Thursday, March 26, 2015

Phillies Are Billion Dollar Losers

Forbes magazine has released it's annual appraisal of Major League Baseball, and they have valued the Philadelphia Phillies franchise at more than $1 billion for the first time ever.
The Phils are the 10th-most valuable franchise in MLB this year, down from their 6th place ranking a year ago. A lot of that drop in value comes due to the loss of star players, the repeated losses on the field, and the loss of fan support as a result.
Still, the Phillies as a whole rose from a valuation in the Forbes 2014 evaluations at $975 million to their current $1.25 billion ranking. 
Major League Baseball overall is now a $36 billion entity, one of the largest and strongest sporting groups on the planet.
Back in December, I looked at the current situation in which the team has found itself, dumping high-salaried and aging veterans for young prospects as the on-field losses mount, and the team plummets in both the standings and the eyes and wallets of the wider fan base beyond the most hardcore.
The problem with the Philadelphia Phillies clearly is not a financial one. They are not restricted in any way by finances in improving their organization. 
They have the money to put together an industry-leading analytics department, scouting and development department, and to make whatever outlays are needed in salary, bonuses, and inducements to acquire both amateur and big league talent.
What Forbes does not address is key to the club's ability to bounce-back, not only to respectability, but to regularly winning. 
That key is not the increased money coming in 2016 from a massive new Comcast broadcasting rights contract. The key remains a change in the decision-makers themselves.
Also back in December, I gave fans a look into a possible brighter future, with a possible future change in the Phillies power structure under John Middleton, a longtime member of the team's ownership group.
The youngest of those with an ownership stake in the Phillies, Middleton may be positioning himself to take over a majority share of that ownership in the coming months. That would have to be considered an improvement in the on-field and organization-wide competitive outlook for the franchise.
Phillies Gillick
Gillick had an "interim" tag removed, and is now the officially the team President of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)
As long as Bill Giles and David Montgomery continue to make decisions at the top of the organization, Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro will remain in charge of personnel. 
As long as Gillick and Amaro remain in charge of personnel, the team will flounder.
That is a difficult truth for some to swallow, but there is no other conclusion that any logical person who actually examines the organization over the last 10-12 years can draw. 
The vast majority of the 2008 championship pieces, and the decade-long 2001-11 great run, were put together by people other than Gillick and Amaro.
It has been pointed out here numerous times, but is worth stating once more. The Phillies bottom line since Amaro took over as GM is as follows: lost 2009 World Series, lost 2010 NLCS, lost 2011 NLDS, finished .500 in 2012, losing record in 2013, last place finish in 2014. There is no escaping that steady downward progression.
Click into the link provided in the middle of this article, and read the December piece again. The monetary value of the Philadelphia Phillies is strong, and is likely to only get stronger, more valuable, in the coming years. 
But unless there is change in ownership and decision-making, a billion or two in value is not going to matter on the field.

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