Oakland Athletics payroll is the same this season as it was in 1991

The Oakland Athletics begin their season in Philadelphia on Friday. The A’s will have the second-lowest payroll in baseball at around $32.5 million according to Spotrac. It’s quite a dip from last season when they spent over $90 million in payroll, but it’s not nearly as shocking as learning that the A’s payroll over 30 years ago years was $33.6 million. At the time, they were spending more than all the other teams.

The team with the second-highest payroll in 1991 was the Los Angeles Dodgers with just over $33 million on a roster that included Daryl Strawberry, Eddie Murray and Mike Scioscia. Three decades later, the Dodgers have the highest payroll and spend $277.8 million.

With inflation alone, the A’s are expected to pay $68 million this season. The Dodgers spend four times as much. Perhaps that’s why the Dodgers won the World Series two seasons ago and hope to do so again this year when the A’s haven’t won since 1989.

Of course, the A’s aren’t the only team to spend a hilariously small amount of money on their season. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Guardians are both spending $30 million this season. And most importantly, the Baltimore Orioles are spending $31.7 million, which is less than 12 individual players earn this season. Max Scherzer earns more this season ($43 million) than all the teams mentioned in this paragraph.


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