Power Ranking the Owners of the MLB
Power Ranking the Owners of the MLB
Imagine what life would be like if you had enough money to go buy a Major League Baseball team. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Well, it would and it wouldn’t. Even the lowest payroll around MLB is still multi-millions of dollars per year. That goes into a team that chances are will not win the World Series and most teams right now don’t draw that well at the ballpark either. Would you care enough about winning to spend more money or care too much about the bottom line to spend cash on free agents?
No matter which way you slice it, being an MLB owner isn’t a walk in the park, no pun intended. These people usually don’t know a ton about the game and it is their business to put the right people in place to have success. Their best case scenario is that no one ever thinks of them one time. Any and all success is attributed to the players and possibly the manager or general manager.
If there are a few down seasons though, eyes start staring at the owner’s box to see when he is going come off of the wallet and help the team win. I do not envy them for a second. I’ll tell you that for sure. They can have all of that pressure. But they chose that life so we might as well judge them for it, right?
Here are the power rankings for the owners of MLB teams. This isn’t like power rankings of the team itself or even the general managers. This list is going to be about the owners and that could mean dozens of different things. Some teams have been led to a ton of success over the past decade so that owner deserves some credit. Some however never give their team the funds needed to get over the hump and therefore deserve some of the blame. Feel free to leave a comment if you disagree or more importantly, if you agree completely.
30 – Nintendo of America – Seattle Mariners
Call me crazy but it seems to me that the success of the best owners in the game compared to the Mariners’ history since 1992 suggests it’s better to have one baseball owner instead of being one part of a gaming company. But who knows? It could all turn around with the next GM change.
29 - Jeffrey Loria – Miami Marlins
Though he has owned the Marlins through some successful seasons, it can easily be said that Loria has never been interested in building a long-term winning franchise. Even with the new ballpark he convinced tax payers to help with, Loria has seemed to back up on a few promises in favor of the bottom line. I’m not walking in his shoes but it seems he could have done a better job.
28 – Ken Kendrick – Arizona Diamondbacks
The DBacks have had some success but payroll seems to be a bit of a stumbling block between them and consistent winning seasons. If payroll is unmovable by Kendrick’s standard then he has to do a better job hiring Billy Beane type GMs.
27 – Peter Angelos – Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles do a lot with what they have and they might be on a path towards better overall performance with two successful seasons in a row. Some of it might be a wait and see situation however to see if Angelos and company have given the O’s what they need to finally build a winner every single season.
26 – Mark Attanasio – Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers having a little success for a few years under Ned Yost appears to have had as much to do with the staff that was in place as anything else. Now that they have moved on to try and build a winner somewhere else, the Brewers are left again to fourth and fifth place finishes with little funds to overcome it all.
25 – Tom Ricketts – Chicago Cubs
Ricketts is to some degree a victim of history in this list. He seems to have hired good people and they seem to have a plan in place but it is slow going to say the least. No one would suggest his decisions about what to do are easy but he still has to prove different because of the team he owns. The simple truth is he won’t get credit for turning around the Cubs until it happens.
24 – David Glass – Kansas City Royals
Glass has recently seemed to turn a corner along with his Royals team. They were able to make some trades and he is now apparently going to open the wallet a little bit for the ability to sign a free agent or two. Time will tell.
23 – Ron Fowler – San Diego Padres
It is too early to really tell what direction Fowler’s Padres will go but so far he doesn’t seem to keep too tight of a reign on his GM. What he does this offseason or allows his GM to do will tell us a great deal as well as how he performs over the next few years.
22 – Jim Crane – Houston Astros
There has been an undeniable shift in the fortunes of the Houston Astros in the last couple of years. Crane appears to finally have a team in place had has given them a decent amount of money and control to try and actually build a winning franchise from the ground up. I put his GM in higher rank than him but only because what Crane does with his money will matter in a couple of seasons much more than it does now. Then we will find out what kind of owner he is.
21 – Richard Monfort – Colorado Rockies
There has been success here but enough up and down action that it shifts Monfort and crew down the list here. Hopefully he will open his wallet enough to help shift his franchise over the hump sooner rather than later and then he’ll move up this list.
20 – Jim Pohlad – Minnesota Twins
Pohlad really moved up this list recently with reports that he is ready to help change fortunes in Minnesota. He is tired of putting a bad team on the field and ready to change at least something to try and help put a better team out next year. I buy into what he is saying enough to move him forward to this spot.
19 – Lew Wolff – Oakland Athletics
Wolff is the owner of one of the more repeatable success stories in MLB. The only thing that has him lower on this list is the payroll tightness. His greatest move was in believing that Billy Beane was the right man for the GM job and leaving him there to this point. Bean could probably build a dynasty with a higher payroll however and that is on Wolff’s plate.
18 – Jerry Reinsdorf – Chicago White Sox
It has been a long road for Reinsdorf and his White Sox but there hasn’t been a ton of success. The changes that they have made this past season with regard to payroll seemed to point to desire to pay less money but then they signed an unproven young man for $68M. I guess the jury is still out on this franchise and Reinsdorf.
