Here are the eight teams that survived the best-of-three opening series to advance to the LDS round, based on payroll:
- New York Yankees—$109.5M
- Los Angeles Dodgers—$105.7M
- Houston Astros—$82.5M
- San Diego Padres—$71.5M
- Atlanta Braves—$63M
- Oakland Athletics—$36.7M
- Miami Marlins—$31.2M
- Tampa Bay Rays—$28.3M
Remember when 9 of the 16 teams to make the playoffs were under the league average ($56.7M)? Well, the equalization of the MLB financial order has begun, as now the majority of the teams remaining are high-payroll squads.
But look at the gap between the Braves and the A’s: It’s more than $26M! That is a tremendous advantage for the high-spending teams. It’s equivalent of the “50 feet of crap” quip from the fictionalized Billy Beane in Moneyball.
Interestingly, as well, all the below-average teams will face above-average teams in the next week, meaning there is the potential for all current low-payroll survivors to be eliminated before the League Championship Series.
Plus, since all teams are playing now at bubble sites, the “home-field” advantage for the higher-seeded teams also disappears: This actually hurts Oakland and Tampa Bay, since they would have been hosting series in their respective stadiums as the only remaining division winners in the American League side.
Who knows how this will turn out after the best-of-five series ahead this week? But the odds are already stacked—even more so than usual—against the low-payroll teams and their respective chances at winning the World Series.