For the second year in a row, the Phillies were Forbes' fifth most valuable team in Major League Baseball (6th in 2011), with a valuation of $893 million, or, about six Cole Hamels. That’s up from $723 million last year.
Forbes estimates the Phillies churned a small profit – about $600k in 2012 – after a loss of about $11.5 million in 2011. The increase is easily explainable: Forbes estimates the Phillies made an additional $30 million in revenue in 2012. Also, player salaries rose from about $150 million in 2010 to $180 million in 2011, but only another $4 million in 2012.
Valuations are up all over the league thanks in part to coming increases in national TV dollars. The Phillies can also expect a massive increase in local TV money when their contract with CSN expires in 2015.
What’s interesting about the Forbes valuation – if not unsurprising – to me, though, is this:
That’s basically wins per player payroll relative to the rest of the league. A score of 100 would be average.
Here’s how Forbes describes it: Compares the number of wins per player payroll relative to the rest of the MLB. Playoff wins count twice as much as regular season wins. A score of 120 means that the team achieved 20% more victories per dollar of payroll compared with the league average during the 2011-12 season.
The highlighted column represents 2009* (108), the year Ruben Amaro took over as GM, with 2010-2013 following from right to left, in order: 95, 86, 75, and 59.
*These figures represent the previous season, i.e. the 108 in 2009 is based on the World Fucking Championship in 2008.
While teams with larger payrolls, like the Phillies, will likely always be under the league average of wins per player payroll, and while a score of 59 is in-line with Yankees and Red Sox figures, the Phillies’ consistent decline is notable. They’ve gotten less value out of every dollar spent each year since Amaro took over as GM. It’s essentially the anti-Moneyball. Take a look at the A’s…
… and Nationals….
… and even the Angels…
We all know the Phillies are spending more and not necessarily seeing more (postseason) success (though two consecutive seasons, 2010 and 2011, with the most regular season wins in baseball isn’t necessarily failure), but the sharp decline in player value – going from a team that won a World Series with a payroll more valuable than the league average to a team that missed the playoffs with one of the highest payrolls in the league – is troubling. This you knew– Forbes just put it into graph form.