MLB Payrolls 2019

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This topic contains 88 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by Brian Walton Brian Walton 5 months ago.

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  • #80939
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    gscottar
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    This exchange in Ben Frederickson’s chat yesterday perfectly illustrates the disconnect between the FO and a lot of fans when it comes to urgency and mashing the gas down to create a winner.

    QUESTION: Mozeliak’s comments about potentially winning the division irk me. Why not build a team to win the World Series? Why not follow up the Goldschmidt trade with another splash?

    BENFRED: This is why I tried to press pause on the interpreting of Mozeliak’s “2019 matters” comment. Fans hungry to see the Cardinals go all-in used Mo’s remark as proof it was coming. But the Cardinals thought trading for Goldschmidt was that kind of all-in statement. Fans wanted to see the Goldschmidt addition as a warning shot before a cannon splash. The Cardinals thought it was the cannon.

    The Cardinals have moved their sustained success dial toward urgency, but I’m not sure it’s ever going to be at the level some fans want. Only a deep postseason run will get the two slowly separating groups back toward seeing things the same way.

    How that happens is viewed differently by the fans and the front office, perhaps more now than ever before.

    #80941
    Brian Walton
    Brian Walton
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    I think he stated ownership’s view accurately. One has to interpret what a team “built to win the World Series” means, but the Cards are usually in the lower part of the top 10 in payroll. As has been documented here and many places, there is no direct correlation between top payroll spend and winning the World Series. The unanswerable question is “how close is close enough”?

    The last three years were not close enough, so they added Goldy and Miller without subtracting anyone important. In their defense, the Cards never said they were adding two offensive stars for 2019, as much as many fans want them to.

    FWIW, I prefer actual numbers vs. vague terms like “mash the gas” and “go all in” because they are vague by definition.

    #80943
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    gscottar
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    Winning in the playoffs sometimes is just who is hot at the right time. We saw that locally in 2006. But there is no doubt there is a correlation between spending and winning baseball games in general. A mountain of evidence to support that. Yes there are outliers but there is still a correlation. It is kind of like when people say that recruiting stars don’t matter in college football. They like to cite the 2 star player who ended up in the NFL but the 5 star player who was a flop. Yes, there are outliers but I like to play the percentages. Look at the team recruiting rankings and look who has the 11 and 12 win seasons. There is a correlation there just like there is in spending and winning MLB games.

    And I have been very specific about what else I think the Cardinals should do the remainder of the off season. Absent a surprise bat acquisition they should get one more high end starter or reliever. Names I have suggested include Kluber, Keuchel, Madbum, and Kimbrel. Adding just one of those players to go along with Goldschmidt and Miller would put us ahead of the Cubs in my opinion.

    https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-battle-between-payroll-and-parity/

    https://projectleftbench.com/2018/01/18/the-mlb-payroll-question-can-a-team-simply-buy-wins/

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/dont-be-fooled-by-baseballs-small-budget-success-stories/

    https://courses.cs.washington.edu/courses/cse140/13wi/projects/mirae-report.pdf

    #80951
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    NJ315
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    I agree that Madbum or Kluber would make us better than the Cubs and Brewers. But I am not holding my breath.

    #80952
    Brian Walton
    Brian Walton
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    gscottar, my point was not winning regular season games. It was winning the World Series.

    I wrote: “…there is no direct correlation between top payroll spend and winning the World Series.”

    Recent World Series teams’ payroll ranking:
    2018 – Red Sox #5, Dodgers #1
    2017 – Astros #16, Dodgers #6
    2016 – Cubs #4, Indians #26
    2015 – Royals #14, Mets #21
    2014 – Giants #8, Royals #17

    So, the average payroll ranking of the World Series winner the last five years was between #9 and #10. If you consider both teams in the Series, the average payroll is 12th.

    Where do you think the Cards usually reside? Yup, right around there.

    #80963
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    gscottar
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    Yes, the World Series and the regular season can be different animals but success in the regular season is necessary to have a chance to advance to the World Series and there is ample evidence that there is a correlation between spending and winning regular season games.

    I think one could argue that the Cardinals are currently in the toughest division in MLB therefore have to be more aggressive than say someone like the Indians, who could probably win the AL Central with 88 wins.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Avatar gscottar.
    #80965
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    gscottar
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    BTW Brian, Cots has the payrolls for the last 5 years ranked a little different but the end result is about the same.

    2018- Red Sox #1, Dodgers #4
    2017- Astros #19, Dodgers #1
    2016- Cubs #4, Indians #21
    2015- Royals #13, Mets #19
    2014- Giants #6, Royals #19

    Average ranking for the winner is 8.6 and the average for both teams is 10.7

    I haven’t taken the time to look at the average payroll ranking for all playoff teams the last 5 years though.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Avatar gscottar.
    #80971
    Brian Walton
    Brian Walton
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    My ranking source was USA TODAY, but they are both in a comparable range.

