In what I would say is a surprise to most Red Sox fans, the Sox no longer are the second-highest paid team in baseball.
Here’s the Top 5 payrolls, courtesy the Globe.
- N.Y. Yankees — $209,081,579
- Detroit — 138,685,197
- New York Mets — 138,293,378
- Boston — 133,440,037
- Chicago White Sox — 121,152,667
Also, consider the bottom five:
- Washington — 54,961,000
- Pittsburgh — 49,365,283
- Oakland — 47,967,126
- Tampa Bay — 43,820,598
- Florida — 21,836,500
What these 10 payrolls tell me is that it remains hypocritical for fans of teams in Detroit, say, or Chicago to complain about the alleged Yankee-Red Sox duopoly. True, the Yankees lead the second-place Tigers by more money than 11 teams’ payrolls, but that hasn’t exactly led to more championships, has it? Yet the Tigers, one of those "poor" teams just a few years ago, are now spending loads of money in their quest for a world title.
Also, it highlights the flagrant abuse of the luxury tax and revenue-sharing system MLB has in place to help small-market teams. The Rays and A’s are exceptions, as they seem to have concrete plans in place. But $21 million for the Marlins? Less than $50 million for Pittsburgh, or less than $55 million for a Nationals team that just opened a new ballpark? Never mind catastrophes like the Twins, Orioles and Rangers, who pay nothing to their players, receive nothing in return, yet (presumably) rake in money that goes nowhere but the pockets of the teams’ ownership.
Owners need to be held accountable for the money they’re receiving from teams like the Red Sox and Yankees. On this, Hank Steinbrenner and I agree. We are seeing an opposite effect from what was intended — rich teams in big markets are spending more and more money, but poor teams in small markets are content with mediocrity in exchange for the free money provided by the rich.