Salary Comparison A’s vs. AL West
It is well known that the A’s are one of the more frugal teams in the American League and in baseball as a whole. Only the two Floridian teams and Houston have lower payrolls than the Athletics of Oakland who currently sit at a “mere” $61,964,500. The Los Angeles Times has an interesting graphic where you can compare teams salaries position by position against one another. It is interesting stuff and worth messing around with if you have some spare time. What was interesting is just seeing how many places the A’s actually have a more expensive position than other teams which at times is surprising but owing to the rules in baseball that suppress young players’ salaries it often happens when one wouldn’t expect it.
For example, the A’s versus the Angels where comparing the ten positions (pitchers aren’t differentiated according to role, plus the designated hitter), the A’s have more expensive players at three of the ten positions: left field, center field and designated hitter. That is largely because the A’s have Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and Seth Smith there while the Angels feature pre-arbitration Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo at those positions, wheras the Angels’ pitchers earn more than the entire A’s team at $63,831,250.
With Texas the A’s again outspend their rivals at three positions: left field (Cespedes beating out David Murphy), center field (Coco trumping the duo of Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry) and first base where Brandon Moss and Nate Freiman trump the salary earned by Mitch Moreland.
Seattle is an interesting foe as the A’s beat them at four positions salary wise. Right field where the combo of Josh Reddick and Chris Young outearn Michael Saunders, shortstop where Jed Lowrie and Hiroyuki Nakajima beat out Brendan Ryan (though the Times has Robert Andino at second base, if you move him to shortstop the A’s still have more payroll there and it would also leave things at second base unchanged too). First base sees the A’s spending more on Moss and Freiman than the M’s spend on Justin Smoak and then the A’s also edge out Seattle at the backstop where John Jaso and Derek Norris earn $289,200 more than Jesus Montero and Kelly Shoppach collectively.
Houston with the lowest payroll in baseball, just north of $26M, make the A’s look like huge spenders with Oakland having a higher payroll at every position except one: first base where Carlos Pena and Brett Wallace, both former A’s themselves, earning more than Moss and Freiman. As it stands right now money clearly doesn’t mean much as the A’s find themselves second in the standings despite being fourth in funding.