MLB Power Rankings: Which Teams Are in the Black and Which Ones Are Going Broke

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IMarch 24, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: Which Teams Are in the Black and Which Ones Are Going Broke

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    ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  Mark DeRosa (L) of the San Francisco Giants celebrates with his teammates after they won the World Series against the Texas Rangers in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1, 201
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Forbes has released its list of the most valuable franchises in Major League Baseball. And, as in most things that have to do with money, they appear to have done a terrific and thorough job.

    According to Forbes, the value of baseball franchises has never been higher. Still, some of the more valuable teams, like the Mets, also are the most financially troubled.

    The most shocking and disturbing thing about this list is the gap between the value of the top teams and the bottom teams.

    Now, I want you to enjoy this slideshow so I won't give away too many details, but the gap is larger than a billion dollars. The increase in value is fairly slow and steady until we approach the upper-echelon of organizations.

    I'll leave the dynamics of how and where the teams are generating their revenue and value to Forbes.

    We are going to discuss how this value affects their payroll and what kind of production they are receiving for their payroll. We can also mix in a little future speculation.

    Notes: The 2011 salary figures are estimates that include projected arbitration etc. by Baseball-Reference.com. The individual salaries for players were obtained on SportsCity.com.

No. 30: Pittsburgh Pirates

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    BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 02:  Manager Clint Hurdle #13 (L) stands with former player Bill Mazeroski of the Pittsburgh Pirates just before the start of the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game against the Minnesota Twins at McKechnie Field on March 2, 2011
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Value: $304 million

    2010 Record: 57-105

    2011 Payroll: $51 million

    Highest Paid Player: Tie: Chris Snyder and Paul Maholm: $6.25 million

    Most Overpaid: Chris Snyder, $6.25 million (.169 BA in 2010)

    Overview: It's no surprise the Pirates have been stuck in the basement. They don't generate money and they don't spend it. They are currently not without hope, however.

    They have a beautiful park and a solid young nucleus of players. They aren't stuck under a lot of bad contracts, because they don't sign guys to big contracts. 

    The Pirates are also climbing up the payroll ladder as they went from the smallest in 2010 to the third smallest in 2011. 

No. 29: Oakland Athletics

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 14:  Hideki Matsui (L) shakes hands with Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (R) after trying on his new jersey during a press conference where he was introduced as the newest member of the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Ala
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Value: $307 million

    2010 Record: 81-81

    2011 Payroll: $77.7 million

    Highest Paid Player: Tie: David DeJesus, Mark Ellis, Josh Willingham—$6 million

    Most Overpaid: The person in charge of advertising.

    Overview: The A's are amazing. They play in one of if not the most outdated stadiums in the league. They play in front of at least dozens of spectators every game and, consequentially, they continually have one of the smaller payrolls in the league.

    Yet they are almost always a perennial playoff contender. It has become apparent that despite their solid play, the A's are not going to move up the value chain unless they get a new stomping grounds. 


No. 28: Tampa Bay Rays

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 12:  Pitcher David Price #14 of the Tampa Bay Rays watches his team against the Texas Rangers during Game 5 of the ALDS at Tropicana Field on October 12, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Value: $331 million

    2010 Record: 96-66

    2011 Payroll: $50 million

    Highest Paid Player: Johnny Damon, $5.25 million

    Most Overpaid: B.J. Upton, $4.25 million (.237 BA in 2010)

    Overview: I hope the Rays enjoyed their run of success, because it appears to be over. While they were piling up wins on the field the last two seasons, the fan support and advertising dollars did not follow, and a fire sale ensued this past offseason.

    It is not all doom and gloom for the Rays, though. They still have a young and talented core of players, and they project to get as much production for their payroll as any team in baseball in 2011.

    They may also have more players than fans at their 2011 home games. I'd honestly be surprised if this team still calls Tampa home in 10 years.

No. 27: Toronto Blue Jays

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    TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 29:  Manager Cito Gaston takes his final walk and shakes hands with John Buck #14 on home field after the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the the New York Yankees 8-4 during a MLB game at the Rogers Centre September 29, 2010 in Toronto,
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    Value: $337 million

    2010 Record: 85-77

    2011 Payroll: $65.4 million

    Highest Paid Player: Juan Rivera, $5.25 million

    Most Overpaid: Vernon Wells (Blue Jays will be paying him $5 million while he plays for the Angels)

    Overview: The Blue Jays are another squad that is really maximizing the production they are getting out of their payroll. If they were in an A.L. Division that wasn't the East, they would have a very legitimate shot to win the division.

