April 6, 2009

Baseball owners slash player payrolls

The bad economy is prompting formerly free-spending Major League Baseball owners to cut their payrolls, with 14 teams spending less this year, documents show.

Documents obtained by USA Today indicated that 10 of the 14 teams are cutting back player salaries by at least $10 million compared to last year, and when all 30 teams are included the average player salary rose by only a modest 4 percent, the newspaper reported Monday.

The New York Yankees, with baseball's highest payroll at $201.4 million, will spend $8 million less on players this year. The Boston Red Sox lowered their players' salaries by $12 million, dropping them to fourth place in the salary derby behind the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs, USA Today said.

That is an amazing number, Chicago White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told the newspaper. This isn't just the baseball economy. But the owners who subsidized losses for their team with their businesses don't have businesses as profitable anymore.

The San Diego Padres logged the biggest decrease, slashing their payroll by nearly $20 million, giving them the second-lowest player costs behind the Florida Marlins, who sport baseball's smallest payroll at $43.8 million, the newspaper said.