*All statistics compiled May 19th, 2014
If you’ve spoken to me recently, you’ve almost certainly heard me discuss Moneyball by Michael Lewis.
The Brad Pitt movie is based on this work of genius. It may not have the shining stardom of Pitt or Jonah Hill, but what the book does provide, is a new light of looking at baseball. Even though it was published twelve years ago, it is still very relevant due to the fact that its lessons are still ignored in today’s game, as they were back when Barry Zito and Scott Hatteburg were lighting it up for the Oakland A’s.
One particularly intriguing element that Lewis introduced to me in the book was the concept that at the end of the day, teams were paying millions of dollars for all the wins they would seek in a given season. There is a price-tag for everything, you cannot earn something for nothing.
All day long, baseball fans analyze a wide range of statistics for every player, from the lead-off man to the most obscure relieving pitcher, either in an effort to explain what went wrong in a loss, or who we should all applaud for a victory. But as it has been mentioned on this site recently, the general manager of baseball teams is often most responsible for creating the team you see nearly every night at 7:10pm.
For this piece, I will evaluate the effectiveness of GMs so far in the 2014 season. Something about the Reds just doesn’t satisfy the eye test, and I’m on a mission to find out why. I loved the 15-inning classic last night as much as the next Reds fan, but that one win doesn’t erase the 12 other games that Cincinnati has lost this season by just a single run, or really any of them for that matter.
So what exactly have teams paid to earn the precious wins they’ve come across so far this year? Who are the teams that are getting the most bang for their buck? What teams should potentially look to redirect funds?
WHO HAS PAID THE MOST FOR THEIR MLB WINS (As of May 19th, 2014)
1.) Los Angeles Dodgers (shocker, I know!) – $10,230,226.91 per win (23-22, 3rd place in NL West, highest MLB Payroll)
2.) Philadelphia Phillies – $9,476,459.10 per win (19-22, last place in NL East, 3rd-highest MLB Payroll)
4.) Boston Red Sox – $8,140,870.55 per win (20-23, 4th place in AL East, 4th-highest MLB Payroll)
6.) Texas Rangers – $6,477,912.95 per win (21-23, 4th place in AL West #8 MLB Payroll)
7.) Arizona Diamondbacks – $6,260,481.44 per win (18-28, last place in NL West, #11 MLB Payroll)
9.) Chicago Cubs – $5,933,857.13 per win (15-27, last place in NL Central, #23 MLB Payroll)
10.) CINCINNATI REDS – $5,915, 303.79 PER WIN (19*-23, 3rd PLACE IN NL CENTRAL, Only six of 30 teams in Major League Baseball have worse records, #12 MLB PAYROLL)
16.) San Diego Padres – $4,290,199.81 per win (21-24, 4th place in NL West, #21 MLB Payroll)
WHO HAS PAID THE LEAST FOR THEIR MLB WINS (As of May 19th, 2014)
1.) Miami Marlins – $2,068,060.87 per win (23-22, 3rd-place in NL East, second-SMALLEST MLB Payroll)
4.) Oakland A’s – $2,978,621.43 per win (28-16, 1st-place in AL West, 5th-smallest MLB Payroll)
5.) Colorado Rockies – $3,833,282.84 per win (25-20, 2nd-place in NL East, 14th-smallest MLB Payroll)
6.) Milwaukee Brewers -$3,846,103.93 per win (27-17, 1st-place in NL Central, 15th-smallest MLB Payroll)
As you can see, the Cincinnati Reds have grossly overpaid the talent they currently have. With only six teams having a worse record at the time of data compilation, one can easily see the MLB’s 12th-ranked payroll is being mismanaged. The Reds are in the bottom-third of monetary efficiency (only nine teams have paid more for their wins this season), while the Brewers, A’s, Rockies, Marlins, Padres, Mariners, Twins, Royals, White Sox, Braves, Cardinals, and Orioles have all won more games than Cincinnati with less money. The Mets and Indians have also matched the Reds win total so far this season, despite having the #22 and #26 payrolls respectively.
What does all of this mean? It means either money doesn’t matter in baseball, or the Reds are severely being mismanaged. Holders of the 12th-largest MLB payroll, Reds fans had better hope that money matters in baseball, and I still, of course, believe that it ultimately makes a huge difference.
That means the Reds have been pretty inefficient from a business standpoint. Just as my colleague Matt Niehaus has stated in a recent article, if you want someone to blame for this nightmare season, blame Jocketty. He’s the veteran, Price is still learning from the crash course Jocketty put him on in 2014. His actions this season are unfortunately the greatest catalyst for the Reds’ lack of success.