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Topkin Talks: Payroll

The Sunday weekly column is out, and this edition talks about payroll, the highlights:

That's because all three ranked at the low end of the major-league payroll list. The Indians, at $61.7-million on opening day, were 23rd; the Rockies, at $54.4-million, 25th; and the D'backs, at $52.1-million, 26th.

"I think what that says is that it's possible to win with a payroll in the bottom third," Indians GM Mark Shapiro said during the ALCS (and after the D'backs were out). "But Colorado and Cleveland are both examples of having to have a good plan in place, being dependent and reliant upon player development, scouting, Latin American operations, and a good organization from top to bottom making efficient decisions."

Fair enough, but there is a difference between 28 million and 52.1 million, especially considering that the D-Backs playoff roster is missing about 17 million of that payroll.

The Rays were 30th, at around $24-million, and even with Stuart Sternberg's promised 20 percent increase into the mid 30s are likely to be at or near the bottom again.

But at least they can see what's possible.

"It certainly confirms our belief that payroll doesn't decide the standings," Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "We feel very strongly about our overall plan and feel like we've made significant progress. But the most important part of that development process and plan is in the coming years, and we're very confident not only that we'll play at an extremely high level but have the same core players for many, many years."

That's fine, a lot of us would rather keep our players, particularly the Scott Kazmirs and B.J. Uptons of the world, but the frustration comes from the feeling that the team isn't doing everything it can to win.

Nothing else extremely notable, although Maddon is heading to the Venezuelan camp and Chuck LaMar could be considered for the Phillies' general manager position if / when Pat Gillick retires.