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Every baseball team is worth at least a billion dollars

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Forbes has released its annual team valuation list, along with its team revenue and profitability rankings.

This comes out every April and every April it is worth noting that these figures should be taken with a pretty big grain of salt. At best this is a snapshot, but not much more, because there just isn’t enough data out there for anyone outside of Major League Baseball to know this stuff with the degree to specificity Forbes claims. And, of course, the only people in a position to correct these numbers — the league and the owners themselves — wouldn’t dare reveal what they really make or lose. At the same time, one should also take MLB and owner denials of these numbers with a grain of salt because they all have an interest in not appearing as well-off as they truly are.

With all of that said, the takeaways:

  • For the first time ever, every single franchise is worth at least a billion dollars. The New York Yankees are the most valuable team at $4.6 billion. The Marlins the least at just around $1 billion;
  • The 30 teams generated a record average operating income of $40 million during the 2018 season, which is 38% more than the previous year;
  • Revenue increased 4.8%, to an average of $330 million per team; and
  • Player costs, including signing bonuses and benefits, remained flat at $157 million.

Which is to say: baseball is rolling in it. But you knew that already.

MLB to move the draft to Omaha on the eve of the College World Series

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SAN DIEGO — We spend a lot of time on these pages criticizing Major League Baseball’s decisions. And yeah, they make a lot of questionable decisions (or logical decisions which serve questionable motives). But in the past day or so they’ve certainly gotten a couple of things right.

First was what we posted about last night: MLB moving to take marijuana off the banned substance list for minor leaguers. This, combined with the recent report that MLB/MLBPA are moving to a treatment, as opposed to a punishment-based regimen for opioids, shows that sense, as opposed to hysteria and optics, is beginning to move to the fore when it comes to baseball’s drug policies. It’s certainly welcome.

Also reported last night — by Kendall Rogers of the website d1baseball.com — Major League Baseball plans to move the amateur draft from the MLB Network studios in New Jersey to Omaha, Nebraska, and schedule it at just at the start of the College World Series. The move has not been officially announced yet, but I’d expect an MLB press release on it before we all get on our planes on Thursday morning.

It would be nicely coordinated too, Rogers says, coming just after the super regionals but before the actual CWS. This would allow the top players expected to go to all be on hand, either as players in the CWS or because, hey, they just got done and would probably be there anyway. It’s way better than putting a six guys in a green room in Secaucus. That’s always so awkward. You can tell they don’t really want to be there and don’t know what to do with themselves. In Omaha they’ll be among their friends, teammates, family, and counterparts. The atmosphere will almost certainly radically change for the better.

It’s still a very, very tall order to ever create the same level of interest in the MLB draft that exists for the NFL or NBA drafts, as the structure of college football and basketball and the fame of its stars is a totally different deal coming in. But this is a positive move forward for the baseball draft. Good job to whoever’s idea it was.