Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Peak: Still some heat in the Cheapskate

I should probably amend that logo that I used on the last Cheapskate update. Instead of showing a roller skate on fire, it should be the Tampa Bay Rays’ logo en fuego, because the Rays are one of the hottest teams in the MLB right now, let alone the Cheapskate standings.

Tampa Bay has the longest current winning streak in the league as winners of six in a row, and that streak of success has vaulted the Rays back into the top spot in the AL East, ahead of the slumping Red Sox.

In the world of the Cheapskate, Tampa Bay’s run has the Rays holding on to second place behind only the very cheap Marlins. And what’s more, the Rays’ cost per win in this update (around $458,000) is the lowest mark achieved by a team other than Florida this season.

Speaking of the Marlins, they’ve hit a bit of a rough stretch, as their seven-game winning streak was snapped by losses in the first two games of a series at pitiful Cincinnati. Florida still sits at the top of the NL East and the Cheapskate, and they get two more shots at the Reds before heading home to host the Royals, so I’m guessing that the Marlins are still in good shape.

Oakland could use another upswing. Sure, the A’s are only .5 game back in the AL West and hanging in third in the Cheapskate, but they’ve gone 5-5 over their last 10. They lost to the Indians in Cleveland last night; after two more games against Chief Wahoo, they’ll be off to Atlanta to face the really-good-at-home Braves. Oakland needs to get on the winning track or they could fall further in the West and the Cheapskate.

And then there’s the flirting-with-.500 Pirates. Winning the opener of Monday’s double-header put the Buccos one game under the magic mark of average-ness, but they dropped the second game. Last night, they rebounded and bounced the Cardinals in St. Louis, and they’re right back to one game under. Pittsburgh is currently 4 games back in the NL Central, but they’ve got a tough stretch coming up; sweeping, or at least taking two-out-of-three from, the Cardinals would go a long way toward establishing some positive momentum.

In the Cheapskate, the Pirates are now just over $100,000 behind the third-place team (in this case, Oakland). This is about as close as the Buccos have gotten to climbing out of the Cheapskate cellar, but a healthy run of winning baseball can push Pittsburgh out of the depths and into contention.

Just to refresh, the Cheapskate rewards the team that is able to spend the least amount of money per win. 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

We’re rewarding value-based mediocrity and the teams that get the most out of spending the least.

Record: 23-16
Standing: 1st in NL East
Games back: 0
Money spent per win: $228,562.40

Record: 23-16
Standing: 1st in AL East
Games back: 0
Money spent per win: $458,669.70

Record: 23-17
Standing: 2nd in AL West
Games back: .5
Money spent per win: $514,944.99

Record: 19-20
Standing: 5th in NL Central
Games back: 4
Money spent per win: $625,486.04

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