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Baseball rankings: Who’s No. 1 (and best value) in MLB

The Miami Heat has proven it’s possible to buy your way into the NBA Finals. Could the same happen in baseball this season? Times staff writer Kevin Baxter puts a financial spin on his monthly team rankings (records and statistics through Thursday):

Luxury spending

1. PHILADELPHIA (37-26): Payroll nearly doubled — to $173 million — since 2007.

2. ST. LOUIS (38-26): Pujols (.391, 5 HRs last week) finally making salary drive.

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3. BOSTON (36-26): $49-million pitcher rotation a steal — for the players.

4. N.Y. YANKEES (33-27): Salaries top $200 million four straight seasons.

5. TEXAS (35-29): Hamilton, Cruz earning their $10.9 million.

Money’s worth

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6. DETROIT (34-28): Pizza king owner done throwing dough around.

7, CLEVELAND (34-26); MLB’s fourth-best record, 25th-highest payroll.

8. MILWAUKEE (35-28): Salaries down, record way up from 2010.

9. SAN FRANCISCO (35-28): Payroll got $22-million boost from World Series.

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10. ATLANTA (35-28): Low-priced Jurrjens ($3.25 million) tops MLB’s best staff.

11. CINCINNATI (33-31): Reigning MVP Votto a bargain at $5.5 million.

12. FLORIDA (31-30): Tightwad Marlins still cheap, competitive.

13. TAMPA BAY (33-29): Spending “just” $1.28 million per win.

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14. ARIZONA (34-29): Entered weekend 19-7 since mid-May.

15. SEATTLE (32-31): Will resurgent M’s be buyers or sellers at trade deadline?

Spare a dime?

16. TORONTO (32-31): New ownership spending wisely.

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17. COLORADO (30-32): Baseball-worst 8-21 in May.

18. ANGELS (30-34): Many needs but no cash left to address them.

19. DODGERS (29-35): Living paycheck to paycheck.

20. N.Y. METS (30-32): Madoff pals made bad investments here too.

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Futures investments

21. PITTSBURGH (30-31): Team of castoffs winning about half the time.

22. CHICAGO WHITE SOX (31-34): Can recent turnaround save Ozzie?

23. OAKLAND (27-37): Injuries cost Manager Bob Geren his job.

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24. SAN DIEGO (29-35): Padres hanging close in awful division.

25. BALTIMORE (29-31): Twelve players making less than $1 million.

26. CHICAGO CUBS (25-36): Look for an off-season housecleaning.

27. WASHINGTON (27-36): Biding time until Strasburg, Harper arrive.

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28. KANSAS CITY (27-36): Farm system is loaded, big-league team is not.

Bankrupt

29. MINNESOTA (24-38): Everything that can go wrong has for hapless Twins.

30. HOUSTON (24-39): Yikes!


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