    While they are still paying Vernon Wells, it was a minor coup to get out from under the majority of his massively ridiculous salary.

No. 26: Kansas City Royals

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 15:  Manager Ned Yost #2 of the Kansas City Royals walks to the mound during the game against the New York Yankees on August 15, 2010 at Kauffman stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Value: $351 million

    2010 Record: 67-95

    2011 Payroll: $44.3 million

    Highest Paid Player: Joakim Soria, $4 million

    Most Overpaid: Yuniesky Betancourt (Royals will pay him $2 million while he makes errors for the Brewers)

    Overview: If the Royals continue to shed payroll at this rate, I think I better get ready for a tryout.

    This once-proud franchise offers its fans little hope for 2011 or any season beyond that for that matter.

    Looking at the roster for the upcoming season, it is hard to find a reason to think they will not hit triple digits in losses.

No. 25: Cleveland Indians

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    ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 8:  Astrubal Cabrera #13 of the Cleveland Indians turns a double play against  the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on September 8, 2010 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.   The Angels won 4-3 in 16 innings. (Photo by Stephen Du
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Value: $353 million

    2010 Record: 69-93

    2011 Payroll: $54.2 million

    Highest Paid Player: Travis Haffner, $13 million

    Most Overpaid: Travis Haffner (.278 BA and 13 HRs in 2010)

    Overview:  The Indians rebuilding process turned into a permanent youth movement at some point. They have joined the pile of teams that shop for garage-sale value in their players.

    When the Indians were in their dominant late-90s run, they were one of the hottest tickets in baseball. Now they are stuck in the permanent doldrums that seem to have no end.

    While Travis Haffner is still putting up decent numbers, it is impossible to justify a player making nearly one-fourth of a team's payroll.

No. 24: Florida Marlins

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Logan Morrison #20 of the Florida Marlins against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 29, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Value: $360 million

    2010 Record: 80-82

    2011 Payroll: $67.2 million

    Highest Paid Player: Hanley Ramirez, $11 million

    Most Overpaid: Javier Vasquez, $7 million (10--10 with a 5.32 era in 2010)

    Overview: Florida is a weird franchise. The Marlins went through a run where they couldn't decide if they wanted to spend money to be the kings of the baseball world or go for the bargain-player approach.

    They have appeared to have settled in on the latter, and they are doing it really well.

    While Ramirez makes nearly one-sixth of their team's payroll in 2011, you could make an argument that this amazing young shortstop is worth it.

No. 23: Cincinnati Reds

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    CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 12:  (FILE PHOTO)  Joey Votto #19 of  the Cincinnati Reds stands at the plate during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ballpark on September 12, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.The Baseball Writers' Association of A
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Value: $375 million

    2010 Record: 91-71

    2011 Payroll: $75.8 million

    Highest Paid Player: Francisco Cordero, $12.13 million

    Most Overpaid: Francisco Cordero $12.1 million (40 saves and 8 blown saves in 2010)

    Overview: The Reds came out of nowhere in 2010 to vastly outperform their payroll. They bring back almost their entire team, and they are ready for a similar run in 2011.

    They are getting amazing production out of their low(ish) payroll. Cordero is certainly not a disaster, but he also is not deserving of being the team's highest-paid player.

    If this team performs as good or better than they did last year, you can bet their value will increase.

No. 22: Milwaukee Brewers

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 30: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers runs after hitting a one run single in the ninth inning against the New York Mets on September 30, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    Value: $376 million

    2010 Record: 77-85

    2011 Payroll: $84.6 million

    Highest Paid Player: Prince Fielder, $15.5 million

    Most Overpaid: Yuniesky Betancourt, $4.375 million (.288 OBP in 2010)

    Overview: The Brewers were contenders for the majority of the 2010 season. They clearly decided to pounce on their current chance to make a run at the World Series.

    They kept the core players and added to them. If they play up to their potential, you can expect the value of this franchise to rise.

    The addition of Yuniesky Betancourt is a curious move. It also means Betancourt holds the dubious honor of being the most overpaid player on two teams. Betancourt has his moments, but he is too careless in the field and at the plate to be a good addition for any team.

No. 21: Detroit Tigers

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    NEW YORK - AUGUST 19:  Will Rhymes #28 of the Detroit Tigers throws to first base for an out against the New York Yankees on August 19, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Value: $385 million

    2010 Record: 81-81

    2011 Payroll: $108.2 million

    Highest Paid Player: Miguel Cabrera, $20 million

    Most Overpaid: Miguel Cabrera, $20 million (conduct unbecoming of a $20 million player)

    Overview: The Tigers are going for broke in 2011. They were close in 2010, and they increased the payroll for 2011.

