I’ll have a much more detailed post on the subject once the season is over, but I wanted to take a quick look at which teams in the American League have been getting the most value for their money in terms of wins per dollar spent. The Twins have been historically good at squeezing the most value out of every dollar spent on payroll, but I wanted to see if this is still the case, given that they are no longer one of the most frugal teams in the league. The dollar/WAR values in the second column are from fangraphs and the salary values are based on opening day payrolls and doesn’t include the money owed to players acquired after the season started. I will do a post with those updated figures later on.
The Twins are currently fourth in the league in terms of dollars spent per win, spending just $2.2 million per win, nearly half of the current market value of $4.1 million per win (according to fangraphs). Despite increasing payroll by about $33 million since 2009, the team still manages to squeeze nearly twice as much value out of every dollar spent on player salary. Last season, the Twins got 38.8 WAR out of their players while spending a mere $65.3 million on payroll (the second-lowest payroll in the AL), which works out to around $1.8 million per win. They may not be getting the most bang for their buck as they have been in the past, but they are still much more efficient than most other teams with a similar payroll.
Of course, things will change in the offseason. The Twins have a number of difficult decisions to make regarding impending free agents Carl Pavano, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, and Orlando Hudson; whether to pick up the expensive options of Jason Kubel and Nick Punto; while arbitration-eligibles Francisco Liriano and Matt Capps (among others) will be due rather hefty raises that will undoubtedly push payroll over the $100 million for the first time in franchise history. Whether they will continue to spend their money wisely, like the Red Sox, or fritter it away, like the Cubs and Mets, remains to be seen. The front office has demonstrated an ability to make shrewd moves to improve the team without spending a ton of money (the Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson signings, for example), and with a young core under team control for at least two more years, it’s a good bet that the Twins will continue to make the most of their resources.