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  • Do the Tigers really have that much more money than the Twins?

    This is back-of-the-napkin type math based on a lot of assumption so please, do not attempt to cite the concluded numbers as final. They are, in essence, an educated guess that is founded from bits and pieces of available public information. But letís use it to attempt to figure out why the Tigers are able to make it rain on the free agent market while the Twins are left counting pennies.

    The Tigers recently signed Torii Hunter to a two-year, $26 million deal. With that addition, Detroit now has five players under contract for 2013 who are scheduled to make $10 million or more for a grand total of $81 million. Plus, they have not completely ruled out extending pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who is seeking roughly $15 million per year. How is it that the Tigers are spending small principalities worth of money while the Twins stand idly by and target the one or two-year bargains?

    Detroit made approximately $93.93M at the gate last year (based on attendance multiplied by the $31 ticket price average sold). The Twins, on the other hand, made $91.74M (averaging $33 per ticket sold). Thatís without taking into consideration advertising the stadium, suites, luxury boxes, concessions (which can range from $3.4 million to $20 million depending on the attendance and offerings). Assuming the Tigers were one of the teams to make the higher end of that based on their competitiveness and relatively new stadium, with a payroll of $133 million in 2012, they likely came in $10 million short. Comparatively, the Twins who also likely made the higher end of the stadium-generated revenue from suites and concessions, could have potentially made $10 million in profits (without taking in to consideration the operating costs, farm system expenses, etc, etc).

    Then there is the benefits of being a playoff team. According to research done by BizofBaseball.comís Maury Brown, teams can stand to make an average of $1 to $2 million per game in the playoffs. If we split the difference, the Tigers could have made approximately $19.5 million for the 13 games played in October. In addition to that, Brown notes, the real windfall is the revenue generated for the following year as the club receives additional season ticket requests, sponsorships and are able to leverage that if local TV/radio contracts are up in the air. With the Twins not making it into even playoff contention for the second straight season, undoubtedly season ticket sales and sponsorship requests are down. The Tigers can plan for additional revenues whereas the Twins will likely brace for some fallout.

    The biggest difference maker between the two markets is the size of the TV contracts: The Tigers get an estimated $50M per season from their Fox Sports affiliate while the Twins are getting $29M per season.



    So, rather than having an operating loss as described above, the Tigers have somewhere closer to a $60 million profit thanks to the playoffs and broadcast rights. The Twins, meanwhile, could have somewhere in the ballpark of $39 million Ė a difference of $21 million in favor of the Tigers. Whatís more, both teams, starting in 2014, will receive $50 million from the MLB central fund because of the new television contracts with ESPN and TBS. This added bonus certainly is taken into consideration when teams and agents are projecting long-term contracts.

    In the end, the Tigers could be poised to spend roughly $110 million (with some operating expenses removed) in 2014 while the Twins will be trying to compete with $89 million (with operating costs and what is certain to be a decline in ticket/stadium-based revenue).

    While it is not at the level as Detroit, the Twins still have plenty of money to spend for 2013 (particularly when you consider how much they have dropped off their payroll from the 2012 season) so they should not be crying poor. Sure, the ownership may be pocketing this additional funds Ė and thatís their prerogative Ė but, based on my outsider calculations, there appears to be plenty of revenue to add a few of the gameís top free agentsÖif they wanted to.
    This article was originally published in blog: Do the Tigers really have that much more money than the Twins? started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 64 Comments
    1. rico7961's Avatar
      rico7961 -
      The Pohlad's have been laughing all the way to the bank since the day the tax-payers of Hennepin county decided to fund a stadium for them. Rich mans welfare. I hope they choke on their money, because they aren't going to spend it on their baseball team.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I would say that when the Twins felt they had a team that could compete, two years ago, they went about $20 million over budget to bring in some final pieces. It makes no sense to spend that much to finish 3rd or 4th.
    1. Mr. Ed's Avatar
      Mr. Ed -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I would say that when the Twins felt they had a team that could compete, two years ago, they went about $20 million over budget to bring in some final pieces. It makes no sense to spend that much to finish 3rd or 4th.
      Then do something about it, Twins.