    You certainly can't blame these owners for being cheap, as their payroll is almost one-third of their value.

    They may currently be regretting $20 million of that payroll. Their season got of to an auspicious start however as their team's highest-paid player was busted for an infamous DUI.

    The Tigers are now left to hope that Cabrera plays at the MVP level he did in 2010, because their lineup is centered around his amazing bat.

No. 20: Arizona Diamondbacks

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    PHOENIX - SEPTEMBER 24:  Mark Reynolds #27 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on September 24, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Value: $396 million

    2010 Record: 65-97

    2011 Payroll: $73.3 million

    Highest Paid Player: Joe Saunders, $5.5 million

    Most Overpaid: Joe Saunders, $5.5 million (9-17 with a 4.47 era in 2010)

    Overview: I am actually surprised the Diamondbacks weren't lower on this list with their recent struggles and history of financial woes.

    I can imagine they will be a little lower on next year's, as this has the looks of being a long season. You also have to question if the owners are paying more attention to the Forbes list or the win-loss column.

No. 19 San DIego Padres

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 02:  Tim Stauffer #46 of the San Diego Padres is congratulated by Adrian Gonzalez #23 after Stauffer scored on a single by Miguel Tejada to give the Padres a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning over the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Value: $406 million

    2010 Record: 90-72

    2011 Payroll: $44 million

    Highest Paid Player: Heath Bell, $7.5 million

    Most Overpaid: Ryan Ludwick, $6.775 million (.251 BA and 17 HRs in 2010)

    Overview: The Padres were oh so close in 2010. Instead of trying to capitalize on that, they decided to ditch their best player, Adrian Gonzalez, in favor of a youth movement. 

    The Padres got a decent package in return, but you have to question at what cost. This is a team that lost to the eventual World Series champs in a one-game playoff to make the postseason.

    With a projected payroll of $44 million and a value over $400 million, a new stadium and a solid market—it is hard not to come to the conclusions that the owners are just a little too cheap.

    Now you have to figure the postseason sits in the distance for this low-spending organization.

No. 18: Baltimore Orioles

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 29:  Outfielder Felix Pie #18 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates the victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 29, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Value: $411 million

    2010 Record: 66-96

    2011 Payroll: $90.6 million

    Highest Paid Player: Nick Markakis, $10.6 million

    Most Overpaid: Mike Gonzalez, $6 million (4.01 ERA in 2010)

    Overview: The Orioles are stuck in a division they have little hope of winning, and they now have to contend with sharing the greater Washington D.C. area with the Nationals.

    They have a young team, they generate decent revenue and they aren't under any particularly bad contracts. They also played much better ball once Buck Showalter took over managerial duties.

    So things could definitely be worse. It is just hard to see how this team is going to succeed given their current surroundings.

No. 17: Colorado Rockies

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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 2: Starter Ubaldo Jimenez #38 of the Colorado Rockies pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 2, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Rockies 1-0 in 11 innings.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Get
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Value: $414 million

    2010 Record: 83-79

    2011 Payroll: $90.1 million

    Highest Paid Player: Todd Helton $10.6 million

    Most Overpaid: Todd Helton $10.6 million (.256 BA and 8 HRs in 2010)

    Overview: The Rockies are starting to establish a tradition of success, and the value of their franchise is beginning to reflect that.

    They were close in 2010, and there is every reason to think they will be contenders again in 2011. They get solid production out of a sub-$100 million payroll.

    And although it is doubtful if they can get a bounce-back year out of the 37-year-old Helton, if they do, there is not a bad contract on a team that will have a strong shot at the postseason.

No. 16: Washington Nationals

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    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 15:  Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo introduces Jayson Werth #28  of the Washington Nationals to the media on December 15, 2010 at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.   (Photo by Mitch
    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Value: $417 million

    2010 Record: 69-93

    2011 Payroll: $75.9 million

    Highest Paid Player: Jayson Werth, $10.6 million

    Most Overpaid: Jason Marquis, $7.5 million (2-9 with a 6.6 ERA in 2010)

    Overview: The Nationals are bound and determined to carve their niche in the D.C. area. While it can certainly be argued that they overpaid for Werth, they did what they had to do to bring in an impact player.

    Now they just have to hope he produces enough in their big park to not leave them stuck behind a bad contract.

