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Los Angeles Dodgers ($249M)

53-31, 2nd in the NL West
The Dodgers sit a half game out of the West, behind the NL surprise San Francisco Giants, who continue to fend off runs from LA and San Diego. A major injury to pending free agent SS Corey Seagar is easily the biggest cause for concern down the stretch, but LA seems to have enough firepower to stick near the top of the league.


New York Yankees ($201M)

42-41, 4th in the AL East
Not only are the Yankees not going to win 100 games, but 80 is now in question based on a midseason outlook. The bombers aren’t bombing, and seem resistant to small ball whenever that trickles into their game. The starting pitching has been injured and unimpressive, and Aroldis Chapman is far from superhuman all of a sudden. Changes are coming.


New York Mets ($196M)

43-37, 1st in the NL East
Despite a rash of injuries across the roster, the Mets have hung onto a consistent lead in the NL East, holding off runs from Washington, Philly, & Atlanta at various times. This is set to be a legitimate 4-team battle through the dog days, but the Mets are just now starting to get healthier, which could mean good things for that other NY team. Grabbing an arm at the deadline seems to make sense.


Houston Astros ($192M)

52-33, 1st in the AL West
This was the year they were supposed to drop off into reality. Instead, they’ve soared past a very good Athletics team, holding a comfortable division lead at the midway point, all with two of their starter pitchers, and Alex Bregman on the shelf for most of it. A late summer return for the latter could make these team even more dangerous down the stretch.


Philadelphia Phillies ($183M)

39-42, 4th in the NL East
Philly just can’t seem to find their stride on a consistent basis, and appear destined to be a .500 team yet again. There’s an awful lot of firepower in this lineup though, so a few hot stretches through the summer could keep this team afloat, despite obvious deficiencies in the rotation and bullpen.


Notable Notes

  • 4 of the 10 lowest spending teams have a winning percentage north of .500, led by the Brewers, who carry a 51-34 record (1st in NL Central), despite the 21st highest payroll.
  • After a miserable 2019-20, and the controversial exit of Mookie Betts, the Boston Red Sox hold a 4.5 game lead in the AL East despite the 7th highest payroll ($177M). It’s the lowest they’ve ranked in payroll for over a decade.
  • The 1st place White Sox carry the 15th highest payroll in baseball, putting them in the sweet spot of balance + success. They’re a team to watch both at the trade deadline, and in the postseason.
  • The Indians traded Mike Clevinger & Francisco Lindor, then lost ace Shane Bieber to injury, & still find themselves 3 games over .500 at the deadline. It’s likely not sustainable, but it’s notable.
  • After a good two month run at the top of the NL Central, the Cubs have fallen back down to earth, now 8.5 games out of the lead. Their $155M payroll is good enough for 11th, but with a handful of star players set to become free agents, Chicago may be open for business this month.


Related Links:View all 30 2021 MLB Payrolls