ESPN reports that only the Yankees and the Mets are projected to exceed the luxury tax barrier this year. The Yankees will break $150M befoe the start of the season. That translates into a $6M average given a 25-man roster (though injured Jon Lieber is also included in the total payroll). Their tax payroll will be $182M (i.e., including everyone on the 40-man roster), which translates into a $11.4 tax hit according to ESPN.
The next four teams are as follows:
The only other team projected over the $117 million threshold is the Mets ($122 million), who would pay $875,000 based on a tax rate of 17.5 percent. Texas is third at $113 million, followed by Los Angeles ($109 million) and Boston ($105 million).
Note that none of those four teams made the playoffs last year.
Of course, there were the typical Yankee-bashing comments interspersed:
"It would be like you driving a Yugo, and me racing in a Ferrari,'' said Adam Piatt when asked to compare the small market teams chances against the Yankee juggernaut.
"Things like that are out of our control,'' Boston manager Grady Little said. "What we try to control out on the field is to make ourselves the best we can be.'' [Note that the Red Sox are fifth in payroll and that they still have failed to make the playoffs since 1999.]
"What a club with a mid to smaller payroll has to do is to get very good performances out of its less-experienced players,'' Angels general manager Bill Stoneman said. "Clubs like the Yankees can and will outspend their mistakes.''
You mean mistakes like signing the sub-par Darin Erstad to $32 M, 4-year contract? By the way, Yankee Alfonzo Soriano in his second year had an OPS 31% better than league average while making just $630K last year. How's that for getting a good performance out of a less-experienced (read, "cheaper") player?
The article ends with one of the least-intended ironic statements that you'll ever read:
Dusty Baker, who left the Giants to manage the Cubs, said the only way for some teams to get higher payrolls is to succeed.
"I'm here to win and winning fills the stands,'' he said "In the long run if you end up winning, winning means more licensing, memorabilia, apparel, attitude of the town, hotels and restaurants. The better we start and the longer we play well, I think the Tribune Co. will spend some more money if we need to get a couple of players.''