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Once again, A's expected to have one of lowest payrolls in the American League

Lew Wolff and Billy Beane deserve props for winning division titles on a small budget in Oakland.
Lew Wolff and Billy Beane deserve props for winning division titles on a small budget in Oakland.
Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

For anyone who follows major-league baseball, this should come as no surprise:

The Oakland Athletics will have one of the lowest payrolls in the American League for the start of the 2014 season.


According to, the A's will have an Opening Day payroll of approximately $79.1 million, a total higher in the AL than only the lowly Houston Astros ($48.1M) and the always-contending Tampa Bay Rays ($71.8M).

The Cleveland Indians are projected to be just above Oakland with a $79.7M payroll to start the 2014 season.

(While it's noteworthy to point out that the Rays, the A's and the Indians all made the postseason last year, the little tidbit also deserves the addendum that none of the small-payroll clubs made it to the AL Championship Series.)

The five highest payrolls in the American League for 2014 belong to the New York Yankees ($195.5M), the Detroit Tigers ($161.1M), the Boston Red Sox ($154.6M), the Los Angeles Angels ($148.9M) and the Toronto Blue Jays ($134.8M).

Obviously, the Red Sox and the Tigers were in the ALCS last year, while the Yankees, the Angels and the Blue Jays all missed the postseason.

(By the way, the AL West-contending Texas Rangers are projected to have the sixth-highest payroll in the AL at $130.9M for 2014.)

In the National League, it's a comparable story: the top-five payrolls in the Senior Circuit include the Los Angeles Dodgers ($216.8M), the Philadelphia Phillies ($174M), the San Francisco Giants ($154.9M), the Washington Senators ($130.8M) and the St. Louis Cardinals ($109M).

The bottom three includes the Miami Marlins ($42M), the Pittsburgh Pirates ($70M) and the Chicago Cubs ($84.5M).

The Dodgers and the Cardinals made the NLCS in 2013, while the Phillies, Giants and Senators did not make the playoffs. Likewise, the Pirates -- just like the A's and the Rays -- lost to a much more expensive team in the divisional round of the postseason.

As noted last fall, money doesn't guarantee wins, but winning costs money. It was 2008 when Tampa Bay made the Fall Classic, and it was 2003 when the Marlins won the World Series. Those are sad benchmarks for small-payroll teams like the Rays, the Pirates and the A's, because you can't win it all these days without spending a lot of money.

So while fans in S.F. may whine about the Dodgers' payroll, it reeks of laughable hypocrisy -- especially when the fans in Oakland have a chip on their shoulders when it comes to the New World Order of MLB.

Sure, the A's will continue doing what they do so well -- spending less per win than most teams in the majors, but unless baseball joins the 21st century and gets a salary cap in place like the three other major sports leagues in North American, Oakland probably won't be hosting any championship parades down Broadway in 2014.

(And that really sucks.)

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