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Are the Marlins the biggest overachievers of all time?


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September 20, 2006

The Ledger Domain

Are the Marlins the Biggest Overachievers of All Time?

 

 

 

by Maury Brown

 

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There's always a reason games aren't played on paper. For one, it would make for pretty boring television. But to my way of thinking, perhaps the biggest reason may be that it keeps those of us who chronicle and analyze the games on our toes. While the Tigers have garnered a lot of attention this season due to their quick turnaround, you have to be fascinated with the Florida Marlins. Anibal Sanchez's no-hitter on September 6th certainly brought more attention to the club, but long before that, one had to look at the standings, the make-up of the team, and that Opening Day player payroll figure that was just under $15 million and say, "I never saw this coming."

 

This isn't just a case of the people at BP or ESPN missing on their analysis as the season began. Short of Nostradamus or the diehard delusional Marlin fan I dare say few saw this type of performance by the Marlins coming.

 

Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel contacted me for a column he was writing and asked where the Marlins stood as far as the size of their payroll, and what would happen if they made the payoffs. I said that I hadn't looked yet at total team payroll figures, but I was pretty sure that there had never been a case of a club with a lower payroll in comparison to the highest that had ever done so much with so little. As I said to Mike, "If the Marlins make the playoffs, it's the biggest story in baseball."

 

So, after the call, I went looking at player payrolls, which I have back to 1976. I wasn't going to be able to look at, say, some of Connie Mack's clubs, but given prior research, payroll disparity has grown during this time, not decreased.

 

To place this in perspective, consider the following: 53 of the 59 players who showed up for the Marlins Spring Training camp this season had played at least part of last season in the minors. The Marlins dropped their Opening Day payroll $45,410,334, from $60,408,834 in 2005 to $14,998,500 in 2006; that's a 75.17% drop. The Yankees' Opening Day payroll of $194,663,079 was 1298% higher than the player payroll for Marlins on Opening Day. The last time the Marlins had an Open Day payroll close to this low was 1999, when it was $14,650,000. The Devil Rays had the second-lowest Opening Day payroll at the start of this season at $35,417,967, which is still 236% higher than the Fish.

 

Since 1976, there has only been one season that came close to this disparity: 1982, when the league-leading Angels had a payroll of $10,917,284, and the Twins had the lowest payroll of $947,380, which made the Angels' payroll 1152% higher than the Twins'. The Twins finished with an abysmal record of 60-102 (.370), while the California Angels won the old AL West and finished with the third-best regular season record in the league at 93-69 (.574).

 

But have the Marlins really been the biggest overachievers of all-time, or at least the last 30 years? The answer appears to be yes. Using the BP Postseason Odds Report, and applying Doug Pappas' Marginal Payroll/Marginal Wins, we can see how much bang for the buck the Marlins are getting by comparison to the Yankees.

 

 

 

.........................Opening Day ..Marginal ....Marginal ...Cost per

Club ....Proj.-W ..Proj.-L..Payroll ....Payroll .....Wins ....Maginal Win

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yankees .98.4 ...63.6 .$194,663,079 .$185,180,079 ..49.8 ...$3,718,475.48

Marlins ...79.8 ....82.2 ..$14,998,500 ...$5,515,500 ..31.2 .....$176,778.85

In other words, the Yankees are spending 2003% more per marginal win than the Marlins, or more than 20 times more per Marginal Win. The Yankees will say it's worth it if they get into the postseason and win it all, and in the New York market with the revenues that go with it, it may be that it's hard to argue that matter. Still, the question that could be asked is, "Are the Marlins the new Moneyball club?" Well?

 

As the season starts to come to a close, it seems that barring a late charge by the Marlins, they will miss the post-season. As of this morning, they have less than a 1% chance of making it. Nevertheless, one has to tip your hat to GM Admin Beinfest and to Joe Girardi, who easily gets my nod for NL Manager of the Year. Beyond the off-field staff in the Marlins organization, it is the players that we should marvel at. Clearly, they are the ones that deserve to be applauded the most for achieving so much at such high levels so quickly.

 

The larger question may be, "Will this become a trend?" I doubt it. It seems that there is a better than good chance that the total percentage of net local revenue will get bumped up from 34% in the next CBA, which means that clubs should be spending more given the increased revenue sharing. Certainly Ted Rogers and the Blue Jays have said they will in 2007, and others will most likely do the same.