      Bin-diving and settling for the middle road will only keep them in the middle of the pack.

      Commit to winning. OR make it a youth movement.

      It's resulted in wasting the last couple years of some key players' careers. And it doesn't look like it's getting any better.

      All talk from this org the past couple of years. Want to win, embarrassed by losing, blah,blah,blah.
    1. jm3319's Avatar
      jm3319 -
      The Tiger's owner spends some of his own money out of pocket to improve the team and doesn't care about making money with the Tigers. The Twins owners base payroll off of revenue only. There's your difference in payroll and attitude toward winning.
    1. chagen's Avatar
      chagen -
      Mr. Ed

      Your right on either spend some money and get some pitching or commit to a youth movement your wasting time just having a few good players that are in there prime Willingham, Morneau etc.
    1. nick5253's Avatar
      nick5253 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Ed View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I would say that when the Twins felt they had a team that could compete, two years ago, they went about $20 million over budget to bring in some final pieces. It makes no sense to spend that much to finish 3rd or 4th.
      Then do something about it, Twins.

      Bin-diving and settling for the middle road will only keep them in the middle of the pack.

      Commit to winning. OR make it a youth movement.

      It's resulted in wasting the last couple years of some key players' careers. And it doesn't look like it's getting any better.

      All talk from this org the past couple of years. Want to win, embarrassed by losing, blah,blah,blah.
      You are absolutely right. I tend to agree with the Twins FO theory that they can't just buy a contender and that spending big on FA signings that handcuff you for 6 years is not a good way to build a consistent contender. But, given that strategy, they should have blown up this team in 2011. It was clear to anyone that this organization did not have anything close to impact talent in the upper minors, so it was going to take free agents filling those holes to be competitive. And if you're not spending to bring in big free agents, you're left with a crappy team. Given their recent track record in the draft (terrible), they should have been relying on veteran sell-off trades to stock the upper minors with talent. They have had valuable pieces the last couple of years but have let them leave for nothing. Now they're in a position where they need 4! starting pitchers to field a decent team and there is next to nothing still in the system.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      Ilitch and the Pohlads are both worth over 2.5 billion. Ilitch is 83 certainly can never spend all that money and wants to win while still alive.

      Pohlads seem content to make more money so they can move up the Forbes list while winning is secondary. It's always been this way so no need to think it will change. If you are waiting for Jim Pohlad to tell Ryan spend what ever you need to make a team that can win a world series I think we'll wait a long time or maybe when he's in his 80's?

      We have to remember that the Pohlads were going along with contraction. NO MORE TWINS. They have a lot less attachment to baseball and sports than Ilitch does.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Have none of you been to Detroit? It's a thriving economic Eden of oppulance and home to the most affluent and spend-happy people in the midwest. Obviously there is more money to go around.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      Ilitch and the Pohlads are both worth over 2.5 billion. Ilitch is 83 certainly can never spend all that money and wants to win while still alive.

      Pohlads seem content to make more money so they can move up the Forbes list while winning is secondary. It's always been this way so no need to think it will change. If you are waiting for Jim Pohlad to tell Ryan spend what ever you need to make a team that can win a world series I think we'll wait a long time or maybe when he's in his 80's?

      We have to remember that the Pohlads were going along with contraction. NO MORE TWINS. They have a lot less attachment to baseball and sports than Ilitch does.
      Carl Pohlad owned the Twins when there was talk of contraction, and I'm fairly confident he has very little input on decisions anymore.

      Also, if we're going to get all drooly over Ilitch, it should probably be pointed out that the Twins have finished ahead of the Tigers in 14 of the 21 seasons they've shared a division (all under Ilitch's ownership). The Twins have also won their shared division 6 times compared to 2 for the Tigers.

