If you think the San Francisco Giants are being too stingy with their cash, you may want to re-think your position.
The 2011 final player payroll numbers for Major League Baseball were released this week and, surprisingly, the Giants were one of the biggest spenders in the sport.
Many Giants fans have vocalized their frustration over the team’s lack of spending after the club passed on all the big free agent bats that were available this winter.
But the numbers seem to tell a different story.
San Francisco was one of the more free-wheeling clubs in 2011, raising its payroll from $101.4 million in 2010 to $125.1 million this year, a 23.4% hike and the eighth-highest team payroll in baseball.
Only the Texas Rangers (+39.9%) and the Florida Marlins (+30.9%) saw bigger salary jumps during the same time. (The 2012 figures for the now-Miami Marlins will be even higher in 2012 since the new-look Fish have hooked some pretty expensive free agents this winter.)
Overall, MLB salaries went up 3.02% on average this past year, so you can see that the Giants (fresh off their World Series win) were way ahead of the curve.
Earlier this month, Giants President/CEO Larry Baer said the team would be committed to a 2012 payroll of around $130 million.
If you factor in expected arbitration increases and baseball’s new minimum salary, San Francisco is already at about $133 million right now, an increase of around 6.3%.
Should the Giants come to an agreement on an extension for Matt Cain this spring (as expected) and/or lucrative extensions for any of their other free agent/arbitration-eligible players, that $133 million could potentially escalate to $140 million, which would represent a salary increase of about 12%—or four times the average raise across the sport last year.
At least the Giants weren’t hit with a luxury tax fee.
Only two teams—the New York Yankees ($216 million) and the Boston Red Sox ($174.1 million)—crossed the luxury tax threshold and were levied a fee.
Interestingly, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2011 end-of-the-year salary figures topped $109 million, the 12th-highest payroll in baseball. It’s hard to feel sorry for Dodgers fans who keep complaining about the team being bankrupt.
Not surprisingly, the Kansas City Royals (30th, $44.6 million), San Diego Padres (28th, $45.6 million), Pittsburgh Pirates (27th, $51.8 million), and Oakland A’s (23rd, $70.5 million) sit among the league’s cellar dwellers when it comes to player spending.
Here’s the complete list, courtesy of the Associated Press:Team
2011 Payroll% (+/-)
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