The long 162 game MLB season offered exciting finishes for some and extremely disappointing conclusions for others, but regardless of the result, the collection of 30 baseball franchises paid $2,789,752,055 in salaries to approximately 1000 to 1200 players on the active and inactive rosters. The average salary of a player in the majors is $3,323.296.53. Although misleading due to the gigantic annual salaries of players like; NYY Alex Rodriguez $27.5M, PHIL Ryan Howard $25M, PHIL Cliff Lee $24M, MIL Joe Mauer $23M, along with NYY CC Sabathia $23M, NYM Johan Sanata $22.9M, NYY Mark Teixera $22.5M, BOS Adrian Gonzalez $22M, MIL Ryan Braun $21M, BOS Carl Crawford $20.3M and PHIL Roy Halladay $20M, these average salaries are still the basis for an investment into talent that will ultimately generate performance on the field that will result into playoff teams, division championships, pennant races and World Series Championships. What we are seeing more and more that money does not but you love or a championship.
While the Yankees clinched the division title with a 97-65 record over Tampa Bay (91-71). The Yankees paid $202,689,028 for 6 more wins than the "Wild Card" Devil Rays, who paid $41,053,571 in salaries. The Rays went as far in the playoffs as the highest salaried team in professional baseball while sporting the second lowest salary in MLB. The Philadelphia Phillies appeared to make the best of their $172,976,379 salary overhead with a regular season record of 102-60, 13 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves, who invested $87,002,692 in players for 2011. The Phillies wasted the second highest payroll bowing out in five games in the first round of the playoffs, losing to St. Louis whose $138,543,166 payroll ranks fourth in the league.
The Boston Red Sox in a three way fight with NY and Tampa Bay, recorded 90 wins and 72 losses, with approximately 25% of those losses coming in the month of September, leaving the Red Sox home during the playoff season, and forcing a quality manager out, that will prove more damaging in the immediate future. The Sox invested $161,762,475 for basically negative results and obvious disappointment. The Los Angeles Angels ($138,543,166 4th 86-76), Chicago White Sox ($127,789,000 5th 79-83), Chicago Cubs ($125,047,329 6th 71-91), New York Mets ($118,847,309 7th 77-85), San Francisco Giants ($118,198,333 8th 86-76) and Minnesota Twins ($112,737,000 9th 63-99) did not make the playoffs, leaving the fans and management scratching their heads and planning additional moves over the season that will undoubtedly involve more money to buy talent or potential for an unknown competitive result. These six top 10 payrolls in MLB recorded 462 wins and 510 losses for the season.
The playoffs commenced with salary ranking match-ups of #29 Tampa Bay vs #13 Texas, #1 New York vs #10 Detroit, #2 Philadelphia vs #11 St Louis and #17 Milwaukee vs #25 Arizona. Now the pennant race will commence without the top nine payrolls in the league, with #10 Detroit against #13 Texas for the American league Championship and #11 St. Louis matched with #17 Milwaukee for the National League title. The regular season record for the six lowest payrolls in the playoffs was 562-410. Only three top ten salaried franchises made the playoffs, 1, 2 and 10. Only #10 Detroit moves on to the pennant race.
The 2011 season becomes just another modern day season proving that MLB and other professional franchises in professional sports are missing the mark in the salary investment of players and team chemistry and investing against salary based collective bargaining revenue share, and marquee named athletes that are not making several teams better from the free agent market. The result is high payrolls, frustrated fans, managers, front offices and several losing seasons, in more ways than one. Like our mothers always said, "money can't buy you love" and obviously it's not buying wins either.