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July 13, 2012 09:29 ET

BMO Issues Money Ball All-Star Break Report

- BMO's Harris Private Bank Report examines relationship between payroll and performance in Major League Baseball

- Toronto Blue Jays' $75 million payroll suggests a .496 winning percentage

- Tale of two teams in Chicago: White Sox punching above their weight; Cubbies struggling this year

TORONTO, ONTARIO and CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--(Marketwire - July 13, 2012) - BMO Financial Group's Harris Private Bank today released a financial analysis of Major League Baseball's winners and losers at the unofficial half-way mark of the 2012 season.*

"Major League Baseball is the closest thing to a free market in sports," said Jack Ablin, Chief Investment Officer, Harris Private Bank. "Large market teams have financial resources to attract and cultivate the best talent and build the best rosters. While the wealthiest teams in the American League generally have the best winning percentages, the National League is pretty much up for grabs so far this year."

Hot on the heels of baseball's annual all-star game in Kansas City, Mr. Ablin's Money Ball All-Star Break report examines whether money can buy a winning team. Here are his top winners and losers of the 2012 season so far, based on payroll and performance:

American League:


  • Texas Rangers: With a $120 million** payroll, the Texas Rangers have already set a high bar on performance. The team's winning percentage should be about .530, yet the team is playing .600 baseball.

  • New York Yankees: The Bronx Bombers find themselves five games atop the toughest division in baseball. Admittedly, the team has a payroll of nearly $200 million, but they are delivering a winning percentage that is 41 points above expectations.

  • Chicago White Sox: The Chicago White Sox have reinvented themselves into a winning team this year. Their $97 million payroll should have them winning at a .514 clip. However, they are shocking the baseball world by being in first place in the American League Central Division with a winning percentage of .560.


  • Boston Red Sox: This year the Red Sox are playing .500 baseball; they are tied for last place in the division with Toronto, a team with a $75 million payroll - substantially less than Boston's $175 million salary tab. If Boston fans were getting true dollar-to-wins value, the Red Sox would playing at a .556 clip.

  • Minnesota Twins: The Twins - a team accustomed to winning - are trailing the league in runs (ranked 18th) and batting average (ranked 16th); they are currently 83 points below where we would expect their winning percentage to be based on their $94 million payroll. The team has failed on virtually all fronts: pitching, hitting and fielding.

  • Seattle Mariners: Given their $82 million payroll, the team should be playing above .500 instead of at a .412 pace. The team lost 95 games last season, right now they are on pace to lose 94.

National League


  • Washington Nationals: The Washington Nationals are delivering a large market winning percentage on a small market budget. Based on their $81-million salary tab, we would have expected the Nationals to win at a .485 clip, not .598. This is a big turnaround year for the team.

  • Pittsburgh Pirates: For a team that had 19 losing seasons in a row, findings the Pirates in first place is a refreshing change for Pittsburgh fans. The Bucs' $63 million payroll implies a .475 winning percentage, yet the team has punched out a .560 win/loss percentage so far this year.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers have been consistent winners over the last several years and this year is no different. LA's new ownership is getting value for their dollars: the team's $95 million payroll suggests a .491 winning percentage, not the .553 baseball they have been playing so far this year.


  • Chicago Cubs: While management was able to cut team salaries to $88 million this year, the Cubbies were unable to deliver the corresponding .488 winning percentage and are stuck at a .381 pace.

  • Philadelphia Phillies: The team spent an eye-popping $174 million this season, nearly $60 million more than their nearest league competitor. However, they have a .430 winning percentage (not the .516 record we would have expected).

  • Colorado Rockies: The Rockies are vying for the worst record in the league. While they are going to have to fight it out with the Houston Astros for that that unfortunate distinction, the difference is the Rockies' payroll is nearly $20 million larger than Houston's. They have a .381 winning percentage, while our numbers suggest they should be playing almost .500 baseball.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $525 billion as at April 30, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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*Team win/loss records are as of the completion of games on July 7, 2012

**All amounts in US $

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