5 Highest Brewers payrolls of the Mark Attanasio era

What are the top payrolls Mark Attanasio has run as owner of the Brewers
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The subject of a team's player payroll is always a hot button issue, especially for a small market team like the Milwaukee Brewers. Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio has certainly drawn his share of criticism from sections of the fan base for the payrolls he's run.

The economics of baseball are complex and unlike any other of the top professional sports leagues. The NFL, NHL, and NBA all operate with salary caps and revenue splits with players, so spending is largely even across the board and doesn't fluctuate that much. There's a limit on what those teams can spend so ownership doesn't get quite as much ridicule with how much they pay players because they have to operate within a cap system.

Baseball doesn't have a salary cap, which is to the chagrin of some, and leaves a wider variance in payrolls between clubs and a club itself can have wider variance from year to year in what they spend on players. An up cycle or down cycle can inflate or deflate what the team spends on payroll. The Brewers saw that during their rebuild in the mid-2010s.

Mark Attanasio has been the principal owner of the Milwaukee Brewers since 2005, buying the team from the Selig family. Here are the top five payrolls the Brewers have operated with since he took over the club.

Payroll numbers courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts

5. 2015

Opening Day payroll: $104,237,000
League rank: 20th

End of year payroll: $98,089,079
League rank: 23rd

The 2015 season was an ill-fated one for the Brewers. Coming off a collapse down the stretch in 2014, the Brewers struggled out of the gate in 2015, manager Ron Roenicke was fired a month into the season, Craig Counsell was installed, and the rebuild began. Still, they ran a high payroll that year when they began to tear it down.

The end of year payroll was lower than Opening Day after the trades of Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez, Mike Fiers, Johnathan Broxton, and Gerardo Parra at the Trade Deadline.

The highest paid players on this team were Ramirez ($14MM), Ryan Braun ($13MM), Matt Garza ($12.5MM), and Kyle Lohse ($11MM). Four of the eight highest paid players on this team were traded away in July.

Milwaukee finished the year with a 68-94 record, good for 4th place in the NL Central.