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July 16, 2021

Can money buy a winning baseball team?

Put me in coach, I'm ready to play, today.

Look at me, I can be, centre field.

Ever wonder if money can buy a winning team in Major League Baseball (MLB)?

Well, BMO's Moneyball All-Star Break Report examines the relationship between payroll and performance in Major League Baseball.

The annual report provides a financial analysis of MLB winners and losers at the unofficial halfway mark of the 2013 season.

Jack Ablin, Chief Investment Officer, BMO Private Bank, says, "Major League Baseball is the closest thing to a free market in sports.

"Large market teams have financial resources to attract and cultivate the best talent and build the best rosters. While the wealthiest teams in the American League generally have the best winning percentages, the National League is pretty much up for grabs so far this year."

According to the report, here are some highlights of the top and bottom performers of this season to date:

The American League:

Top Performers:

- Boston Red Sox: At $150 miliion, this team has the second highest payroll in the league next to the New York Yankees at $228 million. The Red Sox have a winning percentage over .600

- Texas Rangers: For a mid-size market ball team it has a larger-than-expected payroll and it is getting results. The Rangers are not scoring as many runs as expected however, they are still managing to deliver the wins.

- Oakland Athletics: The A's are leading their division with one of the smallest payrolls in the league.

The Bottom:

- Chicago White Sox: This team typically posts respectable results in the BMO analysis however, this season the White Sox have blown huge leads, failed to score runs and are among five teams that gave scored fewer than 300 runs.

- Minnesota Twins: Just like last year, Minnesota is proving that it is not a good team. Losing streaks into the 2013 season have left the Twins 11 games under 500 and 10 games out.

- Seattle Mariners: Seattle has a terrible run differential and is 3 and 7 in the last 10 games. Besides King Felix, there's very little worth celebrating in Seattle.

And how about those Jays?

According to the analysis, The Toronto Blue Jays are in the middle of the pack with their $117.5 million payroll and are underperforming at the plate.

National League: 

The Top:

- St. Louis Cardinals: This team upped their payroll but it is also getting results.

- Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates boast the best record in baseball so far this season even with a payroll that is smaller than most. The report states that pitching is remarkable, giving up the fewest number of runs in the league. Offense is impressive and keeps getting better.

- Atlanta Braves: Always the fan favourites, the Braves lead the National League East and it appears they are running away with the division. Their +72 run differential is second behind St. Louis and their team ERA is in the top two in the league.

The Bottom: 

- Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers have had a tough go of it this year and they are suffering a -57 differential.

- San Francisco Giants: The Giants lack offense and that is what is hurting them, according to the analysis. However, it is possible that the team could turn it on in the second half, but their current lack of momentum could be a problem.

- Chicago Cubs: The Cubs are continual underperformers and this year is no different. It has been 105 years without a championship and this year it appears will be no different.

And now it's time to play ball!

By Donna Donaldson, MSN Money

Do you think that athletes are overpaid? Do high costs at ball games keep you away?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...