    Of course, the future of this franchise and its value lives in the recovering arm of Stephen Strasburg and the bat of the yet-to-be major league-tested Bryce Harper.

No. 15: Seattle Mariners

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    PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 12:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Seattle Mariners high fives teammates after scoring a run against the Oakland Athletics during the second inning of the spring training game at Peoria Stadium on March 12, 2011 in Peoria, Arizona.  (Photo b
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Value: $449 million

    2010 Record: 61-101

    2011 Payroll: $106.5 million

    Highest Paid Player: Ichiro, $18 million

    Most Overpaid: Tie: Milton Bradley, $13.3 million (.205 BA in 2010) and Carlos Silva, $5.5 million (he's on the Cubs) 


    Overview: You could easily argue that no team received less production per dollar than the Mariners. They are stuck under some bad contracts, and ownership is now reigning in their spending.

    They are caught in vicious cycle.  Attendance has been on a steady decline, and they seemingly are waiting for their youth to mature while they wait for the contracts they can't unload to expire.

    Now they just have to try and keep the fans interested enough to prevent their value from falling. They do have a gorgeous ballpark, the reigning Cy Young winner, and one of the more unique and entertaining players in baseball, Ichiro, to help them accomplish this.

No. 14: Houston Astros

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    CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 28: Wandy Rodriguez #51 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 28, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 3-2 to clinch the NL Central Division title. (Photo by Joe Rob
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Value: $474 million

    2010 Record: 76-86

    2011 Payroll: $91 million

    Highest Paid Player: Carlos Lee, $19 million

    Most Overpaid: Carlos Lee, $19 million (.246 BA and 24 HRs in 2010)

    Overview: Much like the team we just discussed, the Mariners, the Astros are not receiving the production per dollar that they would hope.

    Also much like the Mariners, they appear to be racing to regain an identity before they lose their fan support and franchise value.  


    They may be in for a long 2011. At 76-86, they probably overachieved in 2010, and they would appear to be headed for triple-digit losses in 2011.

No. 13: Atlanta Braves

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 11:  Jason Heyward #22 of the Atlanta Braves against the San Francisco Giants during Game Four of the NLDS of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Turner Field on October 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Value: $482 million

    2010 Record: 91-71

    2011 Payroll: $89.4 million

    Highest Paid Player: Derek Lowe, $15 million

    Most Overpaid: Kenshin Kawakami, $7.3 million (1-10 5.15 ERA in 2010)

    Overview: The Braves are an amazing organization. They transitioned from big spenders to moderate spenders while barely missing the playoffs.

    They continually churn out and receive value from their young talent while getting production out of the veteran players and big contracts.

    If they can get a healthy and productive season out of Chipper Jones, this team is a serious World Series contender. Either way, their future is bright, and their value is secure.

No. 12: Minnesota Twins

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18: Tsuyoshi Nishioka # of the Minnesota Twins puts on his first Twins jersey during a press conference on December 18, 2010 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Value: $490 million

    2010 Record: 94-68

    2011 Payroll: $94.6 million

    Highest Paid Player: Joe Mauer, $23 million

    Most Overpaid: Michael Cuddyer, $10.5 million (.271 BA and 14 HRs in 2010)

    Overview: The Twins are a baseball success story. They are transitioning from a team that succeeded with a small payroll due to limited revenue to a team that now plays in a beautiful new park and generates enough revenue to approach the $100 million payroll mark.  


    They have some big contracts, but they aren't burdened by unproductive players. They are locked and loaded for a postseason run in 2011.

No. 11: St. Louis Cardinals

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    JUPITER, FL - MARCH 06:  First baseman Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals plays against the Florida Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium on March 6, 2011 in Jupiter, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Value: $518 million

    2010 Record: 86-76

    2011 Payroll: $109.4 million

    Highest Paid Player: Matt Holliday, $17 million

    Most Overpaid: Lance Berkman, $8 million (.248 BA and 14 HRs in 2010)

    Overview: I am surprised the Cardinals are not higher on this list. They have great fan support, a consistently awesome product and the best player in baseball.

    Speaking of the best player in baseball, they better hope their value doesn't drop, because he makes $16 million a year and he is hoping to nearly double that.

    It is hard to find fault with any moves the Cardinals make. I mark Berkman as being the most overpaid, because while I see why they went out and got him, there is a good chance at this stage of his career that not even the switch back to the National League will help stop the decline of his numbers.

