Yankees manager Joe Girardi knows a thing or two about managing a team with a small payroll. In 2006, he led a Florida Marlins club with a payroll in the neighborhood of $15 million to 78 wins.

So if he says there are advantages to having a small payroll, we are willing to listen

How do the Rays hang with two of Major League Baseball’s juggernauts? Aside from drafting well and developing terrific young pitching, perhaps they’re able to remain competitive, in part, because of the us-against-the-world attitude that their small-market status cultivates. Though Tampa (sic) won the American League pennant in 2008 and the AL East championship last year, Rays players said they remain unburdened by the same level of pressure that their counterparts in big-money, big-media markets might feel.

“It can be advantageous,” Girardi said of managing a team with a low payroll. “You go out there, and the guys are loose. But [Tampa] (sic again) has a little bit more experience than what my club had. The club I had hadn’t been to the playoffs and didn’t really know what it took. This club does.”

We don’t know. The Rays know every game is important. Does Girardi really think that kids in their early 20s are “loose” when they go into Fenway Park or Replica Yankee Stadium? Maybe. But if they are, it is because that is the atmosphere Joe Maddon creates. And we find it hard to believe that they don’t feel as much pressuse because they make less money.

 
 

5 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    Wow. Where to start?

    Since having a lower payroll is such an advantage, Girardi should suggest to his management that they try it. Let’s all go with payrolls below $75 million next year and see the Yankees and Red Sox flourish with the loose atmosphere.

  2. Gus says:

    That is why all the other low payroll teams haven’t sniffed anything in the post-season.

    He has a point; but I’d say any advantage gained in the “us against the world” is outweighed by the consistently favorable umpiring that favors the Yankees and Red Sox. In any sport, the top teams get the calls. I get that. But it has been particularly bad this year — from Hellickson getting squeezed, to Upton being blackballed (by his own making perhaps) to the Friday night beckett charity. And the Rays should be a “top team: getting the calls but they don’t.

    • Beth says:

      Honestly, Gus, I see no advantage to the low payroll. One of the things elite athletes learn to do is to perform well under all kinds of circumstances – when the game is on the line, when fans are booing, when it’s hot or cold or their girlfriend dumped them. The idea that players pulled up from AAA are going to fair better under stress because they only earn $400 K makes no sense to me.

      And don’t forgot all the things that payroll buys you. It’s not just the A-Rods and Carl Crawfords. It’s being able to afford a closer-type salary for your 8th inning set up man. It’s replacing injured players with real major leaguers. It’s realizing you have a hole at catcher or short stop, and going to the free agent market to find someone who is at least middling. For the Rays, even “middling” is often too expensive!

      Girardi’s claims to me sound like a rich person saying how lucky you are to be poor because you don’t have to worry about whether your gardener is stealing from you and your financial manager is advising you correctly. Boo-hoo.

  3. Don says:

    Does the CEO of general motors making $10mil a yr. have more or less pressure than the CEO of xyz motors making $1mil…Does the RE agent selling a $4mil house have same pressure as an agent sell a $79,000 house, does the jewelry store clerk selling $8,000 rolex have the same pressure as the dept store clerk wanting to sell you an $10.00 watch…DO you want me to go on…??

  4. Dre says:

    i think the main advantage i can find is that while other teams are out signing big free agents (Carl Crawford), we are signing guys for small paychecks that are so happy to get a chance they are playing their hearts out (Casey Kotchman). he’s not the only example – but it goes to show that without the expectation of a big contract, he’s playing with his heart. how many of the guys we’ve lost to big contracts are now performing worth what they are getting paid? no, in the AL East it is not a general advantage to have a small market budget, but it has shown this year that our focus on building pitching depth is priceless. i refer to boston’s Weiland and how he is not near as developed as some of the guys that we have in the wings (Cobb, Moore).

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