I mentioned here that I’m already hearing comments about the Yankees “buying” (or, at least, trying to “buy”) a World Series title. And if you look at it objectively, just from the point of view of total payroll and revenues, then you should be able to understand why some people feel that way. Of course, understanding is not the same thing as agreeing. The reality is that it takes more than just money to win the World Series. Yes, a high payroll team like the Yankees can afford to sign the Sabathias and the Teixeiras. But that doesn’t mean that those expensive players will be the right pieces to the puzzle. Randy Johnson had a much lower postseason ERA when he signed with the Yankees than CC Sabathia did when he came to New York, but so far this postseason, CC has performed far better than the Big Unit did in his postseason starts in pinstripes. An expensive puzzle is just junk if the pieces don’t fit together, but
an inexpensive puzzle can be a work of art when all of the pieces fit
I’ve been thinking about this a bit more, and I’ve done a bit of research. Take a look at the World Series winners since the Yankees last won, and their total payrolls for those years*:
2001 Diamondbacks – 8th highest payroll
2002 Angels – 15th highest payroll
2003 Marlins – 6th lowest payroll (only the Indians, Padres, Brewers, Royals, and Rays had a lower payroll)**
2005 White Sox – 13th highest payroll
2006 Cardinals – 11th highest payroll
2008 Phillies – 12th highest payroll
Look at that list…only one of those teams was in the top ten for highest payrolls in the year that they won the World Series. By contrast, the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox had the 2nd highest payrolls behind the Yankees.
The Yankees have had MLB’s highest payroll every season except one since their mid-90’s “dynasty” began in 1996. The only season they didn’t have the highest payroll was, ironically, in 1998 when they had one of their best seasons ever. (The Baltimore Orioles had MLB’s highest payroll in 1998…and finished 4th in the AL East, 35 games out of first place.)
What does this prove? Money (i.e., one of the top payrolls in MLB) can help a team to sign the players it may need to be successful, but it doesn’t necessarily help to “buy” a World Series title. Winning takes more than money…that’s a fact that the Yankees have certainly proven for the last 8 years. It takes:
- good players (some of whom do make the most money, and some of whom do not)
- team chemistry (some people roll their eyes at that…I think those people are fools)
- and often, a little bit of luck
By the way, it should be noted that the 1997 Florida Marlins — whom many people (including me) have used as an example of a team that “bought” its World Series title — had the 7th highest total payroll in 1997. The Marlins did bring in a lot of players from outside the organization (free agency, trades, whatever) for the sole purpose of winning a World Series, and then gutted the team over the next two seasons because they could no longer afford to keep their best players. But even they did not have the highest payroll in baseball that season…nor were they even ranked in the top 5 as far as total team payrolls were concerned in 1997.
Does having lots of revenue and a high payroll help a team to be successful? It can. Does it guarantee that a team will win this:
Nope. There are no guarantees. Even a commanding lead in a LCS doesn’t guarantee that a team will get to the World Series, much less win it. Just ask the 2004 Yankees.
* Source: USA Today Baseball Salaries Database
** Note: one other source — baseballchronolgy.com — ranked the 2003 Marlins as having the 5th lowest payroll; the Indians were ranked higher.
The Yankees are one win away from facing the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.
I’m not getting too excited just yet…I still remember 2004…so I will refrain from any hearty celebrating until after the Yankees have win #4.But Tuesday’s 10-1 win had to have been pretty demoralizing for the Angels. I’m not sure if they can come back from the 3 games to 1 deficit after a loss like that.
I’ve already started hearing comments about how the Yankees have bought a(nother) World Series title. Never mind the fact that the Yankees haven’t won the ALCS yet. If CC Sabathia continues pitching the way he’s been pitching, and especially if
Mark Teixeira gets hot and contributes towards an ALCS, or World Series, win,
I expect those comments to get louder and more frequent.
In all honesty, I can understand where those comments are coming from.
