Exclusive Wins/Salaries: Frugal Pirates 1st to 50 Wins

Exclusive Wins/Salaries: Frugal Pirates 1st to 50 Wins

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
Pittsburgh  50 30 26.4 $66,289,524 $1,239,984
Oakland  47 35 22.8 $68,577,000 $1,521,781
Tampa Bay  42 39 18.1 $57,030,272 $1,574,987
Atlanta  47 34 23.1 $89,288,193 $1,932,227
Houston  30 51 6.1 $24,328,538 $1,992,509
Baltimore  46 36 21.8 $91,793,333 $2,130,366
Cleveland  43 38 19.1 $82,517,300 $2,159,573
San Diego  40 41 16.1 $71,689,900 $2,225,703
St. Louis  49 31 25.4 $116,702,085 $2,268,924
Colorado  41 41 16.8 $75,449,071 $2,271,878
Arizona  42 38 18.4 $90,158,500 $2,419,713
Cincinnati  46 35 22.1 $110,565,728 $2,500,921
Minnesota  36 41 13.3 $75,562,500 $2,703,463
Texas  47 34 23.1 $127,197,575 $2,752,598
Kansas City  37 41 14.0 $80,491,725 $2,770,213
Boston  49 34 24.5 $158,967,286 $3,322,301
Washington  40 40 16.4 $112,431,770 $3,385,479
Toronto  40 40 16.4 $118,244,039 $3,560,495
Detroit  43 36 19.7 $149,046,844 $3,690,446
Seattle  35 46 11.1 $84,295,952 $3,795,405
New York Mets  33 44 10.3 $88,877,033 $4,107,343
Miami  28 51 4.7 $39,621,900 $4,115,397
Chicago Cubs  34 45 10.7 $104,150,726 $4,748,906
San Francisco  38 42 14.4 $142,180,333 $4,875,869
Los Angeles Angels  38 43 14.1 $142,165,250 $5,039,534
Milwaukee  32 47 8.7 $91,003,366 $5,103,874
Philadelphia  39 43 14.8 $159,578,214 $5,457,713
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

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