MLB Playoff race and payroll differences

MLB payroll playoffs
As the last week of the regular season draws to an end for the MLB, I think its a unique chance for us to look at what teams still see the light at the end of the "post season tunnel" and how the teams stack up against eachother.

Its easy to look at records and stats and say which team is better, but which team is truly the best? According to salaries provided by CBS Sportsline prior to the 2008 season, its remarkable to see which teams rank where in terms of total payroll.

2008 Team Payrolls
No. Team Payroll Average
1. New York Yankees $209,081,579 $6,744,567
2. Detroit Tigers $138,685,197 $4,622,840
3. New York Mets $138,293,378 $4,609,779
4. Boston Red Sox $133,440,037 $4,765,716
5. Chicago White Sox $121,152,667 $4,487,136
6. Los Angeles Angels $119,216,333 $4,110,908
7. Chicago Cubs $118,595,833 $4,392,438
8. Los Angeles Dodgers $118,536,038 $4,233,430
9. Seattle Mariners $117,993,982 $4,538,230
10. Atlanta Braves $102,424,018 $3,414,134
11. St. Louis Cardinals $100,624,450 $3,049,226
12. Toronto Blue Jays $98,641,957 $3,522,927
13. Philadelphia Phillies $98,269,881 $3,388,617
14. Houston Astros $88,930,415 $3,293,719
15. Milwaukee Brewers $81,004,167 $2,793,247
16. Cleveland Indians $78,970,067 $3,037,310
17. San Francisco Giants $76,904,500 $2,651,879
18. Cincinnati Reds $74,277,695 $2,971,108
19. San Diego Padres $73,677,617 $2,376,697
20. Colorado Rockies $68,655,500 $2,640,596
21. Texas Rangers $68,239,551 $2,353,088
22. Baltimore Orioles $67,196,248 $2,099,883
23. Arizona Diamondbacks $66,202,713 $2,364,383
24. Minnesota Twins $62,182,767 $2,487,311
25. Kansas City Royals $58,245,500 $2,240,212
26. Washington Nationals $54,961,000 $1,895,207
27. Pittsburgh Pirates $49,365,283 $1,898,665
28. Oakland Athletics $47,967,126 $1,713,112
29. Tampa Bay Rays $43,820,598 $1,460,687
30. Florida Marlins $21,836,500 $661,712

Now, here is a table of the possible playoff teams as of Sept. 22. The teams are in order of best record in MLB.

TEAM                       P. RANK    PAYROLL(Millions)    MLB RANK    WINS    LOSSES
LA Angels&#
160;                     6              $119.20                    1             96        59
Chi. Cubs                      7              $118.50                    2             94        60
T.B. Rays                     29              $43.80                      3             92        62
Bos. Red Sox                 4              $133.40                    4              91        64
Phi. Phillies                 13              $98.20                      5             88        68
Chi. White Sox              7              $121.10                    6              86        69
NY Mets                        3              $138.60                    6              86        69
Mil. Brewers                15              $81.00                      8             85        71
Min. Twins                   24              $62.10                    10             84        72
Hou. Astros                 14              $88.90                     12            82        73
LA Dodgers                   8               $118.50                   13            81        75
Ari. Diamondbacks      23               $66.20                    15             78        77

What is really amazing is the varying payroll rank differences between
the teams competing. Six of the teams rank in the top 10 in MLB. The
most amazing team in this respect is the Tampa Bay Rays. With a payroll
of $43.8M, they have 1/3 the payroll of the LA Angels who currently are
the best in baseball. What's more amazing is that the Rays are in the
same AL East division as The NY Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, numbers
one and four in payroll rank respectivly.

If this post season race has shown us anything it's two things.

1. Yes, money may buy you a better team and with that success. BUT,
2. It can't buy you a playoff spot.

As the little guy teams like the Rays, Brewers, Twins and Dbacks make their playoff push, you have to admire the talent that has brought them to this point. What's even more impressive is that when you look at each team's payroll and break it down to the individual players, its really only a few guys that generate the massive bucks.

Its the little guys (monetarily wise) that are making waves. How would things change is MLB had a salary cap? Does the revenue sharing really make a differene? Doesn't matter at this point – the little guys look like they could win it all. 

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