and A's have figured it out and maybe other teams will get the picture, too. 

That piece of information is free.

Words complete. 

Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview