Big League Stew - MLB

Alex Rodriguez might be laughing in this photo, but I swear this isn't an April Fool's joke. The Associated Press just did a study of baseball's contracts and found that the Yankees third baseman makes more than the entire roster of the Florida Marlins combined.

Not by a little, either.

At $28 million a year, A-Rod makes much more than the 33-member Marlins opening day squad (a total that includes its disabled list), which will take home a relatively shallow pool of $21.8 million in 2008.

While that's still a lot for any group of any people to split, it illustrates just how unbalanced baseball salaries can be in today's game. No wonder the Marlins don't have very many fans. Why waste your time with an owner who isn't even pretending to field a competitive team?

Here are a few other staggering facts about Florida's sad excuse for a payroll, which has been compressed as far as possible by owner Jeffrey Loria, who *claims* to be waiting for the Marlins' new stadium to open in 2011 to start spending money.

• Florida's highest earner, reliever Kevin Gregg, doesn't even make the league average of $3.15 million per season. (He'll make $2.5 million in '08.)

• Mets pitcher Johan Santana makes $12 million a year more than Florida's entire starting rotation.

• The Marlins' payroll is less than half of the next-lowest team, the Tampa Bay Rays ($43.8 million). 

Of course, the ironic part is that while the Yankees will again be the top spending team with a $209.1 million payroll, the Marlins have won a World Series more recently (2003) than the ol' Bronx Bombers (2000). And, yes, Loria was technically Florida's owner back then. 

Still, that's no excuse for him to field one of the barest bones teams that baseball has ever seen. If it weren't so pathetic, it'd be a lot funnier than it already seems.

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