Art Thiel has a piece in the P-I this morning about the Mariners 2005 Payroll. Apparently, the team was pretty pissed off by the numbers released last week by the AP that calculated “Final Payroll” as of August 31st. And, really, they have a right to be upset, because that’s a pretty terrible way to calculate real payroll.
So, in an effort to show everyone that they really did spend money last year, the M’s gave Thiel their numbers, or what they are claiming their actual 2005 payroll was. It’s a rare moment of transparency from an organization that has attempted to mislead the public on payroll information every chance they get. You can read Thiel’s articles for the specific numbers, but the club claims they paid $99.042 million on players during the 2005 season, and for once, the math works. There are no noticable gaping flaws in this calculation, as there always are in the annual Bob Finnigan “we have no money left to spend” spin pieces.
Interesting to note, the Mariners claimed all of Spiezio’s ’06 salary and the buyout on his ’07 option against the ’05 payroll. However, they didn’t claim the buyout of the ’06 options for Pokey Reese, Wiki Gonzalez, or Shigetoshi Hasegawa, which apparently will count against next years payroll. So, apparently, if they release you during the season, everything they owe you in the future counts on current payroll, but if they release you after the season, it goes towards next years payroll.
What does this mean to us? Well, for once, the club is being truthful with its fans, which is good news. And they have a few million more to spend this year than we originally thought, since we had assumed the Spiezio contract would remain on the books this year.
But, mostly, it just reinforces how much money was summarily wasted last year. The club spent $16.46 million on Scott Spiezio, Ryan Franklin, Shigeotshi Hasegawa, Gil Meche, Wiki Gonzalez, Dan Wilson, and Aaron Sele. The average VORP for that group was 2.22. It’s basically a group of replacement level players who provided similar performance to what a league minimum minor leaguer could have done. That’s a $14 million dollar hole right there.
You’d hope that the M’s could look at that and see that what killed them was consistently overpaying by a little bit for what they considered to be mid-level talent. The signings of Jarrod Washburn and Carl Everett do little to reassure me that they learned any lessons from last years debacle.