OK, Part I we looked at payroll in relation to the rest of the league. Part II, payroll in relation to market size. Now, let’s compare how the Cardinals are doing against their divisional rivals. Because it’s possible to be in the top 5 in baseball and only the top 3 in your division–ask the teams in the AL East how that spending goes for them.
Let’s take a look at the average payrolls for all the NL Central teams over this 13 year span.
So, with this ownership, the Cardinals are outspending everyone in their division. While that doesn’t guarantee titles, obviously, it should indicate a competitiveness and a willingness to win.
Chicago, a much bigger market team, is the only team close to the Cardinals in spending, even though Houston laid out a lot for Roger Clemens for a couple of years. Which then brings up the question–is this a consistent thing with the Cardinals, putting out the money, or are the totals skewed by some outlying years?
Let’s go back to comparing the percentage of total payrolls. I divided the payrolls for that year for each team into the total payrolls in baseball. Let’s take a look:
As you can see, the Cardinals have stayed consistently at the top of the division in payroll. When you look at the spending, it really divides into those that are (St. Louis, Chicago, Houston) and those that aren’t (Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh). Cincinnati was the major spender when this ownership took over, but they quickly dropped into the second division.
So we’ve proven that the Cardinals’ ownership spends in relation to the league, in relation to their market, and in relation to their rivals. Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the years pre-Dewitt for a comparison and wrap it all up. And don’t forget, Friday is the Cardinal Blogger Awards!