Tag: Best Slideshows – League

Ranking MLB’s Most Valuable Teams

Mike Ozanian is a senior editor at Forbes, and this is a guest column for Bleacher Report.

Baseball has emerged from the recession with a big bang.

The average MLB franchise is now worth $523 million, an all-time high and 7% more than last year. All of the league’s teams rose in value except for three: the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians. The increase in team values is the result of greater revenue for teams playing in new stadiums, like the New York Yankees (up 6% in value to $1.7 billion) and Minnesota Twins (up 21% to $491 million) as well as the Florida Marlins (up 13% to $360 million), who are scheduled to move into their new stadium in 2012.

Strong attendance and local television ratings boosted the values for teams like the Philadelphia Phillies (up 13% to $609 million) and Cincinnati Reds (up 13% to $375 million). The Yankees are baseball’s most valuable team for the 14th straight year (since Forbes began valuing franchises in 1998). The gap between the Yankees and No. 2 Baltimore in 1998 was 12%. Today the Yankees are 86% more valuable than No. 2 Boston.

The top 10 MLB teams:

#1 New York Yankees: $1.7 billion

#2 Boston Red Sox: $912 million

#3 Los Angeles Dodgers: $800 million

#4 Chicago Cubs: $773 million

#5 New York Mets: $747 million

#6 Philadelphia Phillies: $609 million

#7 San Francisco Giants: $563 million

#8 Texas Rangers: $561 million

#9 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: $554 million

#10 Chicago White Sox: $526 million


Yankee Global Enterprises is a three-engine money-making machine. The baseball team generated $325 million in revenue from regular-season tickets and luxury suites in 2010. Sponsorship revenue at the stadium is $85 million annually thanks to deals with PepsiCo, Bank of America, MasterCard, Delta Air Lines and others.

The YES Network, the team’s 34%-owned regional sports channel, is the most profitable RSN in the country and had over $400 million in revenue last year. The Yankees own a stake in Legends Hospitality Management, which manages stadiums, and generates $25 million in operating income. The enterprise value for the Yankees, YES and Legends is $5.1 billion.

Another big winner was the Texas Rangers (up 25%, to $561 million). Ray Davis and Bob Simpson bought the team, the lease to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and some nearby real estate from Tom Hicks in a bankruptcy court auction for $593 million in July. Not only are the Rangers, which needed assistance from MLB to meet payroll last season, much better capitalized (the new owners infused the team with $225 million of equity), the team also has a new, richer cable deal. It signed a 20-year TV deal with Fox Sports Southwest that is expected to pay more than $1.5 billion over the life of the contract. The afterglow of the team’s first World Series appearance in October will also boost sponsorship and ticket revenues this year.

A year ago baseball teams were still fretting about the recession and what it might mean for attendance. Yet 73 million fans showed up at the ballpark last summer, which was the sixth highest total of all-time and down just 0.4% from 2009. Twenty teams drew at least 2 million fans, while nine teams topped the 3 million mark, led by the Yankees at 3.8 million. An overall improvement in the economy and better lending conditions boosted the average multiple of revenues that teams are valued at slightly to 2.5.

Overall, revenue for baseball’s 30 teams increased 4%, to $6.1 billion. Total operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) fell 5%, to $494 million as rising stadium (rent and operating costs) and team (marketing and player development) expenses ate into profits.

The most profitable team was the San Diego Padres, which had an operating income of $37 million in 2010. The team’s attendance surged by 200,000 at Petco Park as the Padres finished just two games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West. The Padres managed to post a 90-72 record despite a payroll of just $38 million, which was the lowest in baseball. The Padres also benefited from a revenue-sharing check of more than $30 million.

Thanks to more than $400 million sent from high-revenue to low-revenue teams, several teams with low attendance were able to post operating profits of at least $10 million. Among them: the Pittsburgh Pirates ($25 million), Kansas City Royals ($10 million), Oakland Athletics ($23 million) and Marlins ($20 million).

