SBD/December 11, 2012/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Nationals Becoming A Free Agent Destination

In DC, Amanda Comak wrote the Nationals after their 98-64 record in '12 are “finding far more dance partners at the free agent social.” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said, “I think this is a nice destination for players.” He added, “It’s a beautiful city, it’s a great ballpark and it’s got a great fan base. ... People really recognize that this is a team that’s going to be good to play for, for a long time. It’s gotten a whole lot easier to talk to players and recruit players. Players are actually seeking us out to recruit us for them” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/11). Also in DC, Adam Kilgore wrote the Nationals in not attempting to sign P Zack Greinke “kept their financial powder dry for down the road, another signal they intend to do everything they can to keep their young nucleus intact” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/10).

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL: MLB.com’s Mike Bauman wrote while the Dodgers “have not only transcended the Yankees in the sheer size of their player payroll, they may have altered their competitive landscape in a way that no other club has in recent baseball history.” The business side of MLB is “prospering in a way that it never has before, and the Dodgers have become the poster franchise of this phenomenon.” At this point, comparing them to other teams is “not quite insulting, but it certainly is misleading.” The Dodgers have “changed the rules, or [at] least the fiscal playing field,” and they are “flexing their financial muscles as only a mega-market franchise can” (MLB.com, 12/11). ESPN’s Buster Olney said, “In the first seven months of this new ownership group, they’ve committed to about $650M in player acquisitions.” ESPN's Karl Ravech: “That’s more than several franchise values” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 12/10).

WHAT'S BREWING?
In Milwaukee, Tom Haudricourt wrote Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio “stretched his payroll to a franchise-record $100 million" last season, and he “lost that gamble when the team sputtered at midseason and dropped from the playoff race.” Despite a late season push, attendance dropped from 3.07 million to 2.83 million, and the Brewers "finished well in the red for the year.” Those financial losses “prompted Attanasio to lower his budget significantly" for '13. Brewers GM Doug Melvin said that he “expected the team’s payroll to be about $80 million or slightly above, depending on what personnel opportunities arise” (JSONLINE.com, 12/10).

SOMETHING FISHY: In Miami, Linda Robertson writes of the Marlins, "As the Rays swim along, smoothly and steadily, Miami’s flashy fighting fish are flailing at the end of a line being jerked by owner Jeffrey Loria." Loria "went for the big splash to coincide with the opening of his half-a-billion-dollar stadium.” Marlins management is “tone deaf to the concept of public relations.” They “need a voice other than” team President David Samson’s, because “who trusts him or Loria?” They “wildly overestimated attendance for 2012 given their history of treating fans like chumps.” As for “constructing a winner,” Loria and Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest are “all over the map” (MIAMI HERALD, 12/11).
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