The Pittsburgh Pirates won Saturday to become the first Major League team to win 50 games this season, despite still boasting one of the smallest payrolls in baseball. The Pirates are nudging out Billy Beane and his Oakland A’s in paying only $1.2 million in salary per extra win, while the Los Angeles Dodgers are paying the most at $8 million per extra win this season despite their win Saturday.
Simple math would indicate the Pirates are paying $654,000 per win for their 50-30 record based on just under half of their $66 million salary paid through 80 games. That math would show that the Houston Astros were paying the least per win at just $405,000 for their 30-51 record after paying half of their $24 million through half of the season (81 games).
However, advanced Wins Above Replacement formulas show that a team of leftover Major League players would be about 24-56 at this point of the season; therefore the Astros have created only an extra six wins for their $12 million spent to date, while the Pirates have created more than 26 additional wins for just under $33 million spent to date.
A.J. Ellis came back from an 0-2 count in the ninth inning to single in the Dodgers’ game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday. The 4-3 win pushed the Dodgers just below $8 million per extra win earned this year. They are 37-43 and very much in contention for the NL West having spent over $100 million in salary so far through 80 games – second only to the Yankees.
Unlike in basketball and football, where team salary caps reward teams like the San Antonio Spurs – who lead the league win wins per dollar spent almost every year – the wealthy teams led by the Dodgers and Yankees can spend as much as they want despite the eventual diminishing returns on wins per dollar spent.
|Team||W||L||WAR||2013 Salary||Pace salary/extra win|
|Team of Replacements||23.6||56.4||0.0||NA||NA|
|New York Mets||33||44||10.3||$88,877,033||$4,107,343|
|Los Angeles Angels||38||43||14.1||$142,165,250||$5,039,534|
|New York Yankees||42||38||18.4||$228,995,945||$6,145,892|
|Chicago White Sox||32||46||9.0||$124,065,277||$6,644,620|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||37||43||13.4||$216,302,909||$7,971,362|