There are a lot of ways to break down the success of a season, or lack thereof. You can look at playoff status, you can compare to the previous year or years, you can compare to your division or league. I am guessing while owners look at each of these factors, the overriding concern is the bottom line. I think it comes down to two questions: Did we make money or at worst, break even? And; Did we invest our money wisely into the product on the field? Given the invisibility of most of the information needed, the first answer can not be answered here. In a cursory way the second answer can addressed by comparing payroll to win production.
A few things to keep in mind, there is a demonstrated correlation between payroll and attendance as you will see. The Reds finished the year with the 10th highest attendance in the National League after starting the year with the 10th highest payroll. Not every team fits this perfectly into the mold, but it is predictive. The saddest example is the Tampa Bay Rays who began with the 31st highest payroll and finished 3oth in attendance in spite of making the playoffs on the last day of the season in arguably the toughest division.
|New York Yankees||$201,689,030||3653680||97||$2,079,268.00|
|Boston Red Sox||$161,407,476||3054001||90||$1,793,416.00|
|Los Angeles Angels||$138,998,524||3166321||86||$1,616,261.00|
|Chicago White Sox||$129,285,539||2001117||79||$1,636,525.00|
|New York Mets||$120,147,310||2352596||77||$1,560,354.00|
|San Francisco Giants||$118,216,833||3387303||86||$1,374,614.00|
|St. Louis Cardinals||$105,433,572||3093954||90||$1,171,484.00|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||$103,788,990||2935139||82||$1,265,719.00|
|Toronto Blue Jays||$62,517,800||1818103||81||$771,824.00|
|San Diego Padres||$45,869,140||2143018||71||$646,044.00|
|Tampa Bay Rays||$41,932,171||1529188||91||$460,793.00|
|Kansas City Royals||$36,126,400||1724450||71||$508,822.00|
When you observe the NL Central standings from this perspective they change a bit.
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Cincinnati Reds
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Houston Astros
- Chicago Cubs
This helps explain the need to find a new General Manager in Chicago when you realize they spent more per win than even the Phillies did in recording the third highest cost per win in all of baseball, trailing only the foolishness in the AL East between the Red Sox and the Yankees. John Fay estimated that the Reds will spend around $85 million next year but as you can see that may not even change their ranking on this chart as they would not pass a single team if none of them decrease their payrolls.
Another fascinating side note is the fact that 3 of the 8 playoff teams in 2011 actually dropped in attendance from 2010 to 2011. The Rays lost 335,814 in attendance this year while St. Louis lost 207,264 and the Yankees attendance dropped 112,127. this is in spite of the slight increase in attendance across the Majors of just 186 per game.
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