Sunday, June 13, 2010

So how much would a good team cost?

I'm a big believer in getting value out of something. I cringe when people call me thrifty...I prefer to think of it as being smart with my money. Me saving money on things throughout the week enables me to spend money on the weekend or fun vacations down the road (and even then I'm on the lookout for deals).

So what's this have to do with baseball? I'm getting to that.
The Pirates have the lowest payroll in MLB this year at around $39M. Most of that is because they are rebuilding with youth and those players don't cost a lot, especially their first 3 years.

But even with Cutch-22, Walker, Tabata, Lincoln, Meek, and soon Pedro up and making the minimum wage essentially, there are huge holes in this lineup. And not all those holes can be filled internally. It's time to look outside for either higher quality trade acquisitions or through free agency.

It got me to thinking....if I were a fan of team that actually um...spent much money would you need in the payroll for a good team?

The numbers below are all first-cut numbers. I don't have any A-Rod's on this team for $25M. No matter how good he is, nobody is worth that over an extended period. There are also certain positions that I don't think you should spend a lot of money on (like catcher, for instance, due to wear and tear).

Also keep in mind that a good farm system should supply the major league team with 1 starter and 1 bench/bullpen guy each year. So you'll see in this example some guys in the 0-3 camp making minimum, and the guys who have progressed out of that to the arb camp (typically $2M - $6M as you go through arb). For the arb guys, I assumed an average salary of $4M, taking into account the 3 years of arb.

Catcher - $4M
1B - $12M
2B - $425K (0 to 3 guy)
SS - $5M
3B - $10M
LF - $10M
CF - $4M (Arb guy)
RF - $6M

Bench C - $600K
Bench IF - $2M
Bench IF - $425K (0 to 3 guy)
Bench OF - $1M
Bench OF - $2M

SP1 - $12M
SP2 - $8M
SP3 - $4M (Arb guy)
SP4 - $4M (Arb guy)
SP5 - $425K (0 to 3 guy)

CL - $5M
SET - $2M
SET - $2M
RP - $425K (0 to 3 guy)
RP - $700K
LP - $2M
LP - $425K (0 to 3 guy)

Total - $98M'ish

Last year in 2009, $98M would have put you in 12th place, right between the White Sox and the Braves. That's $5M ahead of the Cards, so you can see that all of those teams are real honest-to-goodness competitive teams.

You can see how far the Pirates still have to go. Kind of depressing, even on the precipice of Pedro coming up to the big team.

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