This is sort of a split-off from this post
but it could equally be a splinter from any one of hundreds of threads I've seen in the Cafe in the last few years. The topic has been discussed ad nauseum. But thinking about it, I don't see the real harm that cheap clubs create. Sure, it's easy to say, "the owners need to do something with all the revenue-sharing money they're getting" and, "why should you side with billionaire* owners" but, at the end of the day, who is really doing more to disrupt league balance?
The median 2008 MLB payroll is about $80MM
and the mean was $89.8MM with a standard deviation of $36.6MM.
The actual results don't always follow payroll, of course. There's stars who are underpaid because they're still pre-free agency and role players who are overpaid because they were stars a few years ago. And obviously the Yankees missed the playoffs while the Marlins were actually pretty competitive and in the race until the last six or so weeks.
But the question still is out there: given more or less even scouting, player development, etc., etc., to use Joel Sherman's
words, what is, "more detrimental to baseball": a team that sets its payroll at some number a couple of STD DEV's below the mean or a team that sets its payroll four STD DEV's above it? My base rationality tells me that if you have a super cheapskate owner, the end result is you've effectively subtracted a team out of your league for competition. Maybe other teams in their division have some inflated records that give them an edge in the wild card race, but that's about the extent of the damage to competition. If, however, you have a super-high spending team you would be damaging the competitive nature of the sport by severely limiting the probabilities of success to the league-average teams?
There are additional factors to consider such as a highly successful franchise would generate interest in the league that visits, but I would have to think that the number of times that they would generate more money by their visits would be outweighed by the dampened interest in all the other games where the fans don't attend because they don't see a reasonably likely road to success.
So what say people? Who is, "more detrimental to baseball": cheapies or spendies?
Random nugget to throw out there that may or may not be relevant: compare how wildly popular the NFL has gotten and the steep appreciation of their franchises which could be related to nearly (sorry Lions fans) every franchise starting out the season with the thought that they have the chance to be competitive.
* although I think only a few of the owners are actually billionaires; I think Pohlad is the wealthiest owner of a franchise and his net worth just cracks the billionaire mark at $1.8bn.
0-3 to 4-3. Worst choke in the history of baseball. Enough said.