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Both World Series rosters cost less money than the Royals’ roster this year

But mo’ money = mo’ mistakes

MLB: World Series-Houston Astros at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The World Series is underway with two 100-win teams battling each other for baseball supremacy - the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. The teams represent two of the biggest markets in baseball, and the Dodgers topped all baseball teams in Opening Day salary this year at $225 million.

But the big money is not necessarily on the field for the Dodgers this World Series. If you take a look at their 25-man World Series roster, what the Dodgers actually paid them is less than the franchise-record $145 million the Royals paid for their 25-man Opening Day roster.

Dodgers 2017 World Series roster salaries

Player Salary Acquired
Player Salary Acquired
Clayton Kershaw $35,571,429 Draft
Andre Ethier $17,500,000 Trade
Justin Turner $13,000,000 Minor FA
Rich Hill $12,666,667 Free agent
Brandon McCarthy $11,500,000 Free agent
Kenley Jansen $11,333,333 Amateur FA
Yasiel Puig $8,214,286 Free agent
Logan Forsythe $7,000,000 Trade
Yasmani Grandal $5,500,000 Trade
Yu Darvish $3,300,000 Trade
Kenta Maeda $3,125,000 Free agent
Alex Wood $2,800,000 Trade
Chase Utley $2,000,000 Free agent
Tony Watson $1,680,000 Trade
Brandon Morrow $1,250,000 Free agent
Josh Fields $1,050,000 Trade
Corey Seager $575,000 Draft
Enrique Hernandez $555,000 Trade
Joc Pederson $555,000 Draft
Tony Cingrani $540,000 Trade
Ross Stripling $540,000 Draft
Austin Barnes $540,000 Trade
Clay Bellinger $535,000 Draft
Charlie Culberson $535,000 Minor FA
Chris Taylor $535,000 Trade
Dodgers 2017 World Series roster salaries

You can see much of the team was homegrown (Kershaw, Jansen, Bellinger, Seager) or acquired as cheap talent (Turner, Taylor). Now this is pro-rating salaries for players like Darvish, Watson, and Cingrani who were all acquired mid-season. But the cost to put together a team like this is within reach for the Royals.

So where did all that other money go? It is on the sidelines.

That number includes Adrian Gonzalez ($22.3 million), Carl Crawford ($21.8), Scott Kazmir ($11.66), Hyun-Jin Ryu ($7.8), Alexander Guerrero ($7.5), Erisbel Arruebarruena ($5.5), Hector Olivera ($4.66), Yasiel Sierra ($3.5), Sergio Romo ($3), Matt Kemp ($2.75), and Franklin Gutierrez ($2.6). The enormous resources of the Dodgers allows them to take more risks and make more mistakes. The Dodgers went out and signed a ton of international free agents. Only one of them has made it so far - Yasiel Puig - and he has been a huge plus, making the investment worth it for the Dodgers.

On the flip side, however, the Dodgers’ mistakes have mostly been covered up by young, cheap players. Carl Crawford was a huge bust, but the Dodgers made up for in the outfield with Enrique Hernandez, Joc Pederson, and Chris Taylor, cheap players that the Royals could have theoretically produced. Adrian Gonzalez is in the twilight of a massive deal, and no longer a productive player, but the Dodgers simply replaced him with a dynamic rookie making the league minimum in Cody Bellinger. The Royals had a flop with Alex Gordon, but were left with few alternatives to replace him (although perhaps they could have given more playing time to Jorge Bonifacio?)

The Astros World Series roster also comes in quite a bit under what the Royals paid this year. Here is what they are paying their players:

Astros 2017 World Series roster salaries

Player Salary Acquired
Player Salary Acquired
Brian McCann $17,000,000 Trade
Carlos Beltran $16,000,000 Free agent
Yuli Gurriel $14,400,000 Free agent
Josh Reddick $13,000,000 Free agent
Dallas Keuchel $9,150,000 Draft
Justin Verlander $8,400,000 Trade
Charlie Morton $7,000,000 Free agent
Luke Gregerson $6,250,000 Free agent
Evan Gattis $5,200,000 Trade
Jose Altuve $4,687,500 Amateur FA
Francisco Liriano $4,480,000 Trade
George Springer $3,900,000 Draft
Collin McHugh $3,850,000 Waivers
Marwin Gonzalez $3,725,000 Rule 5 draft
Will Harris $2,200,000 Waivers
Cameron Maybin $1,500,000 Waivers
Chris Devenski $554,400 Trade
Ken Giles $550,100 Trade
Lance McCullers $548,000 Draft
Joe Musgrove $543,400 Trade
Brad Peacock $541,500 Trade
Alex Bregman $539,400 Draft
Juan Centeno $535,500 Minor FA
Carlos Correa $535,000 Draft
Derek Fisher $535,000 Draft

These aren’t teams loaded with high-priced players. Alex Gordon was the highest-paid Royals player this year at $16 million, and only four players in this series will earn more than this year - Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Andre Ethier, and Brian McCann.

And Dayton Moore understands this. He has called free agency a “flawed” way to build a team. Like the Royals teams of 2014 and 2015, these teams have a good nucleus of good young players on the rise - Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Dallas Keuchel for the Astros, and Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Chris Taylor for the Dodgers.

So don’t fret if you see the eye-popping payroll of the Dodgers and think the game is returning to the way it was in the late 90s, when you needed a Visa Gold Card to get your team into the World Series. These teams are showing the formula is still the same - develop good young talent, get lucky on a few acquisitions, and supplement the roster with free agents. Hopefully the Royals can get back on the road to building that next great Royals team.