No. 10: Chicago White Sox

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    ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Mark Kotsay #7 of the Chicago White Sox is greeted by Alejandro De Aza #30 after scoring on a sacrifice fly in the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the second inning on September 26, 2010 at Angel Sta
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Value: $526 million

    2010 Record: 88-74

    2011 Payroll: $125.2 million

    Highest Paid Player: Jake Peavy, $16 million

    Most Overpaid: Edwin Jackson, $8.75 million

    Overview: The White Sox have remained aggressive in free agency and in trades to keep themselves in playoff contention. It shows in the value and quality of their team.

    The Sox have a loyal fanbase, solid park and they play in a great baseball market. As long as they stay competitive, they are going to remain valuable. Staying competitive should not be a problem in 2011. 

    The White Sox are solid top to bottom, but if they want to make a run at the World Series, they are going to need their highest-paid player and biggest risk, Jake Peavy, to stay healthy.

No. 9: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 21:  Ervin Santana #54 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim celebrates after getting the final out of his complete game shutout against the Texas Rangers on September 21, 2010 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The Angels won
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Value: $554 million

    2010 Record: 80-82

    2011 Payroll: $136 million

    Highest Paid Player: Vernon Wells, $24.6 million

    Most Overpaid: Gary Matthews Jr., $11.4 million (on the Mets roster)

    Overview: The Angels obviously play in a huge market (two of them actually). They also put a consistently good product on the field, and they have a deep-pocketed owner who is not afraid to spend some dough.

    Still, they may be on the verge of sliding down this list. While they spent most of the offseason bidding for the big names in free agency, they stopped short before overspending.

    Then they appeared to panic and traded for Vernon Wells and his giant contract. Even though the Blue Jays are on the hook for $5 million, the Angels are still overpaying for Wells.

    They are going to need him to earn that $24 million if they want to make some waves in the 2011 season, but my money is on a second season of mediocrity.

No. 8: Texas Rangers

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    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 11:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers sits in the dugout during the spring training game against the Cincinnati Reds at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Value: $561 million

    2010 Record: 90-72 (A.L. Champs)

    2011 Payroll: $95 million

    Highest Paid Player: Michael Young, $16 million

    Most Overpaid: Adrian Beltre, $14 million (.255 BA and 19 HRs in 2005—his first season after his last mega contract)

    Overview: The Rangers are trying to build a consistent enough winner that they can turn the Dallas area into a football-baseball town instead of just a football-football town.

    They did everything they could this past offseason to keep the team intact that made it to the 2010 World Series. However, they lost out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes and then turned around and used the majority of that money on signing Adrian Beltre.

    While Beltre is a consistently solid player, he is not a consistently great one. In fact, his great years seem to happen in the last year of his contract.

No. 7: San Francisco Giants

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    SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 03:  San Francisco Giants fans pack into the Civic Center Plaza during the Giants' victory parade on November 3, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Thousands of Giants fans lined the streets of San Francisco to watch the San Franc
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Value: $563 million

    2010 Record: 92-70 (World Series champs)

    2011 Payroll: $122 million

    Highest Paid Player: Barry Zito, $18.5 million

    Most Overpaid: Barry Zito, $18.5 million (9-14 with a 4.15 ERA in 2010)

    Overview: How many years did the Giants sign Barry Zito for? It seems like they have been overpaying him for a couple of decades. That kind of signing is enough to cripple a lot of teams, but the Giants have managed to flourish.

    They play in an amazing ballpark, a good size market and they have an enjoyable team that just won the World Series. It is hard to imagine what they could do to improve on that.

No. 6: Philadelphia Phillies

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    PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 15: Pitcher Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies talks with former pitcher Mitch Williams after being introduced to the media during a press conference at Citizens Bank Park on December 15, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Value: $609 million

    2010 Record: 97-65

    2011 Payroll: $164.5 million

    Highest Paid Player: Tie: Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard, $20 million

    Most Overpaid: Raul Ibanez, $12.2 million (.275 BA and 16 HRs in 2010)

    Overview: The Phillies are bound and determined to move their way up this list. They aren't afraid to spend money and they seem to usually spend it on the right guys.

    They are going to spend $67 million on their five-man rotation, and that is more than the entire payroll of one-quarter of all major league teams.

    The Phillies are on a short list of World Series contenders, and they have set themselves up to remain the passion of Philadelphia and move up this list.

