SBD/April 1, 2011/MLB Season Preview

Yankees Maintain Highest Team Payroll; 12 Teams Crack $100M Threshold

A record 12 MLB teams "have payrolls of more than $100 million" at the start of the '11 season, and while the Yankees "reduced their payroll from a year ago by $3 million to $203 million," they still lead all MLB teams, according to Nightengale & Boeck of USA TODAY. The Phillies and Red Sox, who "each committed more than $125 million in free agency last winter, are as close to the Yankees as any teams have been since 2002." The Phillies' Opening Day payroll is $173M after the addition of P Cliff Lee, while the Red Sox' signing of LF Carl Crawford bumped their payroll to $161.8M. The average player salary is $3.3M, up 1% from '10. Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez again leads all players with a $32M salary (USA TODAY, 4/1).

TEAM
PAYROLL
TEAM
PAYROLL
Yankees
$202.7M
Mariners
$86.5M
Phillies
$173M
Brewers
$85.5M
Red Sox
$161.8M
Orioles
$85.3M
Angels
$138.5M
Reds
$75.9M
White Sox
$127.8M
Astros
$70.7M
Cubs
$125M
A's
$66.5M
Mets
$118.8M
Nationals
$63.9M
Giants
$118.2M
Blue Jays
$62.6M
Twins
$112.7M
Marlins
$56.9M
Tigers
$105.7M
D'Backs
$53.6M
Cardinals
$105.4M
Indians
$49.2M
Dodgers
$104.2M
Padres
$45.9M
Rangers
$92.3M
Pirates
$45M
Rockies
$88.1M
Rays
$41.1M
Braves
$87M
Royals
$36.1M

RECORD-SETTING FIGURES: In St. Louis, Joe Strauss reports the Cardinals' payroll is a "franchise record for the start of a season." Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said that the payroll figure "squared with a projection" made by himself and Chair Bill DeWitt Jr. after last season. Mozeliak: "It was all about allocation. Both Bill and I realized it was going to take a large investment to change the dynamics of what we were doing" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/1)....In Milwaukee, Tom Haudricourt noted 1B Prince Fielder and P Zack Greinke combine for "nearly 33% of the Brewers' franchise-record" payroll. Fielder's $15.5M salary is the "highest single-season salary in club history" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/31).

PAYROLL COULD GO UP: D'Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall sat for a Q&A with the ARIZONA REPUBLIC's Nick Piecoro and was asked whether the team would increase its payroll "if things go the way you anticipate things going this season budget-wise." Hall said, "Anything we do -- there are other streams I'm looking at right now to increase revenue -- that's going to go right into the product on the field and go into major league payroll. If we are successful this year and if our revenues are strong, at least on projection, if we're in a position where we need to make moves, we're going to do it and add to the payroll" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/1).
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