Only three teams had a negative operating income in 2010: the Detroit Tigers (-$29 million), Mets (-$6 million) and Boston Red Sox (-$1 million), which collectively spent $475 million on players (including benefits and bonuses). Each ranked among the top six biggest spenders last year, but the Mets and Red Sox own stakes in regional sports networks, which offset any losses on the diamond.

Bad news in baseball? Two marquee franchises, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Mets, are suffocating from debt and legal issues. The Dodgers, owned by Frank McCourt and his estranged wife Jamie, have $433 million of debt, while the Mets, owned by Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, owe creditors $450 million. Both teams are begging lenders for more money and are looking for investors.

The Dodgers and Mets problems could seep into the rest of the MLB. The Mets’ overall revenue fell 13% last year thanks to a 25% drop in gate receipts. The Dodgers’ total revenue was flat. Problems among big-market teams caused baseball’s revenue-sharing pool to shrink last season for the first time since the new sharing system was put in place in 2002. Low-revenue teams divvied up $404 million compared to $433 million in 2009, with the Yankees writing the biggest check of $119 million. The Mets’ revenue is expected to fall further in 2011, which could dent revenue-sharing even more.

Kurt Badenhausen and Christina Settimi of Forbes.com also contributed to this story.

See the Full List Ranking MLB’s Most Valuable Teams

Plus, check out more great content from Forbes.com:

MLB’s Highest Paid Players

NBA’s Most Valuable Teams

NBA’s Highest Paid Players

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2011 MLB Predictions: The 10 Most Compelling Stories of the Season

We’re just a couple short weeks away from meaningful baseball.

All the offseason moves, the talk from experts and promise of young prospects will come to a head and we’ll once again be reminded of why we not only love this game, but hate when it isn’t around.

The most compelling for me is Opening Day. I love it. I make the jaunt to Seattle every year to watch my Mariners embark on another campaign, even though I know the outcome may not make me do back flips.

On a national level, though, there are so many intriguing stories.

Of course, you end up with surprises like last year’s no hitters and (almost included) perfect games. You have milestones and injuries. Breakout stars and steady hands.

Let’s look at what we think, and hope, will be interesting this season.

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MLB Fantasy: AJ Burnett and 11 Players Who Will Be Worth a Gamble in Your Draft

Spring training is upon us, and for baseball nuts like me, it’s time to start scouting for fantasy baseball.  Whether you like the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees or even a random team like the Arizona Diamondbacks, there’s no denying that fantasy baseball is tons of fun!  Soon, the trash-talking will be flying high in the draft room and new rivalries will be forged.

I could go on and on about which players are a lock for a good season, which players will get the most home runs, etc.  But let’s instead take a look at players who are solid but are still a question mark in terms of effectiveness in 2011.  Should the pitching staff be supported by tricky Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly or unpredictable AJ Burnett (pictured at left) of the New York Yankees?

Here are 11 players from around the league who, despite an off 2010, are worth a shot this season.

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Adam Wainwright and 10 Other Pitchers Who Had Tommy John Surgery

It was announced today that Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals will need Tommy John surgery.

Having been one of the most valuable pitchers in baseball over the last couple seasons, this is a huge blow to a Cardinals team that could be trying to make one last run with slugger Albert Pujols before he tests free agency.

Here’s a look at other pitchers who have had the surgery and what it cost their teams.

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Albert Pujols Rumors: Indentifying The Top 10 Teams That Will Not Sign Him

Have you ever wondered what goes through your girlfriend’s mind when she stops dead in her tracks, her eyes glaze over and she goes into a trance while looking at that ring in the window?

That’s what this is for men. Players like this only become freely available once a generation, and we too have paused and slipped into an alternative universe where this shiny jewel could be ours.

Well, at the risk of being the bearer of bad news, the parallels don’t stop there. There are only so many guys who can drop five grand just to make their girl smile, and only so many teams who can throw $300 million at a player.

In case you’re just back from a sabbatical in the Himalayas, Albert Pujols has reportedly cut off negotiations with the St. Louis Cardinals and plans to dip his toe into the murky waters of free agency.