No. 5: New York Mets

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    NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 23:  New York Mets new manager Terry Collins poses for photographs in the dugout after a press conference at Citi Field on November 23, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood, of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Value: $747 million

    2010 Record: 79-83

    2011 Payroll: $156.3 million

    Highest Paid Player: Johan Santana, $22.5 million

    Most Overpaid: Carlos Beltran, $20.1 million

    Overview: The Mets are complete mess right now. The owners already received one loan form Major League Baseball for $25 million, and there are reports that they are seeking a second loan.

    All of which strikes me as odd given the fact the franchise is worth $747 million, which is $25 million less than one-28th of the value of the team.

    Not that it is the best time to buy a share of the Mets. In 2011, they will have seven players making over double-digit millions, and you could easily argue that not one of them is worth it.

    The Mets are going to need some of their core of high-paid players to bounce back to the form that earned them their bloated contracts if they want to contend in the next few years.

No. 4: Chicago Cubs

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    CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 24: Interim manager Mike Quade #8 of the Chicago Cubs takes pitcher Scott Maine #57 out of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals as Koyie Hill #55 watches at Wrigley Field on September 24, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The CArdinals defe
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Value: $773 million

    2010 Record: 75-87

    2011 Payroll: $133.8 million

    Highest Paid Player: Alfonso Soriano, $19 million

    Most Overpaid: Alfonso Soriano, $19 million (.258 BA and 24 HRs in 2010)

    Overview: More than any other team, the value of the Cubs is impervious to their play on the field. They don't even need to dump money into a new ballpark or even play .500 ball. Their fans are going to be there year after year.

    Which is a good thing, because they are severely locked into some bad contracts. Along with Soriano's less-than-ideal batting stats he also brings to the table some atrocious outfield defense.

    And he is just one of many Cubs who is being overpaid. The Cubs need a minor miracle to be playoff contenders in the next few years.

No. 3: Los Angeles Dodgers

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    PHOENIX - SEPTEMBER 24:  Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on September 24, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Value: $800 million

    2010 Record: 80-82

    2011 Payroll: $104.5 million

    Highest Paid Player: Rafael Furcal, $13 million

    Most Overpaid: The divorce lawyers

    Overview: Note to self: If you own the third most-valuable franchise in baseball, sign a pre-nup!

    The Dodgers play in a classic ballpark in the second-largest market in the nation. They have tremendous history and a solid fanbase. They have a good roster top to bottom, and it is hard to find one contract that you would classify as bad.

    That is part of their problem. Not the lack of bad contracts, but the lack of potential for one. They just aren't spending enough money.

    This is a team that should be in play for every big-name free agent out there, yet due to the ownership turmoil, they are in play for none of them.

    Despite all of that, they still have a very good chance of making the 2011 playoffs.

No. 2: Boston Red Sox

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    BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 11:  Carl Crawford answers questions during a press conference to announce his joining the Boston Red Sox on December 11,  2010 at the Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Value: $912 million

    2010 Record: 89-73

    2011 Payroll: $161.5 million

    Highest Paid Player: Josh Beckett, $17 million

    Most Overpaid: J.D. Drew, $14 million (.255 BA and 22 HRs in 2010)

    Overview: The Boston Red Sox don't have to do much to be near the top of this list. They play in a big market, have amazing history and an unbelievably loyal fanbase.

    On top of all of that, they are dedicated to putting the best product possible on the field, and 2011 is no different.

    The Red Sox are stacked. They are the favorites to win the American League, and anything short of the World Series will be a disappointment.

    It won't be enough to move them up this list, though. The Red Sox could go 162-0 and win the World Series, and still be stuck in second place.

No. 1: New York Yankees

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    TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 07:   Shortstop Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees talks to the media during a press conference to announce his new contract with the club on December 7, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Tim Boyles/Getty Images)
    Tim Boyles/Getty Images

    Value: $1.7 billion

    2010 Record: 95-67

    2011 Payroll: $202.3 million

    Highest Paid Player: Alex Rodriguez, $32 million

    Most Overpaid: A.J. Burnett, $16.5 million (10-15 5.26 ERA in 2010)

    Overview: The Yankees are almost double the value of the second-place Red Sox. It is a mind-blowing chasm that separates them from everyone else. They are roughly five times as valuable as the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    It doesn't even seem right that those two teams are competing for the same prize.

    Despite the power and the glory that is the Yankees, they largely swung and missed at their targeted free agents this offseason, and for the first time in a long time, they are not one of the favorites to win the World Series.

    If they are going to make a run, they are going to need A.J. Burnett to return to the form that earned him his contract and not the form that kept him out of the playoff rotation in 2010.

    Either way, their value is firm, and you better believe they will be going after the biggest free agents again in the 2011 season.

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