The Baltimore Orioles continued their cost-cutting measures in the 2021 offseason, much to the chagrin of fans within the DMV area. Far removed from the 2016 American League Wild Card franchise, the Orioles have been basement dwellers in the AL East for the last four seasons. With one game separating them from a fourth-consecutive last-place finish in 2020, it felt like the O’s were on the verge of turning things around.
They weren’t. The Orioles are prepping for yet another season in the cellar.
With the American League’s lowest active payroll of $34.94 million dollars, the Orioles find themselves at the bottom of yet another list. Consider this, the O’s dealt Alex Cobb to the Los Angeles Angels this offseason. In the final year of Cobb’s contract, he was set to make $15 million dollars. However, the Angels will only pay $5 million, while the Orioles cover the remaining $10 million.
It should also be mentioned, even though you are probably already aware, that almost two-thirds of the Orioles payroll is comprised of Chris Davis‘s mega-contract. Yes, that contract continues to age like milk.
And in our research, we also found something else. Here’s a list of the six players who will earn make more money than the entire 26-man roster in Baltimore.
6. Zack Greinke – $35 million dollars
5. Nolan Arenado – $35 million dollars
4. Stephen Strasburg – $35 million dollars
3. Gerrit Cole – $36 million dollars
2. Jacob deGrom – $36 million dollars
1. Mike Trout – $37.12 million dollars
I’m not one to make an argument for or against tanking. However, I can certainly say that fielding a team that makes less than some star players in the league is not a good look for anyone involved.
There’s cost-cutting and there is cutting off your nose to spite your face. The Orioles are going to show up on Opening Day without hope. There’s simply no way they have a shot at taking the AL East, let alone finishing over .500 in 2021. Is that something that’s good for the league? Is that helping viewership grow?
I’m not advocating for forced salary limits in the game. But if baseball is truly dying off, we need to look at the reasons it might be failing. Fans spend a lot of money on trips to the ballpark. It might be helpful to make the product on the field watchable.
If you can’t do that, then don’t shake your head and ask “where did all the fans go?”
Editor’s Note: After the publication of this piece, new information regarding Trevor Bauer’s contract has come out. While his AAV remains under the Orioles payroll, his 2021 salary as reported on Baseball-Reference is $40 million. It is not reported as such on Spotrac. The Baseball-Reference number makes him the SEVENTH Player on the list.
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