Early June 2003
Moneyball I thought Iíd check teams bank accounts and compare them with number of victories thru May. As a disclaimer, this analysis does not purport to control for all the numbers but I hope it will be of interest. There are 7 teams playing .600 or better. Virginia shrewdly invested $42 mil to get 34 wins and Greenville paid just a little more for its 34. All the other contenders paid $4-5 mil more for just about same number of wins. Toontown does have best record and 3 more wins, but they are at a $7 mil premium. Perhaps the most embarrassing are Rivendell and Abilene, both of which emptied their checkbooks to play .500 ball. Candidates for Peter Angelos Award. Maybe they just havenít had time to program HAL or SuperHAL.
I estimated that on average, BW teams spent $39 mil on salaries. If the average team has won 27.5 games, this translates to $1.4 mil per win.
Besides the 2 underachievers already mentioned, what about Port Richey?† It should have $25 mil in the bank but has only $18 mil. An extra $7 mil down a hole for the worst record. Cam Bonifay Award candidate. Other teams of interest include LaFontaine Park. It spent $35 mil for 29 wins and comes out better than average at $1.2 mil per win. The most frugal franchise, Silver, has not necessarily come out ahead as it has still paid $1.5 m/w. Is that thrifty or just plain cheap?† Bud Selig Award candidate.† Compare to Portland below.
†Portland has played almost .500 ball and has had a payroll of $25 mil; thatís less than a million per win and he gets to roll for an interesting team all year. In the same division, yet another cutting edge GM has paid just about $1 mil per winóthatís San Bernadino. Still again in the Ruth, Toontown has paid $1.3 mil per win.† Plum Island is about average at $1.5 m/win. Bringing up the rear? Thought Iíd be too embarrassed to mention it? Yes, Williamsburg and Gotham City are among the unwashed overpaying at $1.6 and $1.7 m/win. I have not gone through all the divisions but I fear I could be in the most competitive. Maybe itís time to propose a rule that divisions get realigned every year according to how bad a GM you are. J
So, as of now, two candidates for the unofficial Billy Beane Award: Portland and Virginia. Beware making trades with these guys; theyíre smart and they could just be hustling you.