    I thought about looking at all playoff teams, because at least the Cards’ focus had been to get into October and go from there. Or maybe one could look at division winners. There are may different ways to cut it. I chose the World Series since most seem to agree that should be the target.

    Spending to get regular season wins is not where I would focus. We should look at the final result – playoff results – to assess if the spending was worthwhile. As we saw with the 2015 Cardinals, winning 100 games meant nothing in October.

    When all is said and done, my point remains the same.

    #80980
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    gscottar
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    This article is a few weeks old so I don’t know if it has been linked to this board or not but it is an interesting read. It suggests that while spending on payroll is going down spending on player development is exploding. Subscription required.

    https://theathletic.com/681387/2018/12/07/sarris-the-next-moneyball-is-already-happening-all-around-us-in-the-wild-west-of-player-development/

    #81034
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    gscottar
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    One thing I would add about “going all in” is that the team you start with is not always the team you end with. Even if we are done for the winter the FO could still make additions in July, which I would implore them to do. The trade deadline is an area where Mo has been way too passive in recent years in my opinion. A guy like Madbum or maybe a big bat could definitely be available at that time . We need to be ready to pounce.

    #81044
    Brian Walton
    Brian Walton
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    Despite how it was spun by the locals, the Cards were sellers last year at the deadline. This year, perhaps they will have the confidence to make a big acquisition to help them finish strongly.

    #81124
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    gscottar
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    This may come as a surprise to some but I really don’t like playing the role of contrarian or rabble rouser. It doesn’t come naturally to me. The reason I sometimes give Mo and the FO a hard time is because I think they too often get a free pass from the STL media in being held accountable. Mo would never survive in New York, Boston, or Philly.

    I also maintain that the once impeccable model the Cardinals have used to build championship caliber teams is now somewhat outdated and someone needs to hold them accountable. For at least the last 10 years the organization has tried to build up their farm system, promote from within, and supplement that with a few trades and free agents. Sounds great right? Why does it not work as well now? What has changed?

    Well the biggest thing that has changed is the NL Central, specifically the Cubs. Up until 5 or 6 years ago the Cardinals could count on the Cubs to be the bungling, lovable losers they have always been. That can no longer be counted on. There was always the occasional uprising by one of the other NLC teams but it was nothing sustainable. In other words the Cardinals ruled the roost in the NLC and could do as they wanted.

    Now with the Cubs finally reaching their big market powerhouse potential how have the Cardinals reacted to this? Basically they haven’t changed anything. They still do what they do. The system is still producing winning teams but is no longer producing playoff teams. We haven’t adjusted to our new environment and someone needs to keep speaking out until this changes. As has been stated before trying to build a 87-90 win team is no longer good enough because of tanking. You had better try to build a 95 win team. Don’t get me wrong I am not opposed to building a strong farm system and graduating those players to St. Louis but at times we need to be more aggressive with supplementing that from the outside.

    It is frustrating to me to see us annually be a top 3 team in attendance but act like we can’t afford to be aggressive. I know that teams have other revenue streams besides attendance but let’s face it the Cardinals are a big revenue team and seldom act like it. I sometimes feel that the fans are being taken for granted and that just needs to change.

    There is a $50M payroll gap between the Cubs and Cardinals. We will probably never spend as much as them but the gap shouldn’t be that wide. Some say the Cardinals are just being smarter with their dollars than the Cubs. I can understand that as someone who works in the private sector and is responsible for budgets. But as a fan it infuriates me and I will continue to speak out about it. I’m more interested in seeing this team win championships than I am seeing the Dewitt’s make money. That may sounds selfish but so be it. I suspect most fans feel the same way.

    Brian made the point the other day that Mo would probably be willing to spend much more if the team owners would allow it. That might be true I really don’t know. But whoever is in control of the purse strings and the aggression level they are not going to get a free pass from me.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Avatar gscottar.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Avatar gscottar.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Avatar gscottar.
    #81135
    jj-cf-stl
    jj-cf-stl
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    The flip side of maxing to the CBT cap as the cubs have done, is an offseason where your major adds are Daniel Descalso and Brad Brach.

    And yes, the cubs fans on their forums are calling ownership cheap too.

    #81163
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    gscottar
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    The CBT is a con job. The penalties for going over are not severe at all. Owners are using it as salary cap and an excuse for passivity. I guess they assume that the casual fan is not capable of researching and reading the CBA therefore will just take their word for it.

    #81165
    Brian Walton
    Brian Walton
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    I don’t think the owners care all that much if a subset of fans understand. In the meantime, they are saving millions. Remember, the Players Association agreed to the current rules.

