As it has been thoroughly discussed during the lockout and even after it ended, there are two types of franchises (and owners) in MLB.
There are those who want to win and work with that goal in mind, and those who just want to make money and don’t care if the team is competitive or not.
Who wants to win?
Well, look no further than the teams who were active in free agency and the trade market: the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Minnesota Twins, the Detroit Tigers, the Atlanta Braves, and even the Texas Rangers (surprising, huh?) are some examples that come to mind.
The two perfect organizations to illustrate the second group, the ones who don’t care about winning or losing as long as they make money, are the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cleveland Guardians.
It’s Hard To Deal With Non-Competitive Teams
We can and should mention the Oakland Athletics, too, the only team that spent exactly $0 in free agency.
But let’s focus, for now, on Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
According to independent journalist Rob Arthur, those two teams are “pocketing almost double their entire MLB roster payroll each year. The Guardians are even making another ~$100M a year in appreciation.”
two teams pocketing almost double their entire MLB roster payroll each year. The Guardians are even making another ~$100M a year in appreciation. pic.twitter.com/h0JcCz9oK4
— Rob Arthur (@No_Little_Plans) March 24, 2022
The Pirates made $64 million in operating income last year, while the Guardians made $71 million.
For 2022, their payrolls are in the $30 million range, which is embarrassing for an MLB franchise and is the reason why many fans and analysts have advocated for a salary floor in collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations.
Those two teams make it very hard for fans to root for, and it’s sad because they are two of the most storied franchises in MLB.