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2011 MLB Salaries See 3% Increase, Rangers Lead All Clubs PDF Print E-mail
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Maury Brown Article Archive
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 12:00

MLBEach year, a litany of articles are written about who is spending what on player payrolls in Major League Baseball based upon the Opening Day rosters.

But, a more telling set of numbers arrives each year, well after the season has ended, that is arguably for more critical.

The “End of Year” or “Final” player payroll figures in MLB shows how clubs spent over the course of a season, and reflects changes after the rosters are expanded to 40 players toward the end of the season. It’s also the figure that drives who has, or hasn’t broken the Luxury Tax threshold. For 2011, a total of $2,999,559,291 was spent at the end of the season, up 3.02% from $2,911,575,488 in 2010. It was the largest increase since 2008 when salaries increased 6.20%.

When the season started, the Yankees (again) ranked #1 in the league by player payroll with the Phillies #2. When the season ended, the Yankees still held the #1 position, but the Red Sox went to #2. With it, both those clubs will have to pay penalties as part of the Luxury Tax system.

So, how do the EOY player salaries shake out?

The biggest gainer from 2010 to 2011 is the Texas Rangers. Their end of year player payroll was $103,967,140 up a whopping 39.92% from $74,302,980 the year prior. It was the largest increase since 2006. Every season since then, the Rangers had been cutting payroll, not increasing it.

Other big gainers were the Marlins (up 30.86% after being “forced” into spending when it was found the club was not spending revenue-sharing proceeds correctly in 2010), the  2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants (up 23.36% from 2010), and the Orioles (up 18.61% from 2010).

The biggest decliners both sit at the bottom of the EOY player payroll list, but with very, very different outcomes in the standings.

Ranking 29th in EOY payroll were the Tampa Bay Rays. With the loss of several free agents, the club saw a decrease of 41.98% compared to 2010, and still made the playoffs. At #30 were the Kansas City Royals, who saw EOY player payroll drop 41.96% and finished last in the AL Central and 23rd overall in the league compared to the Rays’ 7th.

Other points of interest:

  • The club has lost a reported $70 million and has had to take out more than one loan, but the New York Mets actually saw player payroll rise 11.51%. At $142,244,744 they ended the season ranked 5th behind only the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, and Angels. Next year (and likely in years to follow), the Mets will drop down the list. Already they saw Jose Reyes go to the Marlins by way of free agency.
  • The Dodgers are bankrupt, right? Well, when you look at the player payroll figure, it’s hard to see it. The Dodgers ranked 12th in league by way of End of Year player payroll at $109,865,640, that was an ever so slight increase from the year prior (up 0.10%).
  • In the “excess of $100 million player payroll dept”, 13 clubs held that distinction in 2011, up from 11 in 2010.
  • It hasn’t shown up in the standings, but it has to be a big concern for those tracking financial parity: The AL East has seen a growing chasm between the Yankees at #1 and whoever is the lowest payrolled club at the bottom. In 1999, the distance between the lowest (Rays at $37,860,451) and highest (Yankees at $91,990,955) was $54,130,504. Jump to 2011 and the distance between those two clubs is a staggering $141,821,775, more than double the distance between the two in 1999 based on EOY player payroll.

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE EOY PLAYER PAYROLL FOR 2011 THE % OF INCREASE FROM 2010 ALONG WITH THE 2010 EOY FIGURES

Team

2011

% (+/-)

2010

Yankees

$216,044,956

0.46%

$215,053,064

Red Sox

$174,116,280

2.03%

$170,650,856

Phillies

$165,313,989

13.59%

$145,539,931

Angels

$143,099,729

15.89%

$123,478,263

Mets

$142,244,744

11.51%

$127,560,042

Cubs

$140,608,942

-1.26%

$142,410,031

White Sox

$125,814,762

12.14%

$112,197,078

Giants

$125,111,390

23.36%

$101,417,943

Twins

$115,419,106

12.01%

$103,039,407

Tigers

$113,230,923

-16.69%

$135,913,308

Cardinals

$113,156,467

15.05%

$98,354,244

Dodgers

$109,865,640

0.10%

$109,753,719

Rangers

$103,967,140

39.92%

$74,302,980

Mariners

$98,067,684

5.02%

$93,376,107

Rockies

$96,145,529

9.29%

$87,974,390

Brewers

$93,234,011

-1.40%

$94,554,209

Braves

$88,128,545

-1.23%

$89,226,985

Orioles

$86,856,480

18.61%

$73,231,289

Reds

$81,621,587

-1.01%

$82,451,340

Astros

$81,139,621

-9.96%

$90,119,188

Blue Jays

$75,851,382

-12.62%

$86,803,549

Nationals

$72,022,999

0.12%

$71,937,323

Athletics

$70,476,206

14.09%

$61,773,644

D-Backs

$65,603,602

-6.99%

$70,531,163

Marlins

$61,940,280

30.86%

$47,331,979

Indians

$53,533,393

-11.52%

$60,500,460

Pirates

$51,784,810

17.30%

$44,146,967

Padres

$45,620,873

4.51%

$43,654,177

Rays

$44,969,740

-41.98%

$77,510,502

Royals

$44,566,470

-41.96%

$76,781,350

TOTAL

$2,999,559,291

3.02%

$2,911,575,488

Source: The Associated Press


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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