Inside Baseball: Rival executives upset by Marlins' tiny revenue
"They're a joke," says the executive of one team who can't understand how the Marlins' revenues can be lower than those of teams long embroiled in unsuccessful endeavors to get new stadiums.
Some big-market teams are said to be upset that the Marlins are the team with the lowest revenue in baseball, and thus they receive the most money in revenue sharing from the highest-grossing teams despite having a new stadium. Teams sharing their money often has led to upset on the part of the payers, but the extra unhappiness in this case is that monies go to a team with the supposed benefit of a new stadium.
"They're a joke," says the executive of one team who can't understand how the Marlins' revenues can be lower than those of the Rays and A's, two teams long embroiled in thus far unsuccessful endeavors to get new stadiums.
He and other big-market executives are said to be further frustrated by the fact the Marlins have MLB's biggest player contract, the $325-million, 13-year Giancarlo Stanton deal, plus some wasted monies for managerial and executive pay for key decision-makers who were fired long before their contracts were up.
But if the big-market owners are upset to be subsidizing the Marlins, word is Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is even more upset at having to need the money. It's a double-edged sword; the Marlins in some circles should be applauded for spending the money to try to win, though they've been unsuccessful in doing so since moving to beautiful Marlins Park.
MLB sources say Loria, far from pocketing money, has actually been writing a check annually in recent years to cover losses, despite the revenue sharing monies they receive annually.
One source suggests the annual revenue sharing check the Marlins are to receive is in the $50-million range, highest in baseball, above even the Rays and A's. Marlins president David Samson declined comment.
While the Marlins drew about 1.7 million people to Marlins Park this season, below-average ticket prices hurt them. Worse still are the local broadcast deals which are the lowest in baseball -- a TV deal said to be worth less than $20 million and a radio deal said to be worth "nothing."
Marlins people do seem to be working very hard to try to build a winner, with young outfielder Christian Yelich signed long-term, along with Stanton. The team also tried to lock up star pitcher Jose Fernandez and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, and is about to begin negotiations with star second baseman Dee Gordon.
They have not done well with free-agent signings (i.e Jarrod Saltalamacchia for $15 million), and have indeed spent on fired managers and executives before their time, wasting some money. There were three years to go on Ozzie Guillen's $10-million, four-year deal when he was fired after the 2012 season, and there was reportedly $5.8 million over three years on GM/manager Dan Jennings' deal when he was let go recently.
There have been mistakes but the bigger issue may actually be the difficult Miami market, which disregards teams that are non-winners. The Heat have been inconsistent in drawing fans in the years when they didn't have Shaquille O'Neal (2005-07) and LeBron James (2011-14), and the Dolphins don't consistently sell out.
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