Forget, for a moment, all the nostalgia inherently associated with the game and its idyllic title as “America’s pastime,” and remember that baseball, just like any venture, is a business driven in large part by dollars-and-cents decisions.
By that view, the Giants have already proven their worth as winners, even before the team’s National League Championship Series showdown against the free-spending Philadelphia Phillies.
A comparison of the two teams’ primary starting pitchers shows that the Giants are getting a much better bang for their buck than their Philadelphia counterpart, which is spending more than twice as much money for its production.
San Francisco’s young combination of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez pulled in $15.6 million this year, a hefty sum in nearly any other industry on the planet, but relative peanuts compared to the big earners on the Phillies.
In fact, Phillies ace Roy Halladay makes that much alone and, combined with midseason pickup Roy Oswalt’s $15 million
salary and Cole Hamels at $6.65 million, the Philadelphia trio accounts for a total of $37.4 million.
All three of the Phillies’ main starters have had outstanding years, so it is not as if Philadelphia is throwing away the money, but the Giants trio has been more cost-effective.
With a combined 42 victories, the Giants paid $373,809 for each win from Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez, a figure that looks big until you consider that the Phillies shelled out $813,043 for each of the 46 wins picked up by Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels.
The picture looks very much the same when talking about strikeouts, as Giants management paid an average of $25,611 for each of the 613 K’s rung up by its starting trio. By comparison, the Phillies handed out $60,032 per strikeout.
The Giants look like financial geniuses — with one big exception. Barry Zito earned $18.5 million this season en route to nine wins, but was left off the roster for the first round of the playoffs and may not pitch against the Phillies.
That investment clunker by the team proves that when it comes to finances, the story is much the same as sports — you win some and you lose some.