Money Bag

The most valuable and most profitable teams in baseball are named/guessed at

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The annual Forbes franchise valuation article is out and, not surprisingly, the Yankees are considered the most valuable baseball team. They’re worth $2.5 billion, to be inexact. And, yes, while Forbes takes maybe the boldest stab at such things each year, pegging how much money closely-held businesses — many of them family businesses — which notoriously hide the ball as to financial matters make or lose this exercise is an inexact science.

With that caveat in mind, guess the most profitable. Give up? It’s the Cardinals, who an operating income of $65.2 million. I wouldn’t have guessed that given their market size and not-so-great TV deal, but there you go. More surprising: the Astros were second at $55.9 million. Which tells you what a low payroll will do for you. Indeed, going up and down the list of operating income and you see all manner of surprising things, actually. But then you have to remember that team owners do things like create management companies consisting of the owners and their families as a means of taking untold amounts of money from the club and putting it in their pockets, and you realize that these guys can make the numbers do anything they’d like.

Still, fun stuff. A nice snapshot, but not much more. There just isn’t enough data out there for anyone to check these numbers and the only people in a position to correct them — the owners themselves — wouldn’t dare reveal what they really make or lose.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.

Braves acquire Luke Jackson from the Rangers

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 16:  Relief pitcher Luke Jackson #53 of the Texas Rangers  throws during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park on September 16, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. Texas won 14-3. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
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Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.

Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.

Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.

Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.