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Home Maury Brown Inside MLB End of Year Payrolls - NL Central (1999-10)

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Inside MLB End of Year Payrolls - NL Central (1999-10) PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 30 December 2010 09:52

What is it? Select Read More to find out

As we did for each of the clubs in the AL East and the AL West, we’re continuing our look at each of the Divisions in Major League Baseball by their final player payrolls for each year from 1999 to 2010 Today, we’re looking at the NL Central over the same 12-year period.

See a review of 2010 end of year payroll

See all end of year player payrolls for the 30 clubs from 1999-10

Much like the AL East was a study in the growing gap between the Red Sox and Yankees and the other 3 clubs in the division beginning in 2002 with the Yankees, the NL Central shows how growing revenues and possibly disincentivized low-revenue maker the Pittsburgh Pirates, has seen a growing gap between the highest and lowest end of year payroll

In 1999, the difference between the highest (Astros) and lowest (Pirates) payrolled club was $80,071,420. By 2010, that gap had grown to $98,263,064, an increase of 23 percent. The reason? The Cubs, under the Tribune Co. ownership started spending lavishly on contracts in attempting to win a long-sought World Series before selling off the club, while the Pirates have barely spent at the rate of inflation. The Cubs have seen salary grow 86 percent from 2005 to 2009 before new ownership under Tom Ricketts started to slow the spending. On the other end, the Pirates  have doubled their spending from 1999 to 2010, but here’s the rub: when accounting for inflation, 1999’s $23,682,420 is worth $31,103,148 in today’s dollars. In other words, the Pirates spent about $13 million more last year than they did in 1999, this during a time of unprecedented growth for the league and the development of PNC Park.

The other interesting part of the numbers is watching what’s happened with the Brewers since Mark Attanasio purchased the team from the Selig family. From 2004 when he purchased the club to 2010, player payroll has gone from $29,599,934 to $94,554,209 a staggering increase of 219 percent.

For the NL Central winning Cincinnati Reds, the best thing that can be said is that the club has learned to be more efficient in spending. Yes, the club increased payroll by $9,758,134 from 2009 to 2010, but last year’s end-of-year payroll is almost identical to the 2008 final payroll for the Reds of $82,886,440, with 2010 being $435,100 less while winning 17 more games.

As for the Cardinals, one wonders how the upcoming Albert Pujols contract factors in. The club from St. Louis has slowly dipped payroll over the last 3 years, giving themselves a bit of payroll flexibility.

Finally, the one thing that catches this author’s eye is how the Cubs and Pirates are outliers at opposite ends of the player payroll spectrum. The difference between the #2 (Cardinals) and #5 ranked (Reds) end of year payrolls for 2010 is separated by roughly $16 million.

Below is a graph and supporting data for the NL Central from 1999-2010



NL Central by End of Year Payroll - 1999-10

YEAR Astros Brewers Cardinal Cubs Pirates Reds
1999 $56,389,000 $42,976,575 $46,337,129 $55,419,648 $23,682,420 $38,031,285
2000 $50,145,545 $36,967,613 $69,111,153 $59,480,018 $33,630,256 $42,317,800
2001 $66,443,169 $46,648,723 $76,153,956 $72,896,143 $46,661,290 $43,964,870
2002 $65,412,960 $49,259,130 $76,227,801 $74,950,543 $46,059,984 $46,310,698
2003 $79,946,964 $47,294,226 $101,825,848 $86,576,763 $62,314,723 $65,083,196
2004 $81,903,157 $29,599,934 $92,816,050 $100,653,389 $32,507,271 $46,264,032
2005 $76,186,763 $42,752,833 $87,368,220 $76,598,500 $30,139,200 $49,501,275
2006 $107,659,635 $58,075,937 $96,115,466 $99,021,384 $43,443,685 $63,697,573
2007 $97,213,020 $72,751,641 $99,329,875 $115,943,318 $51,360,907 $73,072,635
2008 $100,189,948 $90,324,347 $109,989,046 $130,508,691 $50,764,410 $82,886,440
2009 $108,059,086 $90,006,172 $102,678,475 $141,632,703 $47,991,132 $72,693,206
2010 $90,119,188 $94,554,209 $98,354,244 $142,410,031 $44,146,967 $82,451,340

All figures published by The Associated Press. Final payrolls for the 30 major league teams, according to information received by clubs from the commissioner's office. Figures are for 40-man rosters and include salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses, earned incentive bonuses, non-cash compensation, buyouts of unexercised options and cash transactions. In some cases, parts of salaries that are deferred are discounted to reflect present-day values.

Maury BrownMaury 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, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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