Thursday, December 6, 2007

More about Marlins Money

And then there's this, actually written a few days before Tigers trade, by James Lincoln Ray at
An excerpt: "By shedding these stars, Florida was able to cut its payroll down to $14.9 million in 2006, which is less than 20% of the Major League average of $78 million. It was also less than half of the $31 million in revenue sharing dollars the team received that year. So, rather than using the money to retain or attract on-field talent, the owners took it as part of the team's MLB best $43 million profit in 2006."
Then came this: "P.S. -- On December 4, 2007, the Marlins agreed to trade their two highest paid players, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, to the Detroit Tigers for young prospects, a move that will likely insure that the Marlins will have the lowest payroll and one of the worst franchises in baseball in 2008."

1 comment:

rdfrench said...

Here are some interesting numbers:
MLB total revenues, per Selig: $6 billion
MLB total payroll expenses (base on reported salaries): $2.47 billion, approximately 41% of revenues. (That percentage was much higher in the late '90s and early '00s, I believe...)

Based on the estimates from Forbes magazine, and my best guess of their '08 payroll, the Marlins will spend less that 20%, and probably less that 15% in '08.

The NFL collective bargaining agreement in effect sets the percentage ( cap times number of teams) at something like 50% or so.

Here are some other interesting numbers: There are nine teams in MLB who come from larger SMSAs than the Marlins. Six of the nine share their respective markets (NYC, Chicago and LA).
Detroit, to which Cabrera and Willis were traded, is a smaller market.
Boston, with the second highest payroll in the sport, is slightly smaller than Detroit, and
San Francisco/Oakland is smaller still and supports two teams.
St. Louis, a prosperous and successful franchise, serves a market that is roughly half the size of S. Fla.
S. Fla. is bigger than Cleveland and Cincinnati combined!

And yet, somehow, S. Fla is considered a small market! That is absurd--it is the USA market with the greatest growth opportunity. If Loria/Samson were the regional managers for this region for some big, well run company, they would long ago have been fired for poor performance. (I'm convinced that MLB let them buy the Marlins because of their incompetence, not in spite of it. They want a team on the verge of going out of business to wave at the union during the next round of negotiations.)

When it comes to actually running a a baseball franchise as a business--taking care of existing customers, finding new ones, building long-term ties to those customers, all that good old fashioned boilerplate business stuff--the Marlins have been failures since 1998. Blame Huizenga for starting the trend, but neither Henry nor Loria has had the commitment or vision to reverse that trend. If anything, they have repeated Huizenga's mistake, by demanding taxpayer support for a stadium before they'll make any sort of financial commitment to the team.

After the 2003 season, and especially after the signing of Delgado, I was willing to give Loria the benefit of the doubt--they were doing a lot of things right. No more: show me the books, and answer all my questions about the books, then give me a binding written commitment that you will spend a certain percentage of revenues on major league payroll/signing bonuses, and that percentage is going to have to be really close to the league average, and then I'll let you build on the OB site with the subsidies that have already been discussed. Take it or leave it.