      There's also that the Tigers didn't contend a single time for the first 14 years of Ilitch's ownership, and only got over 0.500 once in that span (his second season).
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I would say that when the Twins felt they had a team that could compete, two years ago, they went about $20 million over budget to bring in some final pieces. It makes no sense to spend that much to finish 3rd or 4th.
      But they didn't go for it...they gutted their middle IF and bullpen and signed Nishi. They actively downgraded their team. Normal raises, along with Mauer's contract kicking in is what happened...but they didn't go for it. What 'final pieces' did they bring in?
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I would say that when the Twins felt they had a team that could compete, two years ago, they went about $20 million over budget to bring in some final pieces. It makes no sense to spend that much to finish 3rd or 4th.
      There is no evidence that the Twins went $20M over budget for payroll. At most, they went $8M (the cost of Pavano), and based on their own statements, it was probably closer to $4M. I don't personally have any problem with the Twins running their business like a business while Ilitch treats his like a fancy toy with super neat-o expensive options. But let's not pretend that the Twins ever did anything close to what Ilitch is doing now.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I would say that when the Twins felt they had a team that could compete, two years ago, they went about $20 million over budget to bring in some final pieces. It makes no sense to spend that much to finish 3rd or 4th.
      There is no evidence that the Twins went $20M over budget for payroll. At most, they went $8M (the cost of Pavano), and based on their own statements, it was probably closer to $4M. I don't personally have any problem with the Twins running their business like a business while Ilitch treats his like a fancy toy with super neat-o expensive options. But let's not pretend that the Twins ever did anything close to what Ilitch is doing now.
      There's also no evidence to suggest the raise in payroll happened to bring in final pieces missing from the 2010 team for a run...
    1. rickyriolo's Avatar
      rickyriolo -
      Just think Detroit is not even close to being done yet. The Tigers will make some more moves, they need a closer and more. Unfortunately , the Twins will sit on their hands while Detroit is going for the whole shebang
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      The blow it up talk is total crap. we are what 3 starting pitchers and a few bench/ bullpen arm away. not an impossible task to overcome. We do need to be smart how we deploy resources. We can sign a mid rotation pitcher and trade for another then we are just 1 arm away.....bench. there are several low cost options available and same with bullpen. Get the starting pitching and everything will come into place. The biggest offensive question has already been resolved with Parmalee going to right field that increases the power output in our lineup. Bench could be strengthened with several players, Gomez, Andrew Jones, Inge, and others. bullpen.... we should have plenty of options there too.
    1. powrwrap's Avatar
      powrwrap -
      Quote Originally Posted by rico7961 View Post
      The Pohlad's have been laughing all the way to the bank since the day the tax-payers of Hennepin county decided to fund a stadium for them. Rich mans welfare. I hope they choke on their money, because they aren't going to spend it on their baseball team.
      So do you think the Pohlad's should simply write out a check from their personal (not Twins) bank account and pick up Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton?
    1. powrwrap's Avatar
      powrwrap -
      Quote Originally Posted by jm3319 View Post
      The Tiger's owner spends some of his own money out of pocket to improve the team and doesn't care about making money with the Tigers.
      Gotta link? I'd like to look this up.
    1. powrwrap's Avatar
      powrwrap -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      Ilitch and the Pohlads are both worth over 2.5 billion. Ilitch is 83 certainly can never spend all that money and wants to win while still alive.
      So do you think Illitch simply wrote out a check from his personal (not Tigers) bank account and picked up Prince Fielder and Torii Hunter?
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      It seems the Twins have three problems to fix: a) disparity of local broadcast TV revenues, b) PR problem of perceived commitment to winning, and c) ability to turn amateur players into top professional players. So far, a) has not been discussed at all, b) only so far as adding some "value" players (which might be considered as only a "left-handed" attempt)--and those guys have yet to be signed yet, and c) an admission of "Patience, Folks, but we did draft a lot of pitchers".
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by powrwrap View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      Ilitch and the Pohlads are both worth over 2.5 billion. Ilitch is 83 certainly can never spend all that money and wants to win while still alive.
      So do you think Illitch simply wrote out a check from his personal (not Tigers) bank account and picked up Prince Fielder and Torii Hunter?
      Actually, if I remember correctly, that's exactly what he did for Fielder...He definitely told his GM to go get him, period.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Tigers just signed 37 year old Tori Hunter to a twilight of his career contract that is worth more than the Twins "largest free agent contract in team history."
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