It's not surprising that a Chicago writer is taking a shot at the 2012 Athletics payroll - the key paragraph follows.
"MLB should have a minimum payroll. It would require all teams to at least attempt to be somewhat competitive, and fairness is an issue. For instance, how much of an advantage will the Angels and Rangers have in the wild-card race because they have 19 games each against Oakland?"
It does impact the WC possibilities in other divisions to have such a potentially weak team in the AL West.