Major League Baseball’s State Of The Union – Payroll Matters Part 1: Oakland Loses Again In Playoffs

The MLB used to be the favorite Past time in America.  Now with the NFL ruling the country as #1, the game continues to miss the mark of implementing a salary system - that helps all 30 MLB Teams be competitive from a spending type of structure on a yearly basis.  Either you run your franchise perfectly from a transactions standpoint - or if you make a few contract mistakes - it could cripple your franchise for years.  Despite many of different teams bucking the trend over the last decade - it doesn't mean there isn't a problem.

The MLB used to be the favorite Past time in America. Now with the NFL ruling the country as #1, the game continues to miss the mark of implementing a salary system – that helps all 30 MLB Teams be competitive from a spending type of structure on a yearly basis. Either you run your franchise perfectly from a transactions standpoint – or if you make a few contract mistakes – it could cripple your franchise for years. Despite many of different teams bucking the trend over the last decade – it doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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As I started a minor fight on Twitter last night (with a supposedly respected writer), it reminded me of how much I hate that social media outlet, yet how it is a necessary evil.

While there were some words caught up in a misunderstanding, it left me thinking about the state of Major League Baseball.

I love this game..I have centered my life around being fan, writer, website owner, by having a job that affords me that highest capacity to receive my fix.

I have gone on crazy ballpark chasing tours, that have also helped feed my addiction.

Yet watching the Oakland A’s lose last night, and then having someone mention a joke aimed at Billy Beane (not sure how much of a joke it was – another stupid flaw of Twitter’s 140 Characters), I began thinking of everything I don’t like about the MLB.

Part 2 of this Series: MLB’s Payroll Matters Part 2: Just Because Some Low Payroll Teams Have Bucked The Trend – Doesn’t Mean It Will Continue

If you don't think there is a problem with the salary structure for teams in the MLB - try and explain it to an independent Arbitrator - that knows nothing about baseball.  Have fun trying to justify how the top team in baseball has a payroll of $225 MIL - and the lowest team payroll in 2013 has 10 times less the amount.  After that, try to talk to him about the unbalanced schedule that all communal league teams are vying for, yet play so many games vs Division foes.

If you don’t think there is a problem with the salary structure for teams in the MLB – try to explain it to an independent Arbitrator – that knows nothing about baseball. Have fun trying to justify how the top team in baseball has a payroll of $225 MIL – and the lowest team payroll in 2013 has 10 times less the amount. After that, try to talk to him about the unbalanced schedule that all communal league teams are vying for, yet play so many games vs Division foes.  Teams like Oakland 2000 – Present, Tampa Bay 2008 – Present , Minnesota (2001 – 2010), San Francisco (2010 WS win), Miami (2003) and Los Angeles Angels (2002) represents the small amount of success stories – compared to the Yankees (5 WS Titles since 1996), Boston (2004 and 2007 WS Titles), Philadelphia (2008) all were in the top few team salaries and took home trophies.  Where would Oakland be with a level playing field, where all teams spent nearly the same?

I also was trying to relate this to my girlfriend, who is not a huge avid MLB supporter, but has come with me on various MLB Road Trips, and will have a discussion with me at times.

Yesterday, as I was starting this war on Twitter, she asked “why do people take shots at Billy Beane?”

I simply replied “anyone does is crazy, the man has made the best of what he has had for years.”

I have studied the Oakland Athletics more than any other team over the last 2 years, and I always come back to having nothing but the utmost respect.

The A’s should not be winning divisions, sustaining any real success, and have no business being anywhere near the top echelon of teams with their $65 – $70 MIL Payroll.

As I tell this tom my girlfriend, she relates something back to me that I haven’t stopped thinking about:  “How does baseball have teams with such high payrolls – play against teams with low payrolls?  I mean shouldn’t there be more of a balance?”

I agree…and yes as a Yankees fan…I have said for years that the salary disparity in the MLB is stunting its growth as an entity.

The worst thing that happened to baseball – was having the Florida Marlins win the 2003 World Series on a limited budget.

Then you had the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics be 2 of the better teams in the American League for a long stretch afterwards.

The MLB just buried its head in the sand as they have and have – nots have separated the amount of money they are spending.

The solution has been to add more playoff spots.  The thought process behind this, is simply that a team can get hot if they make the playoffs, even if they are not among the top teams all year.

Everyone remembers the 2007 Colorado Rockies.

Meanwhile, all other 3 Major Sports (NFL, NHL and NBA have adopted Salary Cap Models, and in most cases, have floor spending minimums, to make sure that some teams do not tank it.)

With that, they also have draft lotteries in place of being automatically eligible for picking 1st.

Here is where the fans have lost some interest.  Sure you always have the hardcore fan, like myself, that will bleed MLB 24/7/365, but it is the casual fans that you are losing.

