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THE GILDED AGE: FOUR TEAMS TOP $70M IN MLB PLAYER PAYROLL
Published March 27, 1998
As MLB opens its season on Tuesday, the "gulf between the sport's have and have-not franchises is wider than ever," according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. Today in MLB, "you have to spend big to win big." Tigers GM Randy Smith: "I don't think you have to spend $60 million or $70 million to win. But it's clear that in order to get into the playoffs, you're going to have to spend, and spend pretty big." Maske notes that no MLB club had a winning record last year with a player payroll of less than $40M. Acting Commissioner Bud Selig: "There's no sense in deluding one's self. You could see this coming five to eight years ago." Selig added, "We just need to improve the system. ... One could make a convincing case here that there's just not enough cost restraint built into the system." Maske lists MLB team player payrolls for the '98 season. The figures use the "payroll-calculation method" used by management's Players Relations Committee. The method includes the salaries of all players on the 40-man roster, bonuses and benefits. For players with multiyear deals, the average annual value of the contract is used. The MLBPA does not include benefits in payroll calculations. Player payrolls of MLB's 30 teams (WASHINGTON POST, 3/27):
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MORE MLB NOTES: In Boston, the GLOBE features an extensive series on MLB's search for talent in international markets, including Asia, Australia, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Red Sox GM Dan Duquette: "It's hard finding talent in the States because kids just aren't playing enough baseball. You have to explore every avenue for talent, and the international market is now a critical avenue" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/27)....USA TODAY's BASEBALL WEEKLY editors interview MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr and MLB COO Paul Beeston in the current issue. Beeston, on attracting more fans of color: "We're trying to do it. ... You can't say we're not advertising. Can't say we're not out there." Fehr, on the image of the players: "I think since the strike ended there has been a sustained effort to reach out, to do more, to incrementaly rehabilitate the image of the players and the image of the game" (BASEBALL WEEKLY, 3/25 issue).