Major League Baseball owners have officially lost the plot.
Thanks in large part to the impressive spending by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, the rest of the league, including one of its richest owners, is hoping to pull back the reins.
But Cohen isn’t alone.
Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton, who has reeled in big fish such as Bryce Harper and Trea Turner in recent offseasons, is also letting the cash fly.
“Nobody cares about whether I make money or not,” Middleton told the Philadelphia Inquirer recently. “If my legacy is that I didn’t lose any money owning a baseball team on an annual operating basis, that’s a pretty sad legacy. It’s about putting trophies in the cases.”
That’s got the rest of the baseball world shook. So shook, even that the league has formed an “economic reform committee.”
MLB Owners Are Looking For A Way To Spend Less Money
Evan Drellich of The Athletic explains that owners, including Boston Red Sox big wig John Henry, are hitting back.
The older challenge Manfred referred to is indeed a long-running topic in the sport: owners who are unhappy about the difference in the amount of money teams make. (For as long as those complaints have existed, so too have rebuttals that the clubs are doing well financially.)
“When you start thinking about the opportunities in terms of a more national (broadcasting) product, it did lead into a conversation about our disparity issues on the revenue side,” Manfred said. “We have businesses that are literally not similar in terms of the overall revenue that they’re generating. And to the extent that you could find a new distribution model that actually helped on that disparity side, that would be the daily double. So people are having conversations that haven’t been had in baseball, and it’s really been owners talking to owners, which is a good thing.” – via The Athletic
Ironically, LA Dodgers owner Mark Walter is chairing the committee. The Dodgers had the top payroll in baseball in 2022. But they’re just fifth in that category in 2023.
Funny, money only seems to be an issue when someone comes along and spends more of it.