20 out of the 30 fanbases are not going to have sustainable teams that can compete for long.  Sure you can have your small windows and pockets of 3 – 6 years, where you are sniffing at the prize….But where will they be if the team struggles for the kind of time frame?

2000 – 2013 Oakland Athletics:

The Athletics have established a winning tradition in the Bay Area, since 2000, they have taken in 6 AL West Division Titles – and made 7 overall playoff appearances..

They can at least thank their lucky stars that the Houston Astros have moved into their Division now, as it will set them up for at least a few more years of good records.

I am not saying Oakland is good just because of that, they actually have more wins (190) than any other team in the MLB, since the start of the 2012 season – among their 2 straight AL West Division Titles.

While ‘MoneyBall’ has brought them to the dance, the team only has 1 Division Series win out of those 6 Post Season Series.

Quite often they have lost to superior talented teams, which should ease their pain, however it doesn’t mean the fanbase should not be peeved.

In the last 2 seasons, Justin Verlander has put the smack down on their season.  The Tigers, of course, are one of the highest revenue generators in the game, and they own about a $155 MIL Team Payroll – double of what Oakland does.

The A’s fan packed the place for Game #5 of the ALDS – with over 46,000 fans, however try to ask fans to come to that dump of a stadium during the regular year – and you will average less than half of that .

In 2013, they drew 1.8 Million fans – which was good for only 9th out of 15 AL teams, and still under 20K fans per game.

The stadium is a massive issue that is effecting the year to year salary of the team.

Oakland is not like the Minnesota Twins or Tampa Bay Rays situations of bucking the trend of lower payroll teams enjoying some long sustainable successes for a stretch. 

Those teams were abysmal in the standings for years – and used their high Draft status to assemble their teams. (We will be going through these specific teams and time frames in Part 2 of this topic tomorrow.)

Beane has seen his club have one of the top 10 best records in baseball since the start of the 2000 year.  They draft awesome - sell high on their players coming for Free Agency, and have adopted the 'Moneyball' Philosophy, Here they were in the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row, For the 5th time in their last 6 Division wins, the club failed to win in the 1st round, to a team that has a substantially higher payroll than them.

Beane has seen his club have one of the top 10 best records in baseball since the start of the 2000 year. They draft awesome – sell high on their players coming for Free Agency, and have adopted the ‘Moneyball’ Philosophy, Here they were in the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row, For the 5th time in their last 6 Division wins, the club failed to win in the 1st round, to a team that has a substantially higher payroll than them.

Billy Beane used his MoneyBall philosophies in the early 2000′s – and has reinvented it to where he still makes great trades, never deals for pitching, makes great assessments on other organizations failed to prospects – and is the king at not making many mistakes on Free Agency.

That will keep the man respected, but may not ever aid him in winning the last game of the year, like he wants to.

I am upset for the Oakland fans, because they deserve better than the “MLB” sitting on its duff – by not addressing the salaries situation. 

Using a stat, from a friend Josh Robbins, the only team to win the World Series since the 1994 lockout, in he bottom half of the league for team salary – was the 2003 Florida Marlins.

Sooner or later, how many of these devote fans will just give up to the system?

Join us for Part 2 tomorrow, where we go through the all of the teams that have been an exception to the rule, of David vs Goliath matchups, in terms of Post Season playoffs.

We take a further look at the teams of the Twins, Marlins, Rays, Giants, Cardinals, Rangers, and Athletics, in terms of successes since the 2000 year, and how the Dodgers are going to change the landscape of the National League.

I also dissect the unbalanced schedule, and quickly review some of the MLB’s possible solutions to this problem – while going back through the last 15 years of World Series Winner Payrolls.

Part 2 of this Series: MLB’s Payroll Matters Part 2: Just Because Some Low Payroll Teams Have Bucked The Trend – Doesn’t Mean It Will Continue

There is a reason why our website has gone to more of a Salary based menu of topics - it runs every aspect of the game of baseball in these modern times.  You want the truth, just follow where the money lies. Our site has coverage on all 30 teams payrolls, and what lies ahead based on their current payroll structure

There is a reason why our website has gone to more of a Salary based menu of topics – it runs every aspect of the game of baseball in these modern times. You want the truth, just follow where the money lies. Our site has coverage on all 30 teams payrolls, and what lies ahead based on their current payroll structure.  Make sure you bookmark our page entitled: MLB/MiLB Payrolls + Org Depth Charts, Roster and State Of the Unions.  We are a place run by the passionate fans of baseball.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners. ***

***Chuck Booth – Lead Baseball Analysr/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:

To learn more about my  “The Fastest 30 Ball.games Book” and how to purchase it, click here .

You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days- click here

I am happy to be part of such an awesome Magazine-Style Baseball Website and am looking forward to talking to all of the fans of the MLB. 

You can reach me on Twitter here

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker

Posted on October 12, 2013, in MLB Payroll and Contracts, MLB Teams State Of the Unions, Playoffs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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