I wrote earlier about the Yankees having MLB’s highest payroll at $202 million, but I decided to crunch a few more numbers using USA Today‘s excellent salary database and break spending down by league and division.
American League teams have an average Opening Day payroll of $97.7 million, compared to $88.6 million for National League teams. And not surprisingly, among divisions the AL East has the highest average payroll:
AL East $110.7
NL East $99.9
AL Wes $96.0
AL Central $86.3
NL Central $84.6
NL West $82.0
Even if you take the Yankees out the mix the other four AL East teams are spending an average of $87.6 million, which is higher than the AL Central, NL Central, and NL West.
There’s at least one $100 million team in every division and all but the AL West have multiple $100 million teams. Somewhat surprisingly the AL Central is the only division with three $100 million teams in the White Sox, Twins, and Tigers. And the AL Central is also the only division with two sub-$50 million teams in the Indians and Royals.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.