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Sunday Rockpile: Does money buy you playoffs? Yes, usually, but that doesn't mean you can't also get it for cheap.


Troy Renck takes up the big payroll argument touched on by others around the league. To me, this remains a little ridiculous to evern discuss. Two seasons ago everybody was writing about how small market teams like Arizona, Colorado and Cleveland were bursting the big players' bubbles, but now we're back to the OHNOEZ WEZE DOOMD sort of stories. In the long run and in the big picture, high payroll teams will go to the playoffs more than small payroll teams. This is a sort of statistical inevitability. Really, if the Yankees are charging as much as they are and driving off their root fans to become a boutique baseball experience for rich snobs, than they better be going to the playoffs frequently if they expect that business model to work.

The fact of the matter is, though, playoffs or not, they're ripping their fans off pretty badly compared to the Angels or even the Red Sox, as JinAZ explores in this fascinating study at Beyond the Boxscore, where he even ranks a team's value given to fans as a function of wins and beer prices. Really, this is the sort of thing that Sabermetricians need to be spending more time on.

Smart, well run small payroll teams like Tampa Bay or Minnesota will compete for the playoffs more than poorly run small payroll teams like Kansas City. For now, as Renck alludes, Rockies fans should be grateful that their team seems to be more in the former category. The big difference, however is that poorly run high payroll teams, like the Mets or Astros, for instance, can still compete for the playoffs at least half the time. So when you're in a part of the cycle where many of the better run small payroll teams like the A's, Indians and Twins are rebuilding or in off years, the big teams will be there to fill the void. It's the way baseball has always worked. My guess is that 2010 sees a shift back to the little guys as the Phillies go into decline and the Mets try to unwind themselves from their mess, Florida or Atlanta could take advantage. The Rays and Twins will probably be resurgent in the AL and the Rockies and D-backs will still be dangerous in the NL.  

Other links from the Denver Post:

Dave Krieger looks about the worry around Jason Marquis falling off from his stellar first half. It's probably going to happen, at least a little bit just because Marquis had some pretty solid luck before the break, but keep in mind that the Rockies are already benefitting by having another once unlucky pitcher (Jorge De La Rosa) turn around from an awful start so there's some evening out.

In the meantime, however, Marquis has a 3.67 ERA after the All-Star break so far, compared to a 3.65 ERA before. Really the only major difference in pre and post All-Star break Marquis has been that he's allowing twice as many doubles as he did before the break. It's not a good sign, as it indicates more pitches are getting elevated, but it's not a death knell either and could very well be correctable. 

Shooting the Bull(pen): 

Not so crazy flatlander:

Colorado will finish the season with 33 of its final 54 games at Coors Field.