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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Baseball Revenue Sharing Going to Prospects

The AP has obtained a list of unaudited revenue sharing payments and distributions for 2003. A total of $220 million was redistributed, up from $169 million in 2002. Highlights:

Big recipients: Montreal ($29.5 million), Florida ($21 million - the other playoff teams must have loved paying this), Tampa Bay ($20.5 million), Kansas City ($19 million), Milwaukee ($16.6 million), Pittsburgh ($13.3 million), San Diego ($13.3 million).

Big contributors: New York Yankees ($52.6 million, or almost 1/4 of the total pool, not counting their luxury tax bill), Boston ($38.7 million), Seattle ($31 million), New York Mets ($21 million, or about $1 million less than they wasted on Mo Vaughn and Roger Cedeno), Chicago Cubs ($