The Disappointment Index

A while back, I looked up the list of signed free agents on ESPN’s Free Agent Tracker. The site allows you to sort the list by team spending. Looking at it this way, the Blue Jays rank surprisingly high on the list of spenders, as of December 23:

Chicago Cubs $276,250,000
Boston $230,000,000
San Francisco $220,000,000
Arizona $206,500,000
Detroit $139,000,000
St. Louis $92,500,000
Toronto $63,050,000
Baltimore $46,800,000
Oakland $38,000,000
Kansas City $36,500,000
Houston $33,800,000
Seattle $31,750,000
NY Mets $29,750,000
Washington $25,000,000
LA Dodgers $22,800,000
Colorado $16,000,000
Cleveland $12,250,000
Minnesota $12,000,000
LA Angels $6,550,000
Chicago Sox $6,500,000
Pittsburgh $4,500,000
Atlanta $4,250,000
Texas $0
Tampa Bay $0
NY Yankees $0
San Diego $0
Cincinnati $0
Philadelphia $0

The Jays rank seventh on this list, which seems quite good. But then I realized that most fans aren’t thinking of who their team signed: they’re thinking about the players that used to be on their teamĀ but went to other teams.

So I modified the team spending list shown above: if a team lost a player, I subtracted the amount of the contract from the team spending total. The resulting dollar figures are a team’s Disappointment Index.

Here’s the figures:

Cubs $262,000,000
Red Sox $230,000,000
Arizona $206,500,000
Detroit $131,250,000
San Francisco $129,500,000
Oakland $32,000,000
Seattle $19,750,000
New York Mets $18,500,000
Cleveland $10,250,000
Anaheim $2,300,000
Atlanta $1,250,000
Minnesota -$4,000,000
Cincinnati -$5,000,000
Colorado -$6,000,000
Texas -$7,000,000
Houston -$13,000,000
New York Yankees -$13,000,000
San Diego -$15,000,000
Tampa Bay -$18,500,000
Pittsburgh -$59,000,000
Washington -$85,000,000
Chicago White Sox -$87,550,000
St. Louis -$141,000,000
Kansas City -$183,000,000
Toronto -$199,750,000
LA Dodgers -$206,500,000

Using this measurement, the Jays are second from bottom, which explains why Toronto fans feel like they got coal in their stockings this Christmas.

Note that being at the bottom of this list doesn’t necessarily indicate that the team has been noticeably weakened. For example, you can argue that the Jays have enough starting pitching even without David Price. But it’s safe to say that fans of teams that are well into the negative are not as happy as those whose teams have spent money.

What’s interesting about this list is that some of the game’s historically biggest spenders are at or near the bottom. For example, who would have guessed that the New York Yankees would become one of the game’s more frugal franchises? And the team with the most money of all, the Dodgers, is at the bottom of the Disappointment Index, having lost out on Zack Greinke to the Diamondbacks.

As this list shows, even a rich team will drop out of the bidding if the price gets too high, which suggests that the teams that are spending big are overpaying for their talent. But, if the Cubs, Diamondbacks, or Red Sox wind up in the postseason next year, they will probably consider it money well spent.

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About davetill

I'm a writer and occasional web designer. I live in Toronto.
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