As Spring Training gets under way we take a look at the teams and how much money they are paying out in payroll this season. Unless a major trade comes along, salaries are likely to remain near the figures listed. This season the average payroll for the league is $81.3 million when all team payrolls are combined and averaged out. So without further ado here are the teams and their current payrolls.
1. Montgomery - $136 million (AL)
Leading the way in payroll and having spent a full $25 million more than Helena, Montgomery is out to prove that you can indeed buy a World Series Championship. Montgomery is projected by many to be the favorite to win not only the American League but the World Series. If this team fails to make the World Series it will be viewed as nothing short of failure.
2. Helena - $111 million (AL)
Helena may not have spent the amount of money that Montgomery has this season but they are in no way thinking that they won’t represent the American League in the World Series as they are lead by their own $20 million man Robert Robinson. Many are picking Montgomery to represent the American League but don’t overlook Helena. If this team does not have a deep playoff run, it will be viewed as a failure. One would think a division title would be sewn up with this kind of cash but the next team has something to say about that.
3. Vancouver - $106 million (AL)
Vancouver comes in third on payroll this season and interesting enough is in the same division as Helena. While Vancouver may not sport a $20 million man, they are lead by $15 million man Leon Haynes. Another team that is looking for a deep playoff run and failure to do so may lead to the failure label being placed on them.
4. Salem – $101 million (AL)
Salem comes in fourth on payroll this season and interesting enough is in the same division as Helena and Vancouver. Seems that if you are not spending at least $100 million, you don’t have hopes of winning the division this season. Lead by $20 million man Miguel Alou the team traded for Kurt Westmoreland in hopes of boosting their playoff chances. The AL West may not be the best division in Double Day but it’s certainly spending the most.
5. Montreal – 99.6 million (AL)
Montreal rounds out the AL dominance on payrolls for this season. After finishing a disappointing third last season Montreal looks to be competitive and possibly make a playoff run. With a salary this high one would be surprised if the team nucleus will be kept together if another disappointing season ensues in Montreal.
6. Tucson - $98.5 million (NL)
Tucson is the first National League team. Lead by $20 million man Erick Shannon, Tucson has high hopes of making the World Series this season. Most consider them to have a great shot of representing the National League in the World Series but one wonders if $35.5 million tied up in 2 pitchers leaves them enough cash to put together a suitable offense.
7. Jacksonville - $96 million (AL)
Jacksonville comes in tied for sixth on our list and is lead by $20 million man Oswald Navarro. Jacksonville has hopes for a deep post season run but in the American League that could prove to be a tough task. The team has $52.3 million tied up in 3 players so one has to wonder if there is enough cash left to put a supporting cast around them.
8. Salt Lake - $96 million (AL)
Salt Lake comes in tied for sixth on our list and has no players making over $7 million this season. Another team that has hopes for a deep run in the play offs it will be interesting to see if the spread the cash theory works out better than the pay a few players big bucks theory.
9. Austin - $93 million (NL)
Austin comes in eighth, and only the second National League team, on our list and has no players making over $9 million this season. Austin hopes to win their division and make a deep run in the post season and hopefully representing the National League in the World Series. The team has gone for the spread the cash around theory as they look for their 7th consecutive division title.
10. Pittsburgh - $88 million (NL)
The defending World Series Champions come in at a most ninth on our list. While it is hard to question success, one wonders if the $88 million they have spent this far will be enough for them to make a deep run in the play offs and possibly capture their second title. The defending champs can’t be over looked in their quest to win their second World Series title.
11. Louisville - $87 million (NL)
Louisville comes in at tenth on the list with hopes of climbing out of the divisional cellar this season. Since being sold the team has never made the play offs and the once feared winner of 5 of the league’s first 6 World Series Titles looks to give their fans something to once again cheer about.
12. Columbus - $86 million (NL)
Columbus comes in at eleventh as the National League shows a difference in philosophies are far as spending goes. Columbus is another team hoping to climb out of the divisional cellar but being in the same division as Pittsburg is never a good thing.
13. Detroit - $85 million (NL)
Detroit made the playoffs last season and is hoping that the extra cash spent this season will lead to them winning the division for the first time and going places in the playoffs. The team certainly has spent the most of any team in its division and it will be interesting to see if they can do better than their consecutive second place finishes in the division.
14. Honolulu - $82 million (NL)
Honolulu looks to defend their division title against Tucson while spending about $17 million less than Tucson. One would normally question this kind of thinking but when you have won the division title the last 2 seasons there is little room to doubt the chances of them making it 3 seasons in a row.