Only a few other teams can approach the revenue coming in to the Yankees. And the Yankees are obviously not shy about spending those millions to improve their team. The reality is that no other team could have spent over $420 dollars on three free agents last offseason.
There’s a lot of whining and complaining about the Yankees payroll. Yes, it’s massive…but the Yankees have done nothing illegal by spending so much money. They operate within the guidelines of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. And the fact is that if other teams had similar amounts of revenue, they would do exactly as the Yankees have done, which is spend as much money as necessary to build a winner.
Does the Yankees revenue give them an unfair advantage? Of course it does. To claim otherwise is just naive. Other teams can’t compete with that kind of money. But if you look at some of the World Series winners in the last 9 years — since the Yankees’ last World Series title — you would see that some of the winners have payrolls considerably lower than the Yankees. Money definitely helps when a team is trying to build a winner, but it doesn’t guarantee success.
If the Yankees do manage to win the World Series, then Yankees fans need to prepare themselves for the barrage of claims that the Yankees had bought yet another World Title. Such claims are understandable. Wrong, but understandable.
Yankees vs. Angels…this should be interesting.
First, a few words about the Red Sox/Angels ALDS. I thought that the
Angels would win the series…but I certainly didn’t expect the Angels
to sweep that series. I can’t stand Jonathan Papelbon, so I must admit
that I was not sorry to hear that he blew the save, and the game, and
the series. If the Red Sox destiny was to go home after the ALDS, then
IMO that blown save couldn’t have happened to a more deserving
It will be interesting to see how Bobby Abreu performs against his former team. It will also be interesting to see if Alex Rodriguez can continue to play well, and make Yankee fans forget his performances in the postseason from previous years. And the Yankees have to hope that CC Sabathia can perform better against the Angels in this series than he did during the season, when he lost his two starts and had a 6.08 ERA.
The Yankees certainly have plenty of motivation to defeat the Angels. Not only are they trying to make up for the fact that they failed to make the postseason last year, but the Angels sent the Yankees home early in 2002 and 2005 by defeating them in the ALDS. The boys from the Bronx are out for revenge!
I’d like to say that the Yankees will breeze through the ALCS…I believe the Yankees will win, but I think it will take 7 games to do so.
It’s been a while…over two months, in fact…but I’m back. Real life intruded upon my online time — work issues and personal issues kept my online time limited to just my message board for the most part, but I’m hoping that everything is resolved now, and I’ll be able to make regular contributions to this blog once again.
Let’s see…what has happened since my last blog entry? Well, starting with the Yankees:
With a sweep of the Twins in early July, the Yankees tied the Red Sox for the lead in the AL East for one game, surrendering the lead the very next day with the first of three losses to the Angels. Less than two weeks later, a win over the Orioles pushed the Yankees into another tie for first in the AL East with the Red Sox. The Yankees have been in first place ever since, and despite losing their first eight games against Boston this season, they now hold a 9-game lead over the Red Sox. Since my last blog post, the Yankees have had winning streaks of 7 games three times and an 8 game winning streak, with no losing streaks longer than 3 games.
As for the Nationals:
Suckrahan Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge were traded to the Pirates for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett, giving the Nationals the centerfielder they’ve needed all season. Manager Manny Acta got the boot just before the All-Star game and was replaced by bench coach Jim Riggleman. Shortly thereafter, the Nationals front office sent a “We admit that we suck, but we’re trying not to suck quite so much” email to all season ticket holders and all fans who purchased Nationals tickets or merchandise online. The Nationals were 6-10 in July after Riggleman took over for Acta, and were 14-15 in August, including an 8-game winning streak in early August. The Nats traded Nick Johnson — the last remaining connection to the Montreal Expos — to the Marlins for minor league pitcher Aaron Thompson. Starting pitchers Scott Olsen, Jordan Zimmermann, Craig Stammen, and Collin Balester were lost for the season to injuries (shoulder surgery for Olsen, Tommy John surgery for Zimmernann, arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur int he elbow for Stammen, and an intercostal strain of his left
side for Balester). In need of an innings eater, and/or overtaken by nostalgia, the Nats signed pitcher (and former National) Livan Hernandez after he was released by the Mets. Oh, and the Nationals signed their number 1 draft choice — perhaps you’ve heard of him? — some guy named Stephen Strasburg.
