Team sports are team sports, but if you want to make a case that there is a sport where one player isn’t likely to greatly tip the scales, baseball may arguably be that sport.
Today on Baseball Prospectus, I take a look at how much salary you can allocate to one player and still be competitive. From the article:
The focus on how much clubs spend on just one player didn’t really gain serious attention until Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks signed Alex Rodriguez to a then-record $252 million deal in 2001. Owners and the league bemoaned the move given the enormity of the deal, while those bean counting from a roster construction position panned the move for how much A-Rod was getting compared to the rest of the roster.
A-Rod’s 2001 salary of $22 million accounted for 25 percent of the Ranges’ total Opening Day payroll of $88,633,500. To put Rodriguez’ salary in perspective that year, first baseman Rafael Palmeiro was the second-highest-paid player on the Rangers at $9 million. Of course, history has since told the story of that poor salary construction model; with player payroll not evenly distributed, the ability to bring in pieces to support A-Rod never materialized, and the team performed horribly in the standings. In the end, what a GM needs is flexibility, and Hicks’ deal for Rodriguez removed that.
This past off-season, the subject of how much to allocate to one roster spot became a big story for the league when Albert Pujols pushed for a 10-year deal in excess of $250 million. Speaking at a conference during the Baseball Winter Meetings, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak, who later would lose Pujols to the Angels, mentioned the dilemma:
“Our research shows that only one club has ever allocated more than 20 percent to one resource and made the World Series, and that was Todd Helton with the Rockies in 2007,” Mozeliak said.
Make sure and check the rest of the story at the link where you can find what player consumes the largest percentage of total player payroll, plus the top 5 players for each of the Division leaders, plus the Cardinals to allow that “last year’s World Series winner” discussion.
Read it here: Bizball: How Much Salary Can You Allocate to One Player and Be Competitive?
Maury 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. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. 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).
Follow Maury Brown on Twitter
Follow The Biz of Baseball on Twitter
Follow the Business of Sports Network on Facebook