Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Marlins fans have been calling for team owner Jeffrey Loria to sell the team to a new owner they hope will start spending long-term on the roster. But there’s a simple reason why Loria and other owners don’t want to get out of baseball, money.
For example, the Houston Astros are moving to the American League West and only has a payroll of $25 million for the entire team. On the other end of the spectrum, the Los Angeles Dodgers will have a payroll in 2013 of $213 million.
The Miami Marlins are not much better with a total of $24.21 million in active contracts currently on the books for 2013. That doesn’t include one of the Marlins’ biggest costs this year, a $4 million buyout of Heath Bell’s contract, even though he’s no longer with the team.
The Marlins have claimed poverty in many years, especially to help get Marlins Park built. But, the claims were not exactly accurate as Deadspin.com proved when it released the Marlins’ financial records that showed the team was making tens of millions of dollars without investing in the roster in 2008 & 2009.
This year, the Marlins have exactly one player making more than $2.75 million a season, starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who is in the final year of his contract and will likely be traded before the trade deadline later in the year.
But, powered by massive new television deals in Los Angeles, which allows the Dodgers to spend with reckless abandon on the roster; the Marlins will still make money thanks to revenue sharing in Major League Baseball.
So, without spending much money, the Marlins will continue to make money. Plus, the team was valued at $520 million by Forbes Magazine this week, which while impressive, is still only 26th out of 30 teams in Major League Baseball.
According to Forbes, as Loria cut $60 million from the payroll with fire sale trades and talent dumps; the Marlins’ valuation jumped by $70 million. Still, Forbes estimated the Marlins to lose money last year, despite the financials from previous years disputing the numbers.
Still, attracting the most revenue does not always equate with the best performance on the field. For example, the Tampa Bay Rays made just $167 million in revenue last season, but this year have a payroll roughly double what the Marlins have, according to Sportrac.com.
While fans may want Loria to sell the reality is that no owner is looking to go anywhere as long as some teams continue to bring in big paydays through television revenue and that money is shared through the league.