October 26, 2003

Free-Agent Marlins Edge Out
Home-Grown NY Yankees


Let’s remember that the Florida Marlins, whom just beat out the New York Yankees in the 2003 World Series, are a collection of players that were acquired indirectly from hoards of money that Florida management threw at high-priced free agents, as compared to the New York Yankees, a team built through its farm system.

You'll read many stories in the news by supposed baseball 'experts' who tout the difference in organizational salaries between the two teams, incorrectly depicting the Marlins as the heros of the 'little guy'. These arguments are stilted and just plain wrong.

Team Payrolls according to ESPN:

  • New York Yankees $180,322,403

  • Florida Marlins $63,281,152

Let’s remember that the Marlins are full of younger players who are still being paid minimum baseball wages; as they go forward, guys like Cabrera, Beckett, and Pierre will have to be paid according to market prices, and at that point you can compare team salaries of the Yankees and Marlins.

Let’s also remember that when the Yankees were winning in ’96 thru 2000, they had a lower payroll than many of the top teams in baseball because back then the Yankees young stars were still being paid minimum.

MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL -- let’s remember that the Yankees feature a team based on stars that were brought up through their farm system, more than any other team in baseball today (including the California Angels). Which makes it fun as a fan to root for them.

The Marlins, in contrast, are a team built on free agency. They spent huge bucks to buy their first championship in ’97, and then turned those free agents over in trades to bring in young players who are as yet inexpensive, but will soon be expensive.

Here’s the rundown:

C: Ivan Rodriquez – high priced free agent

IB: Derrek Lee – Acquired from SD Padres for Kevin Brown, whom Fla got as high-priced free agent

2B: Luis Castillo – came up thru Fla farm system

3B: Mike Lowell – came up thru NY Yankees farm system; acquired in trade (ps: the players Fla traded to Yankees were indirect result of Fla signing high-priced free agents Mike Piazza (traded for Ed Yarnell who was used as trade bait to Yanks) and Moises Alou (traded for Mark Johnson who was used as trade bait to Yanks)

SS: Alex Gonzalez – amateur free agent came up thru Fla farm system.

RF: Juan Encarnacion – indirect result of high-priced free agency – acquired in trade with Detroit for Ryan Dempster who was acquired for John Burkett who was high-priced free agent.

CF: Juan Pierre – acquired in trade from Colorado.

LF: Miguel Cabrera – came up thru Florida farm system

DH: Jeff Conine – acquired in trade.

P: Josh Beckett – came up thru Fla farm system

P: Brad Penny – acquired in trade from Arizona, for Matt Mantei (free agent signing)

P: Carl Pavano – acquired in trade for Cliff Floyd (himself acquired in trade by Fla)

RP: Urgeth Urbina – acquired in trade.

Operative Word for Florida Marlins – High-Priced Free Agency


Now check out the 2003 New York Yankees:

C: Jorge Posada – came up thru Yankees farm system

IB: Nick Johnson – came up thru Yankees farm system

2B: Alfonso Soriano – came up thru Yankees farm system

SS: Derek Jeter – came up thru Yankees farm system

3B: Aaron Boone – acquired via trade for Brandon Claussen, who came up thru Yankees farm system

RF: Juan Rivera – came up thru Yankees farm system

CF: Bernie Williams – came up thru Yankees farm system

LF: Hideki Matsui – high-priced free agent

DH: Jason Giambi – high-priced free agent

P: Andy Pettitte – came up thru Yankees farm system

P: Roger Clemens – acquired in trade for David Wells, who was acquired as medium-priced free agent (coming off 11-14 year and took less money than other teams to play with Yanks)

P: Mike Mussina – high-priced free agent

P: David Wells – high-priced free agent

P: Mariano Rivera – came up thru Yankees farm system 

Derek Jeter is one of many star players brought up through Yankee system.

Also remember important ingredients to previous Yankee championships were Paul O’Neil (acquired in trade for Roberto Kelly, who came up thru Yankees farm system), Tino Martinez (acquired in trade for Sterling Hitchcock and Russ Davis, who both came up thru Yankees farm system), Chuck Knoblach (acquired in trade for Eric Milton and Jose Guzman, who both came up thru Yankees farm system), and David Cone (acquired in trade with Toronto for two young pitchers from Yankees farm system).

Operative word – Yankees farm system.