 

Will the Marlins increase player payroll? Will they see if they spend a bit more they have a chance to make the post season? Maybe.

 

What if--and this is a big if-?a payroll floor were instituted in MLB? It is no secret that both the MLBPA and some of the higher-revenue owners have been concerned about the poorer owners pocketing revenue-sharing dollars, as opposed to using them on their player payrolls. A floor would be one method of forcing clubs to not field an entire roster that was made up of low-cost players. The flip side to the salary floor is that it's halfway to a ceiling. Management has tried to get a salary floor negotiated in the past, but the union has seen it as unfavorable. If one were instituted, it could well be that this Marlins team would be the all-time overachievers. It's something to ponder this offseason as a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is hammered out. Until then, here's to hoping that those that can watch the Marlins--on television, the internet, in person, or otherwise--do so. They are simply amazing, whether they make the playoffs or not.

 

Maury Brown is an author of Baseball Prospectus.

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Like Eddie K has been saying for a couple months now, this is the biggest story ever in baseball. No team has ever done so much with so little. This goes to show that the talent levels on this team is absurdly awesome. When players like Smoltz says that the Marlins pitching staff looks like the Braves of the early 90's is saying something.

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Nevertheless, one has to tip your hat to GM Admin Beinfest and to Joe Girardi, who easily gets my nod for NL Manager of the Year.

 

Obviosly he's not watching the Marlins day-in and day-out, or he might have a different take on Joe G.

 

That's funny! Of course you know that everyone in baseball who DOES watch day-in-and-day-out thinks Girardi deserves nmanager of the year.

 

Or maybe you don't know much at all, which seems equally likely.

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Nevertheless, one has to tip your hat to GM Admin Beinfest and to Joe Girardi, who easily gets my nod for NL Manager of the Year.

 

Obviosly he's not watching the Marlins day-in and day-out, or he might have a different take on Joe G.

 

That's funny! Of course you know that everyone in baseball who DOES watch day-in-and-day-out thinks Girardi deserves nmanager of the year.

 

Or maybe you don't know much at all, which seems equally likely.

 

I'm just a fan dude, maybe I don't, but his decisions sometimes make me, just a regular fella, wince and scratch my head. And they usually don't work out. But I am just a fan. :whistle

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Nevertheless, one has to tip your hat to GM Admin Beinfest and to Joe Girardi, who easily gets my nod for NL Manager of the Year.

 

Obviosly he's not watching the Marlins day-in and day-out, or he might have a different take on Joe G.

 

That's funny! Of course you know that everyone in baseball who DOES watch day-in-and-day-out thinks Girardi deserves nmanager of the year.

 

Or maybe you don't know much at all, which seems equally likely.

 

I'm just a fan dude, maybe I don't, but his decisions sometimes make me, just a regular fella, wince and scratch my head. And they usually don't work out. But I am just a fan. :whistle

 

They usually don't work out ? This was a predicted 100 loss team playing near .500 ball. Sounds like something he has done has worked out pretty well. And it's well known that the younger the team, the more impact the manager has.

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They usually don't work out ? This was a predicted 100 loss team playing near .500 ball. Sounds like something he has done has worked out pretty well. And it's well known that the younger the team, the more impact the manager has.

 

 

Bro, he's not had experience, and don't lump me with Joe haters. Its not like that. I just feel it was a bad experiment for all around. A man with at least one season of game-management should have been brought in. Joe is goning to be a great manager, but that is after more experience.

 

That's why Freddi would have been the better choice, now lets see if they can get him.

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The problem with most haters is that they only wince and scratch their head AFTER a loss.

 

 

Grabbing for straws after a loss and looking for a culprit.

 

lol

 

look man, usually i got your back here...but joe has made some terrible choices in games we won too...so thats not my issue...the issue is that he himself has gotten certain guys(martinez, johnson) hurt by his choices, he has made awful substitutions that make less sense than avanced algebra taught to me in japanese...while most of the national media views this as a disaster, i see this as loria showing his dedication to winning...something that with joe's previous choices, we had idled at

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  • 2 months later...

The problem with most haters is that they only wince and scratch their head AFTER a loss.