Yep, that about covers it.
The Nationals/Cardinals game at Nationals Park was rained out today. I had tickets for that game, and, despite the fact that the rain started falling steadily around mid-morning, I headed out to Nationals Park anyway, hoping that the game could be played anyway. Nope…the rain let up to a drizzle a few times but never really stopped. As the rain delay was approaching two hours and the rain began to fall harder, my friends and I gave up and left. Not pleased about what I assumed would surely be a rainout, I stopped off at the mall in Union Station on the way home and bought some new shoes. (IMO, shoe shopping is a wonderful way to soothe the soul!) Not only did I get my shoes on sale, but because the cash register malfunctioned and I had to wait while it was fixed, I got an additional 15% off for my patience. So the day wasn’t a total waste!
The Yankees/Angels game at Yankee Stadium was also rained out. (Ditto for the Mets/Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park.) New York, Philly, DC…it was just a wet, messy, nasty day on the East Coast today.
Today was another rough day for CC Sabathia, who gave up 5 runs (4 earned) in less than 7 innings, as the Yankees lost to the Angels, 8-4. He is now 1-3 with an ERA of 4.85…not terribly impressive, particularly for a pitcher making over $15,000,000 this season. Sabathia’s last win was April 11th, against the Royals.
The Yankees often manage to make unknown, or mediocre, pitchers look like Cy Young; while no one would have mistaken Angels pitcher Matt Palmer (a 30-year-old rookie) for the second coming of Cy Young, Palmer allowed only 1 run on 3 hits in just over 6 innings. The Yankees were only able to score in the 1st and 9th innings.
Not only is Sabathia struggling, but fellow expensive free agent Mark Teixeira has gotten off to a horrendous start this season, with a batting average of less than .200 currently. A.J. Burnett, another high priced free agent, has been unspectacular as well. In fact, the only recently signed free agent who has been performing well for the Yankees this season is Nick Swisher…as pointed out in the Big League Stew blog on Yahoo. I guess it really is true that money can’t always buy happiness.
The Yankees really need to get themselves togther. After Sunday’s game against the Angels, the Yankees will face the Red Sox, the Rays, the Orioles, and the Blue Jays.They are 3 games behind the Blue Jays right now, but could drop significantly in the standings if they have rough outings vs. Boston, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and Toronto.
A.J. Burnett didn’t have a great night, but it was good enough, thanks to Melky Cabrera’s tie-breaking single in the 8th inning, leading the Yankees to a 7-4 win over the Angels. Maybe Cabrera has won his job back with the way he has been playing lately.
Good to see Robinson Cano extend his hitting streak to 17 games. I hope he keeps up the good work!
At least one of my teams is doing (relatively) well!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
More A-Rod (or is it A-Roid?) drama — According to a report in the New York Daily News, Selena Roberts’ upcoming book claims that Alex Rodriguez not only used steroids when he was with the Rangers from 2001-2003, but he also allegedly used them after he joined the Yankees. The book also claims that he used them as far back as high school, according to a high school teammate. The article in the Daily News says A-Rod is portrayed in the book as “a needy personality who wanted his ego stroked constantly.” I don’t know about the claims of additional steroids use, but A-Rod certainly does seem like someone who needs constant ego-stroking.
While I wouldn’t be surprised if A-Rod did use steroids in high school, I can’t help but wonder about the former teammate who made that claim. Perhaps a bit of jealousy may be involved in that claim…and/or maybe some money too?
The drama just never seems to end with Alex Rodriguez……