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Graphic compares Christian Walker and Juan Soto during Diamondbacks’ doubleheader

Aug 17, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker (53) reacts after a near home run call during the fourth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 MLB season has been quite the rollercoaster, yet if there’s one lesson it’s taught us, it’s that payroll might not hold the same weight as before.

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When examining the three largest payrolls in baseball, the list includes the New York Mets, New York Yankees, and the San Diego Padres.

These three teams share three commonalities: payrolls exceeding $250 million, records below .500, and their current absence from the playoff race.

Meanwhile, teams ranked lower in the standings like the Baltimore Orioles (28th) and the Tampa Bay Rays (27th), boast some of the best records in the MLB with fewer than 50 games remaining.

Players such as Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Manny Machado, and even Juan Soto arguably haven’t lived up to expectations in relation to the substantial contracts they secured over the past couple of offseasons

This prompted the creation of a graphic comparing Diamondbacks’ slugger Christian Walker and Padres’ Juan Soto during the two teams’ doubleheader on Saturday.

Over the last 15 days, Walker has ranked second in the league with an OPS of 1.236, hit six home runs (also second), and recorded 16 RBIs (also second).


The graphic illustrates that despite earning nearly $20 million less, Walker appears to be having a more productive year.

This season, the Diamondbacks are ranked 21st in payroll, which is actually up compared to last year.

So, this raises the question: Does payroll still hold the same significance in baseball anymore?

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