The Rays reached the World Series with the lowest payroll ever in relation to the Major League average, their season-opening figure of $43,820,598 representing 49 percent of the norm. The previous standard in that category was by the 2007 Colorado Rockies, whose payroll of $54 million was 66 percent of the Major League average. The Rays were Joe the Plumber among the Rockefellers of the American League East, the championship of which was their springboard to the 2008 World Series. Their season-opening payroll was the lowest in the AL, and especially dwarfed in the East Division, in which the four other teams averaged triple that at $127,089,955. That list was topped by the Majors' overall No. 1, the Yankees, at $209,081,579. Tampa Bay's ALCS victims, the Red Sox, had a payroll of $133,440,037. The Chicago White Sox, taken out by the Rays in the Division Series, ranked fifth in the AL with a payroll of $121,152,667. Tampa Bay's starting lineup for Sunday night's decisive Game 7 of the ALCS, including starting pitcher and series Most Valuable Player Matt Garza, totaled $18.4 million in salaries. Overall, the Rays' payroll ranks 29th among the 30 Major League teams. The Florida Marlins were last in the sport, with a payroll of $21,836,500.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.