 

 

Grabbing for straws after a loss and looking for a culprit.

 

lol

look man, usually i got your back here...but joe has made some terrible choices in games we won too...so thats not my issue...the issue is that he himself has gotten certain guys(martinez, johnson) hurt by his choices, he has made awful substitutions that make less sense than avanced algebra taught to me in japanese...while most of the national media views this as a disaster, i see this as loria showing his dedication to winning...something that with joe's previous choices, we had idled at

 

Martinez pitched like 10 innings. And it was Joe's fault he got injured? Nah. Blaming a manager because a player gets injured is grasping for reasons to bash a guy, especially this one. Blame the player for this one for not being in shape. Or blame the medical staff for not catching a defect in that player. Or both.

I had no problem with Joe as a manager. He was a rookie and made some rookie mistakes. No biggie because he did learn from them. I didn't like bringing Joe in for one reason. He was the choice of only one person in the orginazation. That being the person with the biggest vote. Joe deserves MOY. Period. He lost his job here because he couldn't get along with his bosses, not because of what he accomplished or players that got hurt under his reign.

I wanted Freddi last year. When it was obvious Joe was gone I wanted Freddi hired again this year. Because he was the choice of almost everyone in the FO and I have respect for what the FO has done in the past. Hopefully Loria has learned his lesson and lets the people he hired do their jobs. I believe he has.

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I wanted Freddi last year. When it was obvious Joe was gone I wanted Freddi hired again this year. Because he was the choice of almost everyone in the FO and I have respect for what the FO has done in the past. Hopefully Loria has learned his lesson and lets the people he hired do their jobs. I believe he has.

actually, the FO wanted someone else, but Loria went against there wishes and got "his guy", Joe Girardi

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The problem with most haters is that they only wince and scratch their head AFTER a loss.

 

 

Grabbing for straws after a loss and looking for a culprit.

 

lol

look man, usually i got your back here...but joe has made some terrible choices in games we won too...so thats not my issue...the issue is that he himself has gotten certain guys(martinez, johnson) hurt by his choices, he has made awful substitutions that make less sense than avanced algebra taught to me in japanese...while most of the national media views this as a disaster, i see this as loria showing his dedication to winning...something that with joe's previous choices, we had idled at

 

Martinez pitched like 10 innings. And it was Joe's fault he got injured? Nah. Blaming a manager because a player gets injured is grasping for reasons to bash a guy, especially this one. Blame the player for this one for not being in shape. Or blame the medical staff for not catching a defect in that player. Or both.

I had no problem with Joe as a manager. He was a rookie and made some rookie mistakes. No biggie because he did learn from them. I didn't like bringing Joe in for one reason. He was the choice of only one person in the orginazation. That being the person with the biggest vote. Joe deserves MOY. Period. He lost his job here because he couldn't get along with his bosses, not because of what he accomplished or players that got hurt under his reign.

I wanted Freddi last year. When it was obvious Joe was gone I wanted Freddi hired again this year. Because he was the choice of almost everyone in the FO and I have respect for what the FO has done in the past. Hopefully Loria has learned his lesson and lets the people he hired do their jobs. I believe he has.

uh...martinez was severely overworked in the early season...which i believe led to his injury...and JG also contributed to getting JJ hurt at the end of the year...he doesnt handle pitchers very well at all...and yes, granted he was a rookie...but i didnt see the other 15+ rookies on this squad having that be an excuse of under performance...fact is...he isnt a good in game manager...and since that is a very important aspect in the national league game...ill take anyone else who looks like they have some semblance of an idea of what they are doing...

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Its a bit silly that this thread got bumped (i hope everyone is aware that this thread was started in September).

 

 

The only reality is that some posters like Girardi and some posters dont.

 

 

My opinion is that Girardi winning BOTH Manager of the Year titles carries a lot of weight. Some people disagree and believe that their analysis of his in game management is superior to that of Girardi's peers and the Baseball Writers.

 

 

 

It is what it is. And more importantly, its in the PAST. Personally, Im looking forward to 2007 Marlins baseball (particularly the FO doing SOMETHING/ANYTHING to improve this ballclub. As of yet they have not only not filled the gaping hole in CF nor have they addressed the bottom feeder bullpen which was the biggest component that killed our playoff hopes last year.)

