MILWAUKEE -- Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio defended his record of spending in the wake of comments made Tuesday by Yankees president Randy Levine, who accused Attanasio of whining about payroll discrepancies between the two teams. "Among other things, I didn't think I was whining," Attanasio said on Tuesday evening, about an hour before the Brewers played the Rockies at Miller Park. "I was just stating a simple fact." The back-and-forth began in USA Today, which quoted Attanasio pointing out the fact that the Brewers' entire Opening Day payroll was less than the Yankees will spend this season on their starting infield. That didn't sit well with Levine, who shot back via ESPNNewYork.com.
"I'm sorry that my friend, Mark, continues to whine about his running the Brewers," Levine said. "We play by all the rules, and there doesn't seem to be any complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years. Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your players. The question that should be asked is: Where has the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue sharing gone?" Attanasio said: "We do get a piece of revenue sharing. We appreciate it, and we need it, and we use it. We use pretty much all of our revenue-sharing dollars every year within our budget to put our team on the field. Our payroll is in the high 80 [million-dollar range]. "If you had access to the records, you would see that this organization spends its revenue-sharing dollars." The Major League Baseball Players Association reportedly agrees. New union chief Michael Weiner held up Attanasio during Spring Training as an example of an owner who spends his resources properly. "I think he has done a superb job," Weiner told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "The Brewers, from both a competitive standpoint and business standpoint, have really thrived under Mr. Attanasio." The Brewers' payroll is something in the neighborhood of $82-85 million, depending on how you calculate it. The team's own internal accounting, which includes so-called "likely incentives" in player contracts and about $2 million budgeted for in-season callups, has the figure in the neighborhood of $92 million. The Yankees began the season with a payroll near $200 million. Their four starting infielders -- first baseman Mark Teixeira, second baseman Robinson Cano, shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez -- will earn north of $85 million in 2010.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.