    #81182
    jj-cf-stl
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    The tax rates vary from 20 to 95% (on overage). Bos is facing a 75% tax on the 19′ season, for any overage. I’d call that severe.

    The cubs have shut down and lost their “do whatever it takes” approach.

    I think the cap is working, but maybe as a casual fan I’m being conned.

    #81200
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    gscottar
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    I am not aware of the tax rates you referenced.

    My interpretation of the CBT is:

    20% tax for first offense
    30% tax for second offense
    50% tax for third or more offenses
    Rule 4 draft spot is reduced 10 spots if $40M over the tax line

    I’m nut sure which category the Red Sox would fall under.

    The Cubs have appeared to shut down although Harper hasn’t signed with anyone else yet. Even so if they have shut down it is because of choice not because of necessity. If they had a $240M payroll right now their tax would be $6.8M. For a team worth $3 Billion they could probably handle it.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Avatar gscottar.
    #81203
    jj-cf-stl
    jj-cf-stl
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    Its listed in the CBA. Little graph and everything.

    #81204
    jj-cf-stl
    jj-cf-stl
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    By going 34mil over the Cubs would pay a 60% tax on 34 mil.
    Im on the job and don’t have time to open the CBA, thats off memory from yesterday.

    About a 20mil tax. So harper costs 50mil on a 30per salary. I’ll confirm the actual numbers tonight.

    #81205
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    gscottar
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    I went back and found the chart you are talking about. After re-reading it I think the higher rates you reference would only kick in if the team is an offender for several years in a row and only for portions of the overage but not the full amount but I admit it isn’t the clearest of language for a non-lawyer. There are also certain surcharges at different intervals.

    It is more complex than I originally thought but my interpretation is that by going $34M over the Cubs would pay a 20% tax since they are a first offender, thus the $6.8M. That would most likely be peanuts for them but Theo has yet been able to convince Ricketts and I hope he isn’t able to.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Avatar gscottar.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Avatar gscottar.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Avatar gscottar.
    #81222
    jj-cf-stl
    jj-cf-stl
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    The different tax rates are for the different amounts of overage. Left side, first horizontal row, less than 20mil overage.
    Bottom row for greater than 20mil overage.

    The up and down columns are for first, second and third time offenders.

    For the sake of discussion, lets say the Cubsare at 205mil, still under. Signing Bryce for a 30 aav puts them in the over 20mil surcharge (bottom line).

    Lets just say they didn’t go over last season and it reset at zero offense. That bottom left hand box is their tax. 60% i think it was. 60% of thirty is 18mil, so Bryce costs them 48mil.

    To me that’s significant, rather than an excuse to be passive. This is my interpretation and I’m no lawyer.

    #81223
    Brian Walton
    Brian Walton
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    But did you stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night? 😉

    Seriously, good stuff!

    #81239
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    gscottar
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    Here is the chart JJ and how I would interpret that scenario. Correct me if I am wrong.

    <$20M (Base Tax Rate) 20% 30% 50%

    $20M-$40M (Base Tax + 1st Surcharge) 32% 42% 62%

    >$40M (Base Tax + 2nd Surcharge) 62.5% 75% 95%

    The 2019 tax threshold is $206M so if the Cubs had a 2019 payroll of $235M that would put them $29M over the limit. As a first time offender the first $20M would be taxed at 20% which would equal $4M. The other $15M would be taxed at 32% which would equal $2.88M.

    The total tax would be $6.88M

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Avatar gscottar.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by Avatar gscottar.
    #81279
    jj-cf-stl
    jj-cf-stl
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    Thanks for doing that, i still hadn’t reopened the cba. First off there are three levels of overage, i was only remembering two, so that avoids the 62.5%.

    My interpretation would be the 29mil overage times 32%. So about a third of 29, under 10mil. Honestly i dont know which of us is right, or both are wrong ?

    The first time payee really doesn’t break the bank, but when it compounds yearly it leads to that 75% Bos is now trying to avoid. I’m sure they’d like kimbrel in the pen but so far they have avoided all the closers.

    #81350
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    gscottar
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    The 2019 tax threshold is $206M so if the Cubs had a 2019 payroll of $235M that would put them $29M over the limit. As a first time offender the first $20M would be taxed at 20% which would equal $4M. The other $15M would be taxed at 32% which would equal $2.88M.

    The total tax would be $6.88M

    I actually listed one of the figures wrong. That should read “the other $9M would be taxed at 32% which would equal $2.88M.

    Whether the total tax is $6.88M or just under $10M it is something the Cubs could probably handle to get Harper if ownership would sanction it. However, as you say, once you become a repeat offender the penalties certainly do stiffen. The Red Sox bullpen may implode this year because of it.

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