Friday, January 23, 2009

80 million minus 50 million equals 30 million

I imagine Ted Lerner is pretty good about money. You don't end up sitting on a wallet with 4 billion pictures of George Washington through dumb luck.

So I may be being a bit presumptuous when I offer the equation in the post title.

The 80 million refers to the absolute, top limit, can't go any higher payroll figure for the ahem Milwaukee Brewers. That's the metro area that is 38th in size in the U.S. with a little over 1.5 million potential customers, By way of contrast, the Wash. DC market is 8th in potential customers with over 5.3 million.  Furthermore, the Washington market boasts a median household income 18th overall at 43,681.  Milwaukee by contrast is 53rd at 32,447.

So a baseball club, albeit one coming off a playoff appearance, the first one since Cal Ripken STARTED his consecutive games streak, with a population base 350% smaller and 130% poorer has a payroll that is 160% higher than the one in Washington.  Hmmmmm.

Where exactly is this disparity going?  Buying mediocre FA's for long terms would be a great way to waste this advantage.  But what else could you buy?

The largest international bonus ever was handed out this summer to a 16 year old kid from the Dominican.  $4.5 million.  Teddy could afford SIX of them without crossing the Brewers payroll limit.  Not one, not two but SIX (rounding to an even $5 million just to make sure they win the bid).

Dayan Viciedo, who just missed Keith Law's recent Top 100 prospects list just got a whopping 4 year $10 million deal from the White Sox.  The Nats could afford THREE Viciedo's just this year.

Maybe he stuffing the $30 million under the couch cushions waiting for Yu Darvish to be posted. It'll be a few years guys.

Look this is Washington DC.  If there is one town that knows how to spend money it's this one.  Ask any bureaucrat . . . spend every penny of your budget or it'll get cut.  Even if you can't use 500,000 binder clips just get it spent.  Hopefully, it will get spent smarter than government bureaucrats do . . . in fact there should be tremendous opportunity's out there for a team with cash to spend. 

Get creative.  Look to basketball where smart teams take on black hole contracts in exchange for an asset.  Is there a team out there that would surrender a top prospect to rid itself of say $15 to $20 million in payroll?  I don't know but I am willing to bet there is. 

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