Since it’s been two and a half months since the World Series, I figured maybe I should wrap up the Cheapskate standings sometime before spring practice starts.
To refresh: the Cheapskate recognizes the Major League Baseball team that did the most with the least in the 2008 season. To arrive at that conclusion, we took the four franchises with the lowest team salaries to start the season. At the end of the season, the total salary was divided by the number of wins to determine the money spent per win. The team that spends the least per victory is named winner of the inaugural Cheapskate Award.
A couple caveats:
1. The Cheapskate only deals with the salaries at the start of the season. Salary dumps and All-Star break pickups and other such transactions are not included, mostly because the Cheapskate selection committee is too lazy to do that much research.
2. The Cheapskate selection committee is also too lazy to come up with any sort of equation that determines which team actually won the most games while spending the least. Those calculations would undoubtedly require far more effort than the current equation demands, so we’re sticking with the one we’ve got.
Here are the numbers we’re working with.
Total salaries (according to this list published by the Associated Press):
Tampa Bay $43,820,598
Cost per game:
Tamp Bay $270,497.52
Now then, it’s time to present the first-ever Cheapskate Award. After a long season of sliding by with a blue-light special payroll of $21 million and an average cost per game of just under $260,000, the inaugural Cheapskate goes to…
The Florida Marlins
Congratulations to the Marlins. Nobody knows how to build up and then tear down a franchise like the Marlins. Fact is, Florida was in the race for the NL East for most of the season before falling off behind the far-more financially-endowed Mets and Phillies.
By far the best performer in the Cheapskate running this season were the Tampa Bay Rays. TB beat out the ridiculous spending of New York and Boston to win the AL East and then made it all the way to the World Series before falling to the Phillies. And that was all accomplished with a preseason payroll of $43 million.
Of course, the hook with the Rays was that they were full of very talented young players who were still early in their contracts, thus not costing the franchise an arm and a leg. It’s amazing: if you draft well and develop well, you can have a window of at least a few seasons where your payroll is low and your talent is high.
Pittsburgh, we’re looking at you here. Let’s try to emulate that over the next couple years, eh?
The Marlins and the Rays were the only Cheapskate teams to finish with winning records, as Oakland and Pittsburgh just flat-out sucked. The Athletics won 75 games and finished 24.5 games out of first place in the AL West despite competing for the better part of the first half of the season. The Pirates were never in competition for the NL, and their God-awful trades in 2008 led to a piss-poor 67 wins.
Great job Pirates. Way to show up this year. And for each of those 67 wins, you spent over $700,000. Money well spent, to be sure.
That’s all for us here at the Cheapskate Awards. It’s been an awful season, and now that the Yankees have spent $400 million on three players in the offseason, 2009 looks to be even worse. Maybe the Cheapskate will be back next season. Maybe not. Really, it all depends on whether or not the AP publishes the preseason salaries again.
Standing: 3rd in NL East
Games back: 7.5
Money spent per win: $259,958.33
Standing: 1st in AL East
Games back: 0
Money spent per win: $451,758.74
Standing: 3rd in AL West
Games back: 24.5
Money spent per win: $639, 561.68
Standing: 6th in NL Central
Games back: 30.5
Money spent per win: $736,795. 27