[W]e find that contending teams do pay more for scarce superstars…. The 40% premium paid by contending teams is especially interesting given that the conventional wisdom might imply otherwise…. Given that the expected extra revenue associated with making the playoffs may be worth about $11 million, paying such a player an extra $2.8 million should be considered a bargain.
Anthony C. Krautmann and James Ciecka. “The Postseason Value of an Elite Player to a Contending Team,” Journal of Sports Economics, 2009 10: 168-179.