“Open The Books” — January 2014 edition

January 23, 2014 | Drew Forrester

With a few weeks left before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, the Yankees have outspent the Orioles on baseball players for the upcoming season.  By signing five guys, that is.

Right now, the Orioles 2014 payroll is $82 million, give or take a few hundred grand (and no one is worried about an extra 200k – except the Birds).

The Yankees have forked over $91 million to Tanaka, Beltran, Ellsbury, McCann and Kuroda.

Check this out…the Minnesota Twins are going to outspend the Orioles this year.

You remember the Twins, right?  They’re the team that was struggling so much financially a few years back they had to leverage the city of Minneapolis for a new stadium, then promptly built a 39,000 seat facility because they were afraid they couldn’t sell-out a 50,000 seater.

They’re going to outspend the Orioles in 2014.

The apologists left in town who still believe the Birds are on the up-and-up when it comes to running their organization will point to the “crazy” contracts signed around baseball and say “who wants to fork over $20 million a year for that guy in six years?”

There’s always an excuse.

Those of us smart enough to know what’s really going won’t excuse the Orioles for not spending money because we know the truth:  They have plenty of money to spend and they don’t want to spend it.

That’s it, period.

Remember this while you’re busy wearing the Orioles Bird mascot head at the office today — the television money that will pour in to the Warehouse in 2014 will wind up being somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 million, maybe upwards of $85 million.

That’s JUST the money they generate via the national TV deal, the national internet/web deal and their local MASN deal.

They haven’t sold a ticket yet and, essentially, their 2014 player payroll is covered by the TV money they generate.

The Yankees, of course, have a lot more money at their disposal.  We all know that.  They also spend a lot more to run their entire organization than do the Orioles.

If they were “public enough” to tell us all why they don’t spend money on players, I’m sure we’d all eagerly await their words.  If they manned-up and actually did that and offered the expected, tired explanation of “we don’t have the money necessary to compete with the Yankees and Tigers and Rangers and Red Sox when it comes to sign big-ticket free agents” I would then simply say this:

Open the books.

We’d be more inclined to believe the Orioles about ANYTHING they say when it comes to finances if they opened the books and just showed us the numbers.

As Nestor Aparicio will explain this March in “The Peter Principles”, one of the biggest issues involving the owner has been a huge personal “contribution” to the organization for a 5-7 year period at the beginning of last decade.  Peter Angelos was putting in huge amounts of his own money (some years as much as $20 million) to make ends meet when the attendance started to sag and player payroll was still in the $70 million range (with about $10 million of national TV money coming in at that point).

So, as we’ve done here at WNST, research and snooping around will lead you down the path of what’s REALLY been going on since the TV money started pouring in when MASN was kick-started in 2006.  The owner has re-paid himself more than a hundred million dollars while not paying for baseball players.  And that’s his right, of course, because any business person with a brain would do the same thing if they were $100 million in the hole with their business and experienced a huge cash windfall that would help repay his self-assessed debt.

We’d believe it all if the Orioles would just open the books and show us why they don’t want to spend money on baseball players this off-season.

When the Minnesota Twins outspend you, that’s a sure sign it’s time to prove to all of us what you’re doing with the money WE are giving you to run OUR baseball organization.

Open the books and show us how you’re running the club.

If you’re really broke, like it appears you want us to believe you are, just prove it to us.