15. Monterrey - $80.5 million (NL)
Monterrey tries to regroup after finishing 2nd in the division again and missing out on the playoffs. Can they be the team to de-throne Austin? Only time will tell but as of now I would say another 2nd place finish is in their future.
16. El Paso - $80 million (NL)
El Paso’s biggest claim to fame is not finishing any higher than 3rd in the division since Season 5 and has never made the play offs. With new ownership coming in this season, the fans are hopeful that if the playoffs are not in their future then at least signs of life are.
17. Cleveland - $77.5 million (NL)
Cleveland looks to win their 5th consecutive division title and won a World Series Title two seasons ago. While some would scoff at their payroll, you can’t argue with the success that ownership has had there.
18. Baltimore - $73.5 million (AL)
Whew we were starting to wonder what had happened to the rest of the American League teams. Baltimore looks to improve on its third place finish in the division this season though winning the division looks to be a tough task. Baltimore has $35 million tied up in 2 players so there may not be enough cash left to put together a solid supporting cash to improve on their 72 win total of last season.
19. Chicago - $73.5 million (NL)
Chicago had high hopes of resigning Albert Wall evaporated when the slugger moved onto Montgomery. While most would consider this a huge blow, for Chicago it may not be so bad and allow the team to rebuild. The team over the last 3 seasons has dropped from 2nd place, to 3rd place, to 4th place in their division. The team looks to climb out of the divisional cellar this season but losing a bat like Wall may make it difficult.
20. Norfolk - $73 million (AL)
Norfolk has a modest payroll that should allow them to be competitive but one wonders if they will have enough to challenge for the divisional title this season. Last season new ownership guided the team to a 2nd place finish in the division though the team only won 73 games.
21. Las Vegas - $71 million (AL)
Las Vegas missed out on running a $100 million payroll like the rest of the teams in the division. While the team has never won a divisional title under current ownership it has improved in the divisional standings each of the last 3 years so is this the year they win the division? Not likely but they could show that a modest payroll can compete.
22. Kansas City - $66 million (AL)
Kansas City ran a modest payroll last season and won 102 games, takes care of the need a huge payroll to make the play offs theory. One wonders though if the team can repeat that kind of success with $18.5 million tied up in 1 player. The team has a lot of young, cheap players to fill out the roster so it should be interesting to see what happens.
23. Huntington - $65.6 million (AL)
Huntington finished third in the division last season and with their modest payroll may be able to finish second this season but a division title this season looks doubtful given they are in the same division as Montgomery.
24. St. Louis - $63.5 million (NL)
St. Louis continues to shed salary as they try and work their way out of the basement. The team has a mixture of veterans as well as some talented youth on the team. Pitching will be the key to see if the team can make any noise this season.
25. Boston - $59 million (NL)
Boston looks to finish above third place for the first time under their current ownership. The team may not finish above third place this season but should get a nice pick out of this year’s draft.
26. Seattle - $57 million (AL)
Seattle won the American League last season and in the off season made the decision to lower payroll after winning over 100 games. Not often an owner does that but it is hard to envision one of the lowest payrolls in the world winning their division again this season let alone going to the World Series.
27. Durham - $51 million (AL)
Durham has the honor of being the team with the fourth lowest payroll this season. After only winning 60 games last season the team may be in place to win a few more but another cellar finish may also be in their future this season as well as a good draft pick next season.
28. Portland - $50.5 million (NL)
Portland rings in with the 5th lowest payroll in the league. The team managed to climb out of the cellar last season to 3rd place and looks to continue their rise in the divisional standings but a limited payroll may hamper those efforts this season.
29. Hartford - $47 million (NL)
Hartford rings in with the 4th lowest payroll in the league. After looking like a contender before Free Agency began ownership decided to go a different direction and had a fire sale on the team moving long time players Kurt Westmoreland and Lefty Moore. The fans can only hope that the team can be competitive in a few seasons.
30. San Juan - $37 million (AL)
San Juan rings in with the 3rd lowest payroll in the league. After a second place finish last season the team will be hard pressed to repeat that kind of success. The team is primed to finish with a poor record and garner a high draft pick next season.
31. Philadelphia - $29.5 million (AL)
Philadelphia rings in with the 2nd lowest payroll in the league. Ownership has continued its trend of lowering salary and building up the farm system. While the team is pretty much assured a last place finish in its division it should also have a Top 5 draft pick in next seasons draft.
32. Iowa - $19 million (NL)
Iowa wins the lowest payroll in the league award as they have one of the lowest, if not the lowest, payrolls in world history. After coming in third place last season it would appear that Iowa is on pace to finish last in the division and has a legitimate shot at having the top overall draft pick. The team is chalked full of young and cheap players but should be fairly competitive.