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October 19, 2006

The Worst Teams Money Can Buy - Revisited
by SG

Yesterday I ran through an exercise to look at the worst teams money can buy. My methodolgy raised some questions which are fair, so I thought I would look for a different way to do this. Thankfully, the late Doug Pappas already did a lot of this. Pappas uses a formula which deducts the replacement level threshold, so that wins over a .300 WPct are more valuable, which makes more sense than the linear calculations I did yesterday.

Pappas's formula is:

(club payroll - (28 x major league minimum) / ((winning percentage - .300) x 162)

To equalize this, I converted club payroll to a 2006 equivalent by multiplying by the average 2006 payroll divided by the payroll of the season in question.

So, looking at just regular season marginal payroll/marginal wins, here's the new list.

In the chart above, Rk is the team's rank in marginal dollars spent per marginal win, psG is postseason games, Payroll is their actual payroll that season, AdjPayroll is the payroll in terms of 2006 dollars, and M$/Wrs is marginal dollars spent per marginal wins using Pappas's formula.

If you're a Yankee fan, this list looks a lot better, as the first Yankee entry is not until #25, and it's the 1990 version that went 67-95. The 2005 version clocks in at #31, and no other Yankee team is in the top 50.

Next up is the question of postseason games. I'm going to consider all postseason games, win or lose, as valuable since they are revenue sources and good exposure for the team. So, adding postseason games into Pappas's formula, we get this revised list.

Maybe the Yankees aren't so inefficient, relatively speaking.

Thanks to Telnar,Steve W, EFB, and everyone else for the initial feedback, and of course Doug Pappas for his groundbreaking work in this area. You can read more of Doug's work at his author archive on Baseball Prospectus.