Does payroll matter as much as most think?
By Neil Raymond
Let’s get one thing out of the way, payroll matters and the Miami Marlins should not be bargain hunting instead of spending on the top free agents. I question how much we will spend, but I’d like to point out that Bruce Sherman did spend over $130 million on the team last off-season, so he’s not necessarily “cheap”. I don’t fully trust Kim Ng to do the job right, but I’m holding out hope that we will fix our offense for next season. Let’s look at payrolls and see how much they correlate with winning. Does the Miami Marlins payroll make a big difference?
The Miami Marlins payroll isn’t a good indicator of contention.
I again want to stress that this isn’t an article meant to “defend” Bruce Sherman, or to say that we shouldn’t spend money. The Miami Marlins payroll should be as high as needed to be competitive. You can read more about payrolls here by the way.
Going all the way back to 2011, the Texas Rangers won the AL pennant with the 13’th highest payroll and the St. Louis Cardinals won it all with the 11’th highest payroll. 7 of the teams in the top 10 didn’t even make the playoffs. In 2012, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series with the 8’th highest payroll and the Detroit Tigers won the pennant with the 5’th highest. 5 of the teams in the top 10 didn’t make the playoffs, including the Miami Marlins at #7 with $118 million (just ahead of San Francisco).
In 2013, the Boston Red Sox won it all with the 3’rd highest payroll. Their Fall Classic opponents St. Louis, had the 10’th highest payroll. 6 of the top 10 teams missed the playoffs. In 2014, 5 of the top 10 missed them. The champions San Francisco Giants were #7 and the other pennant winners the Kansas City Royals were #19. In 2015, 7 of the top 10 teams missed the playoffs. The champions Kansas City Royals were #17 and their World Series opponents the New York Mets were #20.
In 2016, 4 of the top 10 missed the playoffs. The champions Chicago Cubs were #6 and their World Series opponents the Cleveland Indians were #23. In 2017, 5 of the top 10 missed them. The champions Houston Astros were #17. Their WS opponents the Los Angeles Dodgers were #1. In 2018, 6 of the top failed to make the playoffs. The champions Boston Red Sox were #1 and their WS opponents Los Angeles Dodgers were #3.
In 2019, 5 of the top 10 teams missed the playoffs including the top 2 teams (Boston and the Chicago Cubs). The champions Washington Nationals were #7 and their WS opponents the Houston Astros were #8. In 2020, 5 of the top 10 was the number again. The champions the Los Angeles Dodgers were #2 and the other pennant winners the Tampa Bay Rays were #27, right below the Miami Marlins. In 2021, 4 of the top 10 missed them. The #12 Atlanta Braves beat the #4 Houston Astros.
If you read this whole essay, thank you 😂. My point is that half or more of the top-spending Tram’s don’t even make the playoffs. The Miami Marlins payroll needs to be competitive but just spending money won’t do it.