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How Much Does Money Matter in Baseball?

How Much Does Money Matter in Baseball?
Adele Halsall
Writer and expert9 months ago
View Adele Halsall's profile

Baseball season is now well underway, so we thought what better time to ask how much money really matters when it comes to success.

We’ve compiled each team’s wins from the past decade, along with their total team payroll over the same period, to see which teams are spending less per win and getting the most bang for their buck.

Here are the results...

Houston Astros are getting the best value for their money

The Houston Astros come out on top when it comes to the proportion of wins to spend, with a total score of 48.5 in our ranking.

The Astros have one of the most impressive recent records in baseball — they’ve won five divisional championships, two world championships, and four pennants over the past 10 years, meaning their total $1.41 billion payroll has been more than worth it.

Second place goes to Tampa Bay Rays, whose team payroll of $707 million is the lowest of all the teams.

This turns out to have been a pretty sweet deal — in this time, the Rays have secured two divisional championships, two pennants, two wild card berths, and made the playoffs four times.

Cleveland Guardians take third spot, with a relatively modest team payroll of $929 million. But they’ve made this budget go far, scoring four divisional championship wins, one pennant, one wild card berth, and four playoff appearances.

Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Dodgers round out the top five, showing that a high team payroll doesn’t always lead to the biggest wins.

While Royals have the ninth lowest collective salary (just less than $1.1 billion), they still boast a World Championship win, along with one divisional, two pennants, and one wild card berth.

The Dodgers are also big winners — one world championship, eight divisional wins, three pennants, and one wild card. But this came with a heftier payroll of $2.23 billion — the highest payroll of all teams.

Looking at which teams are performing best for their team spend per division, we found:

  • American West Division — Houston Astros ($1.41 billion over last 10 years)
  • American East Division — Tampa Bay Rays ($707 million over last 10 years)
  • American Central Division — Cleveland Guardians ($929 million over last 10 years)
  • National West Division — Los Angeles Dodgers ($2.23 billion over last 10 years)
  • National East Division — Atlanta Braves ($1.32 billion over last 10 years)
  • National Central Division — Pittsburgh Pirates ($725 million over last 10 years)

New York Yankees have the most expensive stadium

But maybe it’s not all about team payroll. Other factors could be at play. One we were interested in was whether home stadium expense had an impact on team performance?

To work out which team has the most expensive stadium, we gathered the building costs of each team’s home stadium and adjusted for inflation.

Unsurprisingly, the Yankees have the most expensive stadium, coming in at a whopping $3,235,911,754. Though Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, it still cost an eye-watering $2.3 billion back then.

In second place come the Toronto Blue Jays, whose stadium the Rogers Center cost $1,387,471,936 to build.

The stadium boasts a 348-room hotel attached to it, from which 70 lucky guests can see the field from the comfort of their own rooms. So even though the Blue Jays only rank 23rd in our value-for-money ranking, at least they’re doing it in style.

Third place goes to the Texas Rangers and their stadium Globe Life Field, which cost $1,282,861,798 to build.

The New York Mets and Washington Nationals round out the top five, with their stadiums Citi Field and Nationals Park costing $1,266,226,339 and $971,525,469 respectively.

Take Home Message

Though money often talks in professional sport, it's not the only thing that contributes to on-pitch success.

Teamwork, leadership, and hard work can still take teams a long way, which is great news for teams with smaller budgets.

No matter who you’re backing this baseball season, be sure to stay fueled with one of our premium protein bundles, or treat yourself to some new workout accessories to get into the sporting spirit.

Methodology

We analyzed all 30 teams’ wins over the last 10 years, before applying a weighted score to each type of win (World Championship = 4 points; pennant wins = 3 points; Divisional Championship = 2 points; wild card berths = 1 point; playoff appearance = 0.5 point).

We also gathered collective payroll data for each team over the same period and applied a ranked score, with lower payrolls receiving a higher score. This was combined with each team’s win score to get their final total score. We then ranked these in descending order to find the teams getting the most value for their money.

Stadium build costs were obtained from the relevant stadium websites and Wikipedia, before being converted into 2023 dollars for comparison.

Data sources:

Divisional championship wins, world championship wins, pennant wins, and wild card berths: https://en.wikipedia.org Playoff appearances: https://champsorchumps.us/ Team payrolls: https://www.thebaseballcube.com/ & https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/payroll/ Stadium costs: https://en.wikipedia.org Inflation calculator: https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation

Adele Halsall
Writer and expert
View Adele Halsall's profile
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