Youth Be Served in Baseball

By: Al Hudson-June 17, 2008

It is amazing to me that so many major league owners can be so dumb about building a team. Certainly their ability to make money has never been their downfall. But they seem oblivious to the nuances of owning a franchise.

There are exceptions such as the Florida Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Marlins have the youngest roster and the lowest payroll and a winning record. The Rays are fifth youngest with the second lowest payroll and they have a winning record. The Diamondbacks lead their division with the third youngest team and the twenty third highest payroll. The Los Angeles Angels get an honorable mention. I cannot find a lot of fault with the World Champion Boston Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, or the Chicago Cubs, all are division leaders.

The other end of the spectrum finds the New York Mets with the third highest payroll and the second oldest team. The Houston Astros with the oldest team and the fourteenth highest payroll, and the Detroit Tigers with the number two payroll and the twenty second youngest team. The Mets, Astros and Tigers all have losing records. The pitiful Seattle Mariners are last in the AL West with the ninth highest payroll and the seventh oldest team.

Several teams are threatening to fire their managers, but what about the general managers? They created their monsters. Why aren’t they the ones on the hot seat?

Here is a comparison of salaries of the highest compensated players at their position. I will follow that with a comparison of players less than twenty five years of age and making less than $1 million each. You decide what you would rather have.

C – Jorge Posada – Yankees ($13.1 M), Pudge Rodriguez – Tigers ($12.3 M)

1B – Jason Giambi – Yankees ($23.4 M), Todd Helton – Rockies ($16.6 M)

2B – Jeff Kent – Dodgers ($9 M)

SS – Derek Jeter – Yankees ($21.6 M), Rafael Furcal – Dodgers ($15.7 M)

3B – Alex Rodriguez – Yankees ($28 M), Aramis Ramirez – Cubs ($15.2 M)

OF – Manny Ramirez – Red Sox ($18.9 M), Carlos Beltran – Mets ($18.6 M)

OF – Ichiro Suzuki – Mariners ($17.1 M), Torrii Hunter – Angels ($16.5 M)

OF – Bobby Abreu – Yankees ($16 M), Magglio Ordonez – Tigers ($15.7 M)

SP – Johan Santana – Mets ($16.9 M), Carlos Zambrano – Cubs ($16 M)

SP – Andy Pettitte – Yankees ($16 M), Mike Hampton – Braves ($15.9 M)

SP – Tim Hudson – Braves ($15.5 M), Jason Schmidt – Dodgers ($15.2 M)

RP – Mariano Rivera – Yankees ($15 M), BJ Ryan – Blue Jays ($12.3 M)

RP – Billy Wagner – Mets ($10.5 M), Eric Gagne – Brewers, Frankie Rodriguez – Angels ($10 M each)

Some of these names will be unfamiliar, but rest assured that they are the names of the future. All kids in the world of baseball, but highly respected within their organizations.

C – Brian McCann – Braves, Dioner Navarro – Rays

1B – Prince Fielder – Brewers, Joey Votto – Reds

2B – Howie Kendrick – Angels

SS – Hanley Ramirez – Marlins, Troy Tulowitzki – Rockies

3B – Evan Longoria – Rays, Mark Reynolds – Diamondbacks

OF – Melky Cabrera – Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury – Red Sox

OF – Matt Kemp – Dodgers, Ryan Braun – Brewers

OF – Carlos Gomez – Twins, Jeff Francoeur – Braves

SP – Edinson Volquez – Reds, Cole Hamels – Phillies

SP – Tim Lincecum – Giants, Jesse Litsch – Blue Jays

SP – Felix Hernandez – Mariners, Jon Lester – Red Sox

RP – Joba Chamberlain – Yankees, Matt Cain – Pirates

RP – Joel Zumaya – Tigers, Joakim Soria – Royals

This team would have a total team payroll of approximately $11.9 million.