SBD/April 1, 2013/MLB Season Preview

Hey, Big Spender: Yankees Top MLB's Payroll List For 15th Straight Year

The Yankees for the 15th consecutive year will have MLB's "top opening-day payroll" at a record $228.8M, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. The Dodgers were "poised to end the Yankees' salary reign, but the Yankees vaulted them" when they acquired LF Vernon Wells last week from the Angels. Even "factoring in money received from the Angels ... they're still baseball's biggest spenders." Brewers President of Baseball Operations & GM Doug Melvin said, "We're becoming like the NBA. Instead of old-fashioned baseball trades, we're trading contracts. I can see more of these in the future. And that's concerning." Nightengale notes there will be $72.27M spent this season "simply in teams subsidizing contracts of players no longer with their clubs" (USA TODAY, 4/1).

MLB PAYROLLS (USA TODAY FIGURES)
TEAM
PAYROLL
TEAM
PAYROLL
Yankees
$228.8M
D'Backs
$90.1M
Dodgers
$216.6M
Braves
$89.8M
Phillies
$158.5M
Brewers
$83.0M
Red Sox
$154.6M
Royals
$81.5M
Tigers
$148.4M
Indians
$81.3M
Giants
$140.3M
Twins
$75.8M
Angels
$138.4M
Mets
$73.4M
Rangers
$121.0M
Mariners
$72.6M
White Sox
$119.1M
Rockies
$71.9M
Cardinals
$115.2M
Padres
$67.1M
Blue Jays
$113.0M
Pirates
$66.3M
Nationals
$110.9M
A's
$63.4M
Cubs
$104.3M
Rays
$57.9M
Reds
$104.0M
Marlins
$42.3M
Orioles
$91.0M
Astros
$26.6M

GET LOW: USA TODAY's Nightengale notes the Astros enter the season with a $22M payroll, $92M less than their cross-state rivals the Rangers. Astros Owner Jim Crane yesterday said, "A lot of comments have been made about the payroll, the payroll, the payroll, the payroll. We'll spend the money when we're ready to spend the money. This year wouldn't have been the right time to do it" (USA TODAY, 4/1). MLB Commissioner Bud Selig acknowledged "people are skeptical" about the team's low payroll. Selig: "I don’t blame them. But if I didn’t see really a good flow of young talent, you bet I’d be very concerned and wouldn’t sit idly by” ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 4/1).

BREWING UP ANOTHER BATCH: In Milwaukee, Tom Haudricourt notes the Brewers last year "sputtered badly at midseason and were unable to catch up." Attendance "dipped from a Brewers record of 3,071,373 in 2011 to 2,831,385, and the club finished the year in the red, something that never feels good." With that "backdrop, the Brewers scaled back their payroll considerably this year, something that was easy to do with" more than $50M "coming off the books via traded or released players as well as those who departed as free agents." A "primary reason the Brewers were able to trim payroll was the commitment to so many young, inexperienced players." The "rookie minimum salary" in '13 is $490,000, and the Brewers "have four players at that figure and eight more making between $491,000 and $498,000" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 4/1).
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