The Los Angeles Angels and Miami Marlins have spent big in the off-season for very different reasons.
The Angels are spending newfound riches from a regional TV deal that ranks third in Major League Baseball in terms of value to re-energize a fan base that has produced low TV ratings and empty stadium seats. The Marlins are complying with an agreement made with MLB to spend more leading up to the opening of their new stadium. The Marlins also are meeting new minimum spending rules in MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting the Angels will receive a deal in the neighborhood of $3 billion over the next 20 years from Fox, a contract the Dodgers almost had before MLB Commissioner Bud Selig rejected it because of the team’s ownership issues. The deal comes in spite of the Angels having the second-lowest regional TV ratings in MLB last year, something the team may be rectifying with big additions like Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Pujols will cost the Angels $254 million over 10 years, and Wilson will receive $77.5 million over five years.
The television deal alone gives the Angels $100 million more annually in revenue than under their previous contract with Fox, which owner Arte Moreno opted out of last year. Pujols’ and Wilson’s contracts average out well below that at $40.9 million per year. Even with the five-year, $85 million contract given to Jered Weaver in August -- at the time the second-highest contract in team history -- the Angels still have $42.1 million per year left over from the increased television deal.
On the other side of the country, the Marlins are spending without the benefit of a new television deal. Instead, they’re been forced to spend under an agreement entered with MLB last year that required payroll to increase in each year leading up to the opening of their new stadium. After the agreement, the Marlins opening day payroll jumped from $46 million in 2010 to $57 million in 2011.
In addition, regulations in MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement require the Marlins to spend 25 percent more on payroll than the team receives in revenue sharing. Based on financials from 2009, the Marlins did not spend at this level in 2010, although an increase in payroll was seen in 2011 following the team's agreement with the league.
With the additions of Mark Buehrle for four years at $58 million, Jose Reyes at $106 million for six years and Heath Bell for three years at $27 million, the projected opening day payroll for the Marlins in 2012 is $120 million barring any other additions. That would certainly bring the Marlins into compliance with the stadium agreement with MLB and the new collective bargaining provisions.