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Statement: “The San Diego Padres began the season with the 29th-highest payroll in baseball, at just under $38 million — or about two-thirds of what the Yankees spent on the left side of their infield,” The New York Times reported on its baseball blog, Bats, Oct. 3.

Determination: True

Analysis: The Gray Lady took a look at the Padres’ uncertain future following their disappointing season-ending loss on the final day of the 2010 season. The team that few people gave any chance of competing this year came within one game of playing for the National League’s Western Division championship and nearly made the playoffs.

The Padres’ opening-day payroll came in as the second-lowest in Major League Baseball at $37.8 million, according to CBS Sports. That’s about $14 million less than the third-lowest team, the Oakland Athletics, and about $3 million more than league’s lowest team, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Padres’ meager payroll is often compared to the free-spending New York Yankees, whose tab came in at $206.3 million. The Times took that one step further Sunday, saying the Padres’ entire 2010 roster was but a fraction of the money the Yankees spent on their third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, and their shortstop, Derek Jeter.

That’s accurate. Rodriguez’s opening-day salary was $33 million, while Jeter’s was $22.6 million, according to CBS Sports. Together, their salaries equal $55.6 million. The Padres’ total payroll was less than 68 percent — or about two-thirds — of those two players’ salaries.

Rodriguez and Jeter are the first and third highest-paid players in the majors. All told, the Yankees employ the four highest-paid players in the league.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

You can also e-mail new Fact Check suggestions to factcheck@voiceofsandiego.org. What claim should we explore next?

Please contact Andrew Donohue at andrew.donohue@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0526. Follow him on Twitter: @AndrewDonohue.

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