Money usually means success, in the long run at least, when you talk about Major League Baseball. With no cap limits, teams that spend more money end up getting the best player, more wins and plenty of times more rings. In the 2012 season, so far, the four highest spending teams – Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Angels, aren’t working according to formula.
How bad is it? Well, the Angels made most of the splash this offseason by signing Albert Pujols, and not just him. So far, the Angels are last in the AL West with a 19-25 record. They’re 26th in the Majors in runs, 24th in OBP and 22nd in slugging. Their pitching is doing a whole lot better. A lot of their payroll is invested in four starting pitchers, including CJ Wilson, accounting for nearly $50 million this season. Their payroll is 4th in the Majors, paying $154.5 in salaries.
Third on the Payroll list are the Boston Red Sox, with $173.2 million in salaries. Their batting is mostly top 5 material, but their pitching is the stuff of nightmares so far, ranked 28th in ERA and 25th in the league in quality stars. They’re last in the AL East, 21-22.
Next are the Philadelphia Phillies, who have taken over the NL East in recent years, but are currently dead last in their division, going 21-23. A lot of their problems revolve around the guys not playing – Both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, who account for $35 million of the team’s $174.5 million payroll, haven’t taken a single at bat this season. They’re 5.5 games behind, so there’s still time to change and turn the tide.
And Last, but not last in their division and first in paying players, are the New York Yankees. First of all, the Yankees are above .500, 22-21, just a place above the Red Sox. They’re 5.5 games behind the Orioles, leading the AL East. Like always, the Yankees problems are with their pitchers – ranked 21st in ERA and 24th in Batting average. Guys like Hiroki Kuroda, getting paid $10 million, are 3-6 so far this season, with a 4.56 ERA.
The Yankees, as always, lead the payrolls with $198 million going out to players. Almost $15 million of that is to Mariano Rivera, who won’t pitch again this season. But we’re still in the first half of the season, and stats do tend to even out in most baseball seasons. Spending more money usually guarantees better results, as long as it’s not recklessly thrown away. For the Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies, I see a brighter future coming in the next few months.
The Angles, as weird as is to say, almost completely rely on Albert Pujols’ ability to step out of his funk and start hitting home runs. Baseball is supposed to be more complicated than that, but sometimes the solution is simple. You need your prize player to start playing like one.