Each and every year at the beginning of the season, fans and media take stock in how rosters are designed. Debates will rage on how this team or that team has improved or regressed on the field, while some will gauge value in terms of the salaries that a club opens with.
But, a larger, and in some ways, more important look at salaries occurs at the end of the year. Just before the Holidays, MLB releases the final payrolls for each of the 30 clubs that encompasses the 40 man roster, and other costs that factor into a figure that is measured against the Competitive Balance Tax threshold, or as itâ€™s more commonly known as the Luxury Tax.
This past year was significant in that for the first time ever, final payrolls exceeded $3 billion. To place that in perspective, when accounting for inflation in the last decade, MLB final payrolls have increased 7%. The final player payrolls can also show changes in mid-season strategy. As an example, the Miami Marlins 2012 Opening Day payroll was $128,078,000. After clearing house over the course of the season their final player payroll for the 40-man roster was $89,875,132, a drop of24%.
When you start to pull more than one-yearâ€™s worth of data together, you get some eye-popping numbers.
- From 1999 to 2012, clubs have spent a total of $33,942,203,596 on final payrolls. The Yankees account for 7% of that.
- Since the sale of the Texas Rangers from Tom Hicks to the current ownership group, final player payroll has increased 69%, thus showing the power that television revenues can offer.
- In 2004 the Brewers had final player payroll just under $30 million. In 2012, they were just under $100 million.
Thereâ€™s moreâ€¦ lotâ€™s more. In fact, since I began collecting data, it has become an incredible wash of data. Much of it I will sift through and provide over the coming days, but before then, I want to give baseball researchers a late Holiday gift.
While itâ€™s taking me years to collect the data, and due to that, Iâ€™m not going to provide the data sheet that took many hours to collect, I am going to give away all the data from 1999 to 2012 in the form of an image view.Â Those hearty enough to extract the data from within, please be kind enough to cite. This has more data and is done in a view more forgiving for those looking to get data by club rather than year that I have presented here.
Happy New Year.
SELECT READ MORE TO SEE FINAL PLAYER PAYROLL DATA FROM 1999-2012
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Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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