Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Salary Games

So we are going to play a few compare and contrast games. Compare and contrast the following: Yankees, Red Sox and the Marlins

Payroll at last World Series Win: Marlins at $49 million in 2003; Red Sox $127.3 million in 2004; and the Yankees $114 million in 2000. Although the old chinese proverb, "the Yankees Buy Their Championships" forever will hole true. It doesn't. The Sox, as the evidence shows, spent much more on their championship team than the Yankees (not to mention the fish). Of course, since 2000, the New York payroll has nearly exploded, The Sox payroll has dipped slightly, and the Marlins, well, let's put it this way, I am a poor college student who eats pasta everyday and I think I make more than the Marlins. This year, the Marlins team payroll ($14mill) is less than Manny's $18mill annual check. Schilling at $13mill is close and Tek at $9is right there too. Shame on you Red Sox. With a total payroll of around $120mill for the year, we could buy several Marlins teams. But look. The Yanks (team payroll at over $198mill) have the following players and salaries which out-do or approach the the Marlins team (which has 13 of 23 players making MLB minimum wage) payroll: A-rod ($25.68mill), Jeter ($20.6mill), Giambi ($20.428mill), Mussina ($19mill), Randy Johnson ($15.66mill), Damon ($13mill), Matsui ($13mill), Posada ($12mill), Sheffield ($10.75mill), and Rivara ($10.5mill). Wow.

But why am I so unfairly comparing two top market high-roller teams to the floundering fish, who just traded everyone away for financial reasons? To look at the future (the Marlins was more just for perspective). After this season, the contracts of Nixon, Gonzalez, Foulke, and Wells are up. If Nixon goes to free-agency and Pena shows us a reason to take him over Trot, the Sox shed nearly $23million. After 2007, Schilling, Clement, Lowell and Tavarez are gone: shed another $35.35 million. After 2008, its Manny and Tek: say goodbye to another $30 million. Naturally, this is hypothetical, but in my humble opinion by 2008, Gonzales, Foulke, Wells, Schilling, Clement, Lowell, Tavarez and Manny are off the payroll. Question marks linger with Trot and Tek. If Pena starts playing good ball than Trot is gone, and if we re-sign Tek, it won't be to a long deal given his age. So, basically, by 2008, if Tek and Trot leave, 8 of the 10 top paid Red Sox are gone giving the sox $81 million dollars that they are paying to those 8 players today that will not be spent on them in 2008.

Ortiz will be here in 2008, Beckett will probably sign a big deal (if he can stay healthy) and be here. Wake could retire by then ($4 mill), but maybe not. Tavarez (his $3.35 mill not being included in the $81 mill) will be gone. Loretta could be gone after this year ($3.25 million) as could Timlin and his $3.5 million dollars. Crisp is here for a while, Gonzales will be gone, Snow ($2 mill) will be gone after this year (probably), Seanez and his $1.9 could be gone. So here is what I think our payroll will be reduced by each year.

After 2006: Nixon, Gonzales, Foulke, Wells, Loretta, Snow, Seanez, Riske leave. Total? Around $30.93 million
After 2007: Schilling, Clement, Lowell, Timlin amd Tavarez are gone. Total? Around $38.35 million
After 2008: Manny and Varitek go. Total? Around $30 million

Note: This assumes that Pena replaces Nixon next year - something not at all assured, the 2007 option for Foulke is not picked up and he signs elsewhere, Gonzales signs elsewhere, Wells retires, Snow retires, Seanez and Riske sign elsewhere. Schilling and Timlin retire after 2007, Clement, Lowell and Tavarez go elsewhere, Manny and Tek want too much money/longer contract and hit free agency and command a pretty penny. Other option is Tek signs a short extension,

That is almost $100 million dollars that we won't be paying in 3 years. We'll sign paps, youk, pena? cora, wake and beckett to contracts of various lengths, but will still have plenty on cash to shell out. By the time 2008 is in the books the sox will need a left fielder, 3rd baseman, shortstop, 2nd baseman, catcher, a couple of pitchers and bullpen help. Fill in some of them with some touted prospects (Lester, Hansen, Pedroia and Delcarmen) and we have a relatively small payroll with some big holes, but with money to spend.

Pap, Lester, and Beckett are starters. Choi or an free agent pick-up at first, Pedroia at short or second and a free agent at the other, Youk at 3rd, Coco in center, Pena or free-agent in right, with Hansen closing, and Delcarmen in the pen with possibly Edgar Martinez and some pick-ups. Point is. Expect the Sox to be active (and much younger) in the coming years. We will have money to spend on free agents, and, following the strategy of the Indians, we will lock up our young talent early.

With a strong minor league system (8th in baseball) we have the young depth to ocme up and help, or the trade bait and the money to bring in some big names. However, don't look for another Manny sized contract (amount and duration) because it aint happening.

(PS Willis rumors floating around about him becoming available around mid-year. Schilling, Wake, Beckett, Clemens (I dream) and Willis. Wow. We would have to give up Lester and another, but Willis is 24, you pull that string if you can. Lester Delcarmen and Moss for Willis. I could see it. But then again, this is based on dreams and rumors)

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