Forbes released their annual list of MLB team values with the New York Yankees taking the top spot for the 16th straight year at an estimated value of $2.3 billion. The New York Mets at an estimated value of $811 million, came in at sixth highest in the league. The team was also ranked as the sixth most valuable franchise last year, but their value has increased by nearly $100 million in that time.
The Mets have increased their value according to Forbes despite missing the playoffs the last four seasons and despite team owner Fred Wilpon’s financial troubles since the Bernie Madoff scandal. The team was also losing $41 million in operating income two years ago, but is now estimated as losing only $2.4 million this previous fiscal year. Although the Mets are the only team in the top seven with a negative operating income, the improvement is impressive for a rebuilding team.
After the Omar Minaya era ended, the Mets have made a conscious effort to become more profitable. They followed the big spending Minaya with the calculated conservative Sandy Alderson, who has been steadily shedding payroll since. Wilpon has bought into Alderson’s long term approach, which could have the Mets being spenders in the free agent market as soon as next year.
The Mets progress as a franchise is not likely to been seen on the field this season as they head for what looks like a fifth season in a row without a playoff berth. However, the Forbes’ valuation shows that the owner and management are at least trying to improve the franchise. Whether or not it works in the long run is a question for a later date.