 

 

Im looking forward to having Fredi Gonzales in the dugout in 2007 as well. You won't hear me crying about why he brought in Player A to pitch when Player B was warming up in the bullpen etc etc. In my world, the impact of a baseball manager on the game is greatly overrated by the common baseball fan.

 

Baseball players win baseball games. They make big pitches in the 9th, they get that crucial bunt down to advance the runner in a tight game, and they make (or don't make) the catches that we expect them to make.

 

 

87 days till we play the Canes in the opener. Go Marlins.

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I wanted Freddi last year. When it was obvious Joe was gone I wanted Freddi hired again this year. Because he was the choice of almost everyone in the FO and I have respect for what the FO has done in the past. Hopefully Loria has learned his lesson and lets the people he hired do their jobs. I believe he has.

actually, the FO wanted someone else, but Loria went against there wishes and got "his guy", Joe Girardi

 

actually, Beinfest ALWAYS wanted Fredi.

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I wanted Freddi last year. When it was obvious Joe was gone I wanted Freddi hired again this year. Because he was the choice of almost everyone in the FO and I have respect for what the FO has done in the past. Hopefully Loria has learned his lesson and lets the people he hired do their jobs. I believe he has.

actually, the FO wanted someone else, but Loria went against there wishes and got "his guy", Joe Girardi

 

That's what I said.

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The problem with most haters is that they only wince and scratch their head AFTER a loss.

 

 

Grabbing for straws after a loss and looking for a culprit.

 

lol

look man, usually i got your back here...but joe has made some terrible choices in games we won too...so thats not my issue...the issue is that he himself has gotten certain guys(martinez, johnson) hurt by his choices, he has made awful substitutions that make less sense than avanced algebra taught to me in japanese...while most of the national media views this as a disaster, i see this as loria showing his dedication to winning...something that with joe's previous choices, we had idled at

 

Martinez pitched like 10 innings. And it was Joe's fault he got injured? Nah. Blaming a manager because a player gets injured is grasping for reasons to bash a guy, especially this one. Blame the player for this one for not being in shape. Or blame the medical staff for not catching a defect in that player. Or both.

I had no problem with Joe as a manager. He was a rookie and made some rookie mistakes. No biggie because he did learn from them. I didn't like bringing Joe in for one reason. He was the choice of only one person in the orginazation. That being the person with the biggest vote. Joe deserves MOY. Period. He lost his job here because he couldn't get along with his bosses, not because of what he accomplished or players that got hurt under his reign.

I wanted Freddi last year. When it was obvious Joe was gone I wanted Freddi hired again this year. Because he was the choice of almost everyone in the FO and I have respect for what the FO has done in the past. Hopefully Loria has learned his lesson and lets the people he hired do their jobs. I believe he has.

uh...martinez was severely overworked in the early season...which i believe led to his injury...and JG also contributed to getting JJ hurt at the end of the year...he doesnt handle pitchers very well at all...and yes, granted he was a rookie...but i didnt see the other 15+ rookies on this squad having that be an excuse of under performance...fact is...he isnt a good in game manager...and since that is a very important aspect in the national league game...ill take anyone else who looks like they have some semblance of an idea of what they are doing...

 

Are we talking Carlos Martinez? Young kid from the DR? If so then according to his profile page he pitched a total of 10.1 innings. 8 in April and 2.1 in May.

I have no problem with Joe being gone, as I have stated. I welcome Freddi. That was my choice last year. Well, actually him or Lou. But we all knew the chances of getting Lou in here last year was about as good as getting him in this year. None. No chance.

Joe made mistakes last year for sure. But I was cutting him some slack because he was a rookie. As was most of his staff. I didn't whine, cry, and point fingers at them just like I didn't do any of the above about any of the rookie players. When you are talking rookies, fecal matter occurs.

Last year there were times when I was asking myself just exactly what is he thinking. But the there were times I asked myself the same question about Bobby Cox in games vs us. Or any manager for that matter. Not comparing Girardi with them person to person. Just illustrating that all managers make mistakes. And that rookie managers and coaching staffs coupled with a mostly rookie team are going to make more than most teams. If anybody didn't realize that going into last season they were trying to look at the up coming season in teal colored glasses with the wrong persription lenses.

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