Friday, May 9, 2008

Gutter: Cheapskate update - 5/9

Oh man, the Cheapskate teams are really heating up now.

I mean, for spending next to nothing (in baseball terms, at least), the four teams in the running for the first-ever Cheapskate Award are putting on quite a show. The Marlins and the Athletics have been at or near the top of their respective divisions all season, so there’s not much new there, but all four teams are currently out of the basement; and beyond that, they’re all playing pretty well right now.

After dropping out of the top spot in the NL East for a day or two, the Marlins have been on a tear, winning four in a row to stay in first in the division. They need it, too, since the Braves, who are 1.5 games back, have won six straight.

The Athletics also regained the top spot in their division, winning four in a row to tie the Angels for leads in the AL West. Even the Pirates have put together a little streak, sweeping the worse-than-the-Pirates San Francisco Giants to put a firm hold on fifth place in the NL Central and climb back to only four games under .500.

Only the Rays have been struggling lately, losing four of the last six but doing just enough to stay above .500 and hold on to second place in the AL East.

Not surprisingly, all of this winning has had a positive impact on the teams’ cost-per-win. Everyone’s cost is down in this update, including the Pirates who finally got under that $700,000 mark. Oakland is below $500,000 again, while the Rays keep getting closer to the half-a-mill mark. Florida, of course, with its yard sale salary, continues to be a tremendous bargain. Getting a guy like Hanley Ramirez early in his career will do that for you.

The weekend series for the Cheapskate teams should be interesting. Florida gets a chance to stay hot with a road trip to the nation’s capital for a showdown with the 15-20 (that’s worse than the Pirates) Nationals. Oakland stays in the division with a three-game tilt at 16-20 Texas. The Rays get a chance to help the A’s in the standings with a home series against the Angels. And the Pirates host red-hot Atlanta for four games, which should effectively end Pittsburgh’s current three-game winning streak and any chance the Pirates have of eclipsing the .500 mark.

Now on to the Cheapskate standings. Remember, we’re recognizing the team who spends the least per win, in essence rewarding value-based mediocrity.

Just to refresh, here are the numbers we’re working with.

Total salaries (according to this list published by the Associated Press):

Pittsburgh $49,365,283
Oakland $47,967,126
Tampa Bay $43,820,598
Florida $21,836,500

Cost per game:

Pittsburgh $304,723.97
Oakland $296,093.37
Tamp Bay $270,497.52
Florida $134,793.21

Record: 20-14
Standing: 1st in NL East
Games back: 0
Money spent per win: $229,148. 46

Record: 22-14
Standing: T-1st in AL West
Games back: 0
Money spent per win: $484,516.42

Record: 18-16
Standing: 2nd in AL East
Games back: 3.5
Money spent per win: $510,939.76

Record: 15-19
Standing: 5th in NL Central
Games back: 6
Money spent per win: $690,707.67

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