While his legs dangle off the dock and you have visions of the fortunes of your team turning around by way of the hottest free agent signing in baseball history, I’ll have to ask you to snap out of it.

For you, the fans of the forthcoming 10 teams, it’s just not in the cards.

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MLB Predictions: Josh Hamilton and the 2011 AL West Preseason All-Stars

The AL West in 2010 was full of “firsts.” The Texas Rangers played in their first Fall Classic. The Oakland A’s Dallas Braden threw the season’s first perfect game.

The Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim lost their first baseman on a celebration at home plate after a home run, and the Seattle Mariners…well, the Seattle Mariners spent a lot of money last year and didn’t finish first, but they did have the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner in Felix Hernandez.

This installment will look at the preseason All-Stars for the AL West. The team makeup will be as follows: five starting pitchers, three relief pitchers, and then one DH, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman and a shortstop.

Undoubtedly somebody will get left off, so make your argument for your player to be a member of this AL West All-Star team.

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MLB Power Rankings: Picking the Best Hitter-Pitcher Combo in the AL

This week, we take a look at the best hitter-pitcher combo in the American League.

I’m one who believes total value wins championships. Not pitching, not defense and not a power bat. If you have the overall balance and more total value, you’re the best.

So, then, it would be important to have both a solid bat (who can play defense, but that’s not factored in here) and an ace on the mound. A door slammer if you will.

There are a few things I valued highly when sorting these rankings. Some of them will be viewed as unconventional to some readers, and that’s fine. I welcome any and all comments below.

For batters, I used an advanced metric called Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+). The link can explain this to you far better than I can. In a nut shell, though, wRC+ is a park and league adjusted stat that combines everything a player does to contribute to runs scored.

Why is this better than conventional stats? It’s not Player A’s fault no one is ever in scoring position when he gets a hit, so RBI is kind of sneaky in that it doesn’t tell the whole story. Same with Player B who always gets stranded at third. His run total isn’t revealing everything.

For pitchers, I went with Fangraph’s version of WAR. Pretty much every way I looked at pitchers, they shook out in the same order. I put very little stock into stats like wins for pitchers, but having to defend that became a lot less likely now that Felix Hernandez won a Cy Young with such a low win total.

For both pitchers and hitters, I made some adjustments for expected regression due to age, luck etc.

Now that we have that stuff out of the way, let’s get to the results.

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MLB Free-Agent Rumors: Ranking the Top 20 Remaining on the Market

It’s almost here.

In just about two weeks, cities and small towns across Florida and Arizona will be invaded by baseball players honing their craft and getting back into shape for the six month, 162-game grind ahead.

But before pitchers and catchers report, there are still players looking for work and trying to land with a team. And sometimes the bargains found in late January into February turn out to be some of the biggest steals of the free-agent market. 

Out of the notable players still looking for work, these are the best who can still make a contribution to whatever team they sign with or possibly make the team out of camp. So without further ado, here are the 20 best available free agents.

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Dustin Pedroia, Jimmy Rollins and Major League Baseball’s 15 Scrappiest Players

Major League Baseball has all sorts of different players. You have the speedster outfielders who usually lead off the lineup, the power hitting middle-of-the-order guys who usually stick to first base because they can’t field, the power and finesse pitchers and once in a while, the five-tool player.

Aside from these, most teams also have one or a handful of scrappy players. As for what a scrappy player is, the accepted definition is one who makes the most of limited talent. There’s no way to quantify scrappiness, it’s merely a situation of knowing it when you see it.

Because it can’t be quantified, many consider the variable of scrappiness to be entirely useless. Nonetheless, gaining this label has helped many have nice careers over baseball’s history. Here are the top 15 current scrappiest players in baseball.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Ranking the Biggest Needs of All 30 Teams

The 2011 season of Major League Baseball is at hand.  In about two weeks, pitchers and catchers will report to spring training, signifying the beginning of the 2011 baseball year.  From now until March 31, each team has an equal chance of winning the World Series.

However, each team also has a glaring weakness.  Here is a list of every MLB team’s need going into spring training:

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