Yankees' A-Rod Makes More Than an Entire Team
It is salary chaos in Major League Baseball. This is not about skyrocketing salaries, it's about the emergence of such incredible examples of disparity.
It goes way beyond the usual Oakland A's-New York Yankees comparisons. The most glaring example: The Houston Astros.
As the team moves into the American League West, it's in re-building mode. As it re-shapes the roster, it's been cutting costs. Those two things, as concepts, are relatively common among the large swath of middle-market MLB franchises.
What is striking is the degree of cost-cutting.
Right now, the team payroll is projected to be $25 million. That's by far the lowest in the game, and compared to the $213 million L.A. Dodgers, it's minuscule.
But that's not all.
Some of that $25 million is committed to players no longer on the roster. For instance, the team reportedly owes Wandy Rodriguez $5 million, even though he plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Factor that into the equation, and the actual team payroll hovers around $20 million.
Put it this way, nearly two dozen INDIVIDUALS make that much in Major League Baseball.
A few names who make more than the Astros opening-day roster: The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez brings in $29 million (more on him later), Johan Santana of the New York Mets makes $25.5 million and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee is paid $25 million.
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It is even more embarrassing when you consider Forbes just assessed the franchise's value at $626 million and stated that the team ISN'T losing money.
They're making millions and are worth hundreds of millions, yet they spend next to nothing. It sounds horrible for fans, yet the league says that it trusts what the ownership and management are doing.
Now, let's compare the Astros payroll to the Yankees disabled list. That's another good one.
Right now, five stars are injured: Alex Rodriguez ($29 million), Mark Texeira ($22.5 million), Derek Jeter ($17 million), Curtis Granderson ($15 million) and Phil Hughes ($7 million).
Add that together and you get $90.5 million—or at least three versions of the Houston Astros.
If you compare the $90.5 million to league-wide projected 2013 payrolls, the injured Yankees make more than the payrolls of more than half the teams in baseball.
Here are a few other examples of salary insanity in baseball. The Dodgers went from $95 million to $213 million in one year.
The Miami Marlins went the other way, from about $120 million last season to $45 million this year. They built up the roster in advance of moving into a new stadium, but when the season went poorly, management dumped payroll.
Of course, $45 million is still more than double what the Astros are spending.
The Houston Astros are moving into the American League West. An earlier version of this story said it was the American League East.
—By CNBC's Brian Shactman; Follow him on Twitter: @bshactman