"I don't care too much for money
For money can't buy me
Can't buy me wins...(now just the altos!)...
The 2013 season has been, to this point, a remarkable referendum on the belief that a team can parlay success out of big spending. In 2012, the A's opened the season with a payroll under $53M and ended the season with 94 wins, but that didn't stop the Los Angeles Dodgers from adding Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez to a group led -- well not really -- by Carl Crawford. Then they added Zack Greinke and before you knew it, the Dodgers had a staggering $216.7M payroll. They end play today 15-21, dead last in the NL West.
Yet remarkably, the Dodgers aren't even clearly the worst, or most overrated team, in Southern California. Even after 3 wins in a row, the Angels sit at 14-22 with a slugging duo of Lame (Pujols, literally) and Lamer (Hamilton, figuratively) and a starting rotation that inspires fear only in Angels fans. It's not the Angels' payroll ($137+M) that stands out so much as the commitments they have made to Pujols and Hamilton, 10 and 5 years respectively, totaling $365M. All to be 14-22 now.
Then there are the Toronto Blue Jays, who got tired of being a perennial 80-84 win team so they went out and got R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, ...and are 15-24, which puts them on pace to win 62 games. Oops.
At least the Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, and Mark Teixeira, none of whom have played a single inning this season. The Yankees are winning behind guys like Hiroki Kuroda, a shrewd under-the-radar signing, a homegrown talent in Brett Gardner (who is earning all of $2.85M this season), and a motley crew of cheap and unwanted castoffs like Travis Hafner ($2M), Brennan Boesch ($1.5M), Lyle Overbay ($1.25M), and Jayson Nix (0.9M). The Yankees are winning despite their payroll, not because of it!have turned their $228M payroll into wins, off to a 23-13 start. Actually, that's not true either. Much of that payroll -- $80M of it, to be exact -- is tied up in the contracts to
Granted, you can't be completely parsimonious (Marlins) or devoid of talent (Astros) and win. But if 2013 is any indication, opening up your wallet -- especially to pay big for past performance -- is no panacea either. Just ask the Dodgers, Angels, and Blue Jays, who are a combined 25.5 games out of first place. And it's only May. And most of the worst contracts are in their early stages. See you in 2021, Albert!