Tampa Bay Rays: Most wins for fewest bucks

By John Dorschner

The smartest team in baseball is the Tampa Bay Rays — once again.

In all three years I’ve measured this, the Rays have every time did the best in seeing how little money it takes to produce each win.

Their 2020 payroll of $28.3 million produced 40 wins — meaning each win cost them $707,500.

Once again, the worst performing team was the Red Sox — $83.7 million in payroll got them 24 wins. That’s $3.45 million for each win.

The other super big-spenders: Yankees at $3.3 million, Mets at $2.9M, Rangers at $2.87 M and Astros. $2.84 M. The Dodgers, for what it’s worth, spent $2.5 million per win. The MLB average was $1.98 million.

The Marlins were also high-performing, making the playoffs by spending only $1 million per win. Impressive, considering that their payroll of $31.3 million includes $10 million guaranteed to the nonplaying Wei-Yin Chen. It’s a big improvement over the $1.3 million they spent last year per win.

There are various ways to play around with this formula. One would be to add post-season victories to the mix. The Rays, for example, have already had nine, heading into the World Series. Or you could count post-season victories as double or triple wins. I decided to stay with just the regular season.

Note: I use Spotrac for payrolls, because they update throughout the season and include total payroll, adding those still being paid though they’re not playing.

The full list:


Rays $28.3 40 $707,500

Orioles $23.5 25 $904,000

Marlins $31.3 31 $1M

A’s $36.7 36 $1.01M

Indians $37.5 35 $1.07M

Pirates $25.1 19 $1.32M

Royals $34.8 26 $1.3M

Brewers $39.9 29 $1.4M

White Sox $52.4 35 $1.50M

Twins $55.4 36 $1.53M

Blue Jays $54.5 32 $1.7M

Reds $55.6 31 $1.8M

Braves $63.1 35 $1.8M

Mariners $48.9 27 $1.81M

Tigers $43.1 23 $1.87M

Padres $72.6 37 $1.96M

League Ave $59.4 30 $1.98M

Cubs $75.6 34 $2.2M

Rockies $61.8 26 $2.37M

Dbacks $60 25 $2.4M

Cards $72.2 30 $2.4M

Dodgers $107.9 43 $2.5M

Giants $73.3 29 $2.52M

Angels $66 26 $2.54M

Nats $68.3 26 $2.62M

Phillies $78.6 28 $2.8M

Astros $82.5 29 $2.84M

Rangers $63.2 22 $2.87M

Mets $77.6 26 $2.98M

Yankees $109.4 33 $3.31M

Red Sox $83.7 24 $3.49M

A Miami journalist for a half-century dedicated to peace, equality and environmental protection. Author of Verdict on Trial, available on Amazon.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store