Major League Baseball is, on paper, an easy business to understand. Franchises are not handcuffed by a hard salary cap as teams are in the National Football League, and thus owners can theoretically spend whatever they want on players and rosters. One who has only outside knowledge of the working in MLB would assume that the teams that have the highest payrolls are sure-things to, at the very least, be in the World Series on a yearly basis. That, as you will see in this piece, is not always the case, and sometimes a middle-of-the-road team can sneak up and shock the baseball world by the time fall rolls around.
Two of the top-three clubs responsible for the highest payrolls in the Big Leagues did not even qualify for the postseason in 2014. One of those teams was near the basement of the league standings and of league power rankings last September, but that same side is widely expected to experience a massive turnaround beginning this coming April. Some are even advertising that team to be a playoff contender that could make a run to yet another World Series championship. That fact is amazing to ponder when you consider the state of the franchise and the supposed “curse” that hovered over it just 12 years ago.
What some might find surprising is that there is one New York team that does not even make it into the top-20 for highest payrolls as of the start of the 2015 regular season. The New York Mets have been cutting costs for several years now, and that side is set to enter the upcoming campaign with the 21st-highest team payroll. Do not at all think, however, that fans of the Mets will put up with the club once again being mediocre. New York manager Terry Collins is on the hot seat, so much so that he could find himself out of a job if the Amazins are not competing for a playoff spot by the end of July.
Values from Spotrac
20 Milwaukee Brewers: $98,037,500 team payroll
19 Colorado Rockies: $99,516,171 team payroll
18 Minnesota Twins: $102,975,000 team payroll
17 Chicago Cubs: $114,629,523 team payroll
16 Cincinnati Reds: $114,869,587 team payroll
15 St. Louis Cardinals: $115,350,000 team payroll
14 Kansas City Royals: $116,475,100 team payroll
13 Seattle Mariners: $119,237,142 team payroll
12 Baltimore Orioles: $119,618,333 team payroll
11 Toronto Blue Jays: $121,125,000 team payroll
10 Chicago White Sox: $122,630,477 team payroll
9 Texas Rangers: $135,750,000 team payroll
8 Philadelphia Phillies: $136,366,666 team payroll
7 Washington Nationals: $158,514,285 team payroll
6 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: $159,687,833 team payroll
5 Detroit Tigers: $166,675,000 team payroll
4 San Francisco Giants: $169,102,777 team payroll
3 Boston Red Sox: $189,577,594 team payroll
2 New York Yankees: $211,747,857 team payroll
1 Los Angeles Dodgers: $273,440,830 team payroll
When you play in one of the biggest media markets in the world and you have a profitable local television deal, you can afford to spend big-time money on players. The Dodgers will once again be doing just that in 2015, as four players – Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford – will all make over $21 million this year alone. Kershaw, arguably the best regular season starting pitcher in the game today, is set to make a salary of over $32 million. The Dodgers will be banking on Kershaw earning that money during the summer and fall months this time around.
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