Bruce Bochy’s head is enormous. He wears a cap size larger than an 8. That’s big. But he’s carrying a lot of baseball knowledge under that cap, so it’s fair.
Since becoming a manager, Bochy has compiled a near-.500 record at 1336-1349. Early next season, he should eclipse the .500 mark with the Giants. This begs the question, what separates Bochy’s career with San Diego and his career with San Francisco?
Bochy is 24 games under .500 for his career with the Padres, but 11 games over with the Giants. He is a baseball guy and a great strategist, but perhaps he was being held back in San Diego. Let’s take a look at payroll figures for Bochy’s tenure in San Diego compared to San Francisco.
1995 Padres – $25,962,334
1996 Padres – $27,814,172*
1997 Padres – $36,401,672
1998 Padres – $46,110,500**
1999 Padres – $40,801,513
2000 Padres – $40,099,333
2001 Padres – $38,702,833
2002 Padres – $33,055,000
2003 Padres – $33,610,000
2004 Padres – $51,534,833***
2005 Padres – $57,073,833*
2006 Padres – $64,396,141*
Now let’s look at the Giants:
2007 Giants – $80,352,837
2008 Giants – $70,934,000
2009 Giants – $77,063,700***
2010 Giants – $98,186,333**
* Division Title (the Giants are currently in 1st place this season)
**NL Pennant (note: the Giants went on to win the World Series in 2010)
Bochy was given an average salary of $41,296,597 in San Diego. And as shown by his NL Pennant year and final three winning seasons, a little bit larger payroll allowed him to navigate the team to success.
So far in San Francisco, Bochy has been allowed an average salary of $81,634,218. Almost double his average payroll with the Padres.
I’ve always been a proponent of playing small ball, building around defense and pitching, and infusing youth into the lineup. I’ve always felt that with the right combination, payroll should not matter much. However, there are certain barriers to success, and an absurdly low payroll is one of them.
Bruce Bochy has proven he is a good manager. To spend 12 seasons in San Diego with an average payroll hovering around $41 million, and to still only finish 24 games under .500 is impressive. Imagine what he could have done with an average payroll of $50 million. We will never know, but we get to watch his mind at work with less limitations and more freedom now in San Francisco. As the only manager in San Francisco history to win a World Series, I think he’s proven spending a little more money works when you have the right skipper.