Major League Baseball\'s 10 Most Brilliantly Run Franchises

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Wins per Payroll Dollars

Rank: 30th (est. $420,000 per win since 2008) 

No one pays more per victory than the Yankees. The Red Sox are the next closest at an estimated $332,000. But how can you blame them? They're filthy rich and it's not on accident. Even though they have had the ability to outspend every other team, they do a lot of things right.

Division Rankings/Playoff Appearances

Rank: 1st

On their way to a 19th-consecutive winning season that has included 17 playoff appearances and five World Series championships, the Yankees have spoiled their fanbase to the point where they've come to expect it. It's really not this easy, though. Especially not this season—their most challenging in recent memory due to payroll limitations and several injuries to key players.

General manager Brian Cashman is proving that he's not only underrated, but also one of the best in the game at his job. Sure, he's probably gotten way more than expected out of acquisitions Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells, but he's done a terrific job of assembling just enough depth to keep the Yankees competitive until they can get healthy.

Player Acquisitions



Notable acquisitions

Pre-2013: Travis Hafner, DH (free agent); Lyle Overbay, 1B (free agent); Kevin Youkilis, 3B/1B (free agent); Vernon Wells, OF (trade); Shawn Kelley, RP (trade)

Pre-2012: Raul Ibanez, OF (free agent); Hiroki Kuroda, SP (free agent); Andy Pettitte, SP (free agent); Michael Pineda, SP (trade) 

In-season: Ichiro Suzuki, OF (trade)

Pre-2011: Russell Martin, C (free agent); Eric Chavez, 3B/1B (free agent); Andruw Jones, OF (free agent); Bartolo Colon, SP (free agent); Freddy Garcia, SP (free agent) 

Pre-2010: Curtis Granderson, OF (trade); Javier Vazquez, SP (trade); Boone Logan, RP (trade) 

In-season: Lance Berkman, 1B (trade); Kerry Wood, RP (trade) 

Pre-2009: Mark Teixeira, 1B (free agent); Nick Swisher, OF (trade); A.J. Burnett, SP (free agent); CC Sabathia, SP (free agent)

In-season: Jerry Hairston, Jr, IF/OF (trade) 

Pre-2008: LaTroy Hawkins, RP (free agent)

In-season: Ivan Rodriguez, C (trade)

Farm System Rankings

Rank: 13th

Just because the farm system hasn't been producing All-Star caliber talent as of late doesn't mean it hasn't been good. They traded their top hitting prospect, Jesus Montero, for top-of-the-rotation starter Michael Pineda before last season, but he's been hurt since. They also traded away several good prospects, including Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Arodys Vizcaino, before the 2010 season to acquire Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez.

The focus with the Yankees is always "win-now," so the players developed on the farm, especially those that build up trade value, don't always make it to New York. The team's best prospects now, including catcher Gary Sanchez and center fielder Mason Williams, are in the low minors and could be used as trade bait if the Yankees want to strengthen their 25-man roster at the trade deadline or next offseason.

Top 101 Prospects


2 (ranking in parentheses)

The aforementioned Sanchez (47) and Williams (51) are playing for High-A Tampa, where they're still a few years away from reaching the majors. Sanchez isn't considered a great defender but has huge potential at the plate. Sound familiar? He may have a better shot to stick behind the plate than Montero but it's his bat that will get him to the majors. 

At just 21 years of age, Williams could be the Yankees' center fielder and leadoff man of the future. He had a .380 on-base percentage in April, although he's been slumping as of late.

Homegrown Talent


23 homegrown players on 40-man roster  

Three future Hall of Famers in Robinson Cano (amateur free agent, 2001), Derek Jeter (first-round pick, 1992) and Mariano Rivera (amateur free agent, 1990) are still with the team but might not be around after the 2013 season. Cano will be the top free agent available after the season, Rivera is retiring and Jeter could opt to retire after missing most of this year with an ankle injury. 

The remaining homegrown group, including David Robertson (17th round, 2006) and Brett Gardner (third round, 2005), consists mostly of players who are good, but don't have the ability to step in for Cano, Jeter or Rivera as the leaders of the clubhouse.




Attendance continues to dip since the opening of new Yankee Stadium in 2009 (38,000/per game in 2013, 44,000 in 2012, 45,000  in 2011, 46,000 in 2010). Maybe Yankees fans are so used to playing in the postseason that the regular season is becoming less interesting. Maybe the effect of the new stadium is wearing off. Maybe word hasn't spread that the team is way better than expected.

In any case, things should get exciting in the AL East down the stretch, and Yankees fans will come out to see Rivera and possibly Jeter on the field for the last time. 

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Major League Baseball's 10 Most Brilliantly Run Franchises
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