Yankees’ rival eyes 2024 payroll boost

Tampa Bay Rays players during an MLB game
Esteban Quiñones
Thursday October 12, 2023

Table of Contents

In a report by Manuel Gómez for NJ Advance Media, it appears that the New York Yankees‘ division rival, the Tampa Bay Rays, are contemplating a payroll increase for the upcoming 2024 season. The Rays, known for their ability to remain competitive while operating on a tight budget, might be changing their approach.

What’s the payroll for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2024?

Tampa Bay’s consideration of increasing their payroll stems from their regular season performance in 2023, during which they won 99 games but were subsequently swept in the Wild Card Series by the Texas Rangers. As a result, they are thinking about retaining the same team for the next season, which would necessitate a payroll expansion.

Erik Neander, a baseball operations executive for the Rays, expressed their confidence in this approach, saying, “We have the ability to do that, and that’s a nice starting point to have — 99 wins with contributions from as many players as we did this year, players that established themselves, young players getting their first opportunities. It puts us at a really strong position.”

Despite facing numerous injuries, especially among their pitching staff, and dealing with off-field controversies like the investigation involving shortstop Wander Franco, the Rays managed to finish just two games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East, with an impressive +195 run differential.

To retain the core of their team, it could cost the Rays more than $120 million, marking the first time their payroll would surpass $100 million. Neander emphasized that the option to increase the payroll will be on the table if they believe it’s the best path to winning a World Series.

Comparassion with Yankees payroll

Aaron Judge, player of the new york yankees

In 2023, the New York Yankees spent a staggering $278 million on player salaries. This substantial investment in talent resulted in one of the team’s worst seasons in recent memory. Despite their commitment to spending big in pursuit of success, the Yankees faced numerous challenges that led to an underwhelming performance.

For years, major-market teams have consistently outspent their smaller counterparts to acquire top talent, often with successful results. However, this year, the three highest-spending franchises, including the New York Mets, the Yankees, and the San Diego Padres, all fell short of making the playoffs. Various factors, including injuries, team chemistry issues, and individual performance declines, contributed to their failures.

These setbacks raise questions about the effectiveness of the payroll structure for the Yankees and similar teams. While general managers rely on data analysts to seek every possible statistical advantage for on-field performance, it seems the approach to constructing payrolls hasn’t received the same scrutiny.

Harvard Sports Analysis Collective (HSAC), a group of students and faculty, analyzed the payroll structure of baseball teams between 2011 and 2022. Their findings suggest that teams concentrating their payroll on a few high salaries tend to have poorer winning percentages. The measure they used, the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), ranged from 0.025 (equal pay for all players) to 1.000 (one player receiving the entire payroll). The Yankees, with a relatively high HHI of 0.0784 in 2023, barely managed a winning record, as over half their salary went to a handful of players.

While the HHI metric can’t explain everything, it does offer insights into the balance and resilience of a roster when a superstar is absent. To address this, some teams, like the Atlanta Braves, are moving away from bidding wars for free-agent superstars. Instead, they focus on scouting and developing young talents and signing them to long-term contracts early in their careers, ensuring a more evenly distributed payroll.

This alternative approach appears to be working well for the Braves, who have a lower HHI (0.0611) and the best record in baseball for 2023, according to HSAC’s analysis. While the Yankees may not transform into the Braves overnight, they can benefit from avoiding costly bidding wars and investing more in scouting, development, and young player acquisitions.

The don’t necessarily need to reduce their payroll but rather rethink how they allocate their resources. Leveraging their financial advantage to secure valuable lower-profile players could lead to long-term, sustainable success for both fans and players.

While there hasn’t been any official announcement regarding the Yankees’ offseason spending, recent reports indicate that the team is gearing up for a substantial financial investment. It is estimated that they will allocate approximately $350 million for free-agent signings during the offseason.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Pinstripes Nation!

Your Daily Dose of Yankees Magic Delivered to Your Inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Don't Miss Any of the Latest Yankees News, Rumors, and Exclusive Offers!