Welcome to October and Playoff Baseball!
Going into the postseason, it would be very easy to simply look at the teams that currently have momentum, maturity, and managerial prowess to get them through the postseason. Here at Swing Badder we look at the fourth M.
The rest of it doesn’t matter. You can pretend that it does, but you would be wrong. Winners win and they pay big money to do so. Let’s get started and break down the Wild Card so that you can go into your office, stand on your desk, and loudly talk about baseball as if you are an expert, with no one else knowing that you get all your information from the SB.
Tampa Bay vs. Cleveland
The Tampa Bay Rays never want to win. They consistently have a below average payroll and this year is no exception. Coming in at a paltry $102 million, they rank 25th in the league according to the Spotrac MLB Cash Tracker. I’m honestly surprised that no one in Tampa has sued the team for hoarding all the sweet cash instead of spending it on players. Corey Kluber is their highest paid player and he isn’t even bringing in 8 figures. (Kevin Kiermaier is on the disabled list at $12 million).
The only team they possibly have a chance of beating is Cleveland who somehow managed to invoke the intercession of several religious deities to be named later and squeaked in to the playoffs while managing to pay their team $85,972,492. By the way, if you add the budget of the movie “Major League” to the total box office take of that movie… it equals the exact same amount. Jose Ramirez is making 25% of the entire payroll so I would anticipate the Rays will most likely hit everything away from third base and walk him every time he is at bat.
I’m still blown away by the fact that the payroll of the Guardians is the budget + box office of Major League. This team has some weird mojo going for it. I’m going with Jobu.
Swing Badder Picks: Cleveland
Seattle vs. Toronto
Seattle is betting big on Robbie Ray at the top of their payroll to get them out of the Wilcard. At $128 million, one wonders if the self esteem issues the team has at being the 22nd ranked salary is going to have an impact. The Pacific Northwest is beautiful and it’s getting close to salmon season, which means inevitably the Mariners are going to be swimming upstream in this series.
Toronto had an impressive season, paying their team $190 million. What’s really impressive is that the $190 million isn’t in Canadian dollars. It’s real money. Springer in centerfield is taking home a cool $28 million and Kevin Gausman is the leading pitcher at $21 million. Toronto is going for the gusto this season, most likely to drive revenue to prove that they deserve a new stadium.
I can’t argue with Canadians outspending Americans 2 to 1. I would expect Toronto to book early flights to Houston and win this series, given that the roster is made up of the sons of the former Montreal Expos who have returned like cursed ghosts to remind everyone that baseball stadiums can serve poutine.
Swing Badder Picks: Toronto
Philadelphia vs. St. Louis
Philadelphia has cheesesteak and the fourth highest payroll in the major leagues. You can’t even blame it on a state tax, either. They just decided to shell out $250 million this year and exactly zero of that went to Gritty. I know he is the mascot of the Flyers but Chase Utley needs a job. Scooping up New York Mets leftovers faster than the Dodgers and Nationals, Zack Wheeler joined the lovable Bryce Harper at $26 million to top off the payroll. Philly shows a real passion for winning, shelling out $20 million to Nick Castellanos and his (checks notes) -0.01 WAR.
St. Louis on the other hand is carrying an above average $171 million which when averaged out for cost of living compared to Philadelphia is about the same. The Cardinals tend to make smart roster moves as they are still rewarding Adam Wainwright for striking out Beltran 16 years ago to the tune of $17.5 million. This team is also carrying Yadier Molina who they are paying $10 million to (and one would assume they have thrown in prosthetic knees as well). Albert Pujols is serving up excitement along with youngster Paul Goldschmidt who at 34 years old is pulling in $26 million.
If you add up the ages of all the St. Louis players you actually get their payroll.
Swing Badder Picks: St. Louis
San Diego vs. New York Mets
San Diego is still reeling from the loss of Fernando Tatis Jr who wanted to prove that budgets aren’t the only things that are inflated in baseball. Manny Machado tops out a $228 million payroll at $30 million. It’s a respectable number considering they are paying Eric Hosmer $19,753,846 to play somewhere else. Luke Voit is taking his unbuttoned, 2 sizes too small jersey to another team as well, but the Padres are paying him $3,533,520. San Diego is beautiful and the weather is nice. I’m told, however, that the original meaning of the name of the city is lost to time. We may never know what it really means.
The Mets are the only team that wants to win any more. Their team is taking home $278,616,394. On the way home they have to pay state taxes. Then they have to stop and pay city taxes. Then they have to stop over by the Rockaways and get some cannoli, pick up Pauli and…. by the time they get home the team payroll is more like Cleveland’s. The Mets broke the bank to pay Scherzer his $43 million. Then broke it again to pay Lindor his $34 million. Then they kept breaking it. The average contract is for 1.8 years at $24,950,263. That’s a dedication to winning.
If the Mets don’t win this series then it may be the end of capitalism as we know it. If money can’t buy a wild card series win then what is it good for?
Swing Badder Picks: New York Mets
There you have it! We will be back for the Division Series. Badder on!