Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Cots Contracts is one of the most important baseball sites on the Internet, because it charts the contracts of every player on a team's 40-man roster as well as select minor-league contracts. Cots has the Mets' Opening Day payroll at $126,498,096 in 2010 - a reduction of nearly $23 million from last season.

Not much has been made of the actual numbers, which I find curious. This is the same organization getting $20 million a year in found money from Citi to put its name on the marquee at Ebbets Field North, which only opened last year. One would think that there would've been enough money to increase payroll from 2009, and certainly no reason to reduce it.

That's where Forbes comes in. Forbes does an annual "Business of Baseball" study on franchise values and revenue. (The great Joe Posnanski has a wonderful article about this on his blog.) The authors of the Forbes article pulled no punches when it comes to the state of the Mets.

[T]ake a look at the Mets, the Yankees' cross-town rivals, who also moved into a new ballpark last season. The Mets fell 6% in value and are now worth $858 million, third on our list. The Mets saw a big jump in stadium sponsorships and premium seating revenue at Citi Field, but all is not well in the borough of Queens.

We lowered our valuation of the franchise because the team has stumbled badly on the field, and rank-and-file fans are disgusted with management. The Mets won only 70 games last season, their worst showing since 2003. In response the Mets cut the average ticket price more than 10% for the 2010 season. Even with the cuts the Mets will not match last season's attendance of 3.2 million fans. Stadium revenues are likely to decline more than $20 million in 2010.

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