17 – Rogers Communications – Toronto Blue Jays
When looking at the recent free agent and trade activity within this franchise it appears that they at least have the ability and the freedom to spend a little money. That is good but to have so few results at this point hurts their rank. Spending good money on players that come through would definitely help them move up.
16 – Arte Moreno – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
You can’t really blame Moreno for the latest failures of the Angels. They have had success during his term as owner and he continues to be willing to spend big on big name players. Only the lack of recent successes really keeps him down the list. Effort is there as is a clear will to win which isn’t true of every owner in MLB in my opinion.
15 – David Montgomery – Philadelphia Phillies
Montgomery isn’t afraid to spend a little money and that is to his credit. His biggest problem is that he and his people have not been able to get rid of Ruben Amaro Jr. as the team’s GM. That hurts where their money is going and that keeps them out of the playoff hunt and down in this list.
14 – Larry Dolan – Cleveland Indians
It hasn’t been the easiest ride for the long-term for Dolan. Lately however he seems to have helped make good choices in good hires for key positions and that is certainly going to help turn this franchise around in the future. The results are already on display from this past season.
13 – Fred Wilpon – New York Mets
Wilpon deserves a little bit of grief for the Mets turn downward I suppose but I don’t believe it was always his fault. This offseason they have a ton of money coming off of the books and to Wilpon’s credit he is still willing to spend a ton of money trying to rebuild a winning team. He could very easily be a payroll cutter after what has happened in recent seasons. To not do that is a big time move for him.
12 – Liberty Media – Atlanta Braves
The Braves are accustomed to being owned by a company by now. Liberty hasn’t always seen their money return successes but they have been willing to spend responsibly more than their predecessors were and the results are finally starting to pay off with a nice upturn in their results and a trip to the postseason.
11 – Robert Castellini – Cincinnati Reds
Good things have happened overall in recent seasons for the Reds and most certainly some of the credit should flow back to the man at the top. They are having a large shift this offseason which will go a long way towards showing what his future power ranking will look like.
10 – Stuart Sternberg – Tampa Bay Rays
There is something to be said for a franchise that always finds a way to compete. Sternberg has created a franchise that knows the right people to hire at every position on the field and in the office to get the best results possible. I look at the Rays similar to the way I view the Athletics. The difference is that Sternberg is willing to pay out a long-term deal if the player and the deal ar right.
9 – Ray Davis – Texas Rangers
Davis is the head man with the Rangers since Nolan Ryan stepped down recently. He is no stranger to the Rangers having had success and he will be expected to lead the charge with his wallet when need be to keep those winning ways going. He isn’t exactly unproven and likely will step right in comfortably to the new role.
8 – Robert Nutting – Pittsburgh Pirates
It has taken quite a while but the system the Pirates have in place is finally producing fruit. It started to show well last season and this season nearly got them into the NLCS. There is little doubt that Nutting wants to build a winner and he is clearly well on his way to helping do just that.
7 – Lerner Enterprises – Washington Nationals
The Nats have had a very positive run after the franchise moved from Montreal and overcame all of the former ills that made the Expos a thing of the past. They aren’t scared of hefty contracts when they fit and are always expected to contend no matter the circumstances. That kind of consistency ultimately is some doing of the owner.
6 – Hal Steinbrenner – New York Yankees
The Yankees aren’t this high on many lists this offseason but their owner has the guts and the cash flow to make sure that they don’t falter for long. If he fails to provide the team with the funds needed to rebuild a contender soon, Steinbrenner will begin to look like a shell of the man that ensured this team competed each and every single season. Hopefully he’ll pick right up next season and all will improve for this franchise.
5 – Bill Neukom – San Francisco Giants
How can the owner of a team that did as poorly as the Giants did in 2013 be this high on the owner power rankings? Because the owner is just one season removed from lifting the World Series trophy which suggests he is the kind of owner that will ensure that kind of attention sticks around through whatever means necessary.
4 – Mike Ilitch – Detroit Tigers
The Tigers will compete for and likely be favorites for the division title and the World Series in 2014. The perennial nature of this franchise’s competitiveness allows Ilitch to rise to the top of the list very quickly.
3 – Mark Walker and Co – Los Angeles Dodgers
The new owners of the Dodgers including among others Walker and basketball legend Magic Johnson have gone to great lengths to quickly improve the fate of this franchise. They even landed a huge new television deal which pushes their revenue and ability to raise their payroll nicely. If they can stay away from financial troubles, they will clearly do what they can to build a consistent winner.
2 – William DeWitt, Jr – St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals competed for a title each of the last few seasons and they came extremely close to winning a World Series title this season. They have been one of the more successful franchises over the course of the last couple of decades and clearly DeWitt has no intentions on allowing that to change on his watch.
1 – John W. Henry – Boston Red Sox
What can you say? These guys are the World Series Champions. Henry gets to put that trophy wherever he wants because it was his money and hiring of the right people that set this up. When they were down in the dumps in last place he allowed for whatever needed to happen to happen and here they are sitting in the top slot. Henry absolutely deserves credit for ensuring this team stays at the top and the number of championships since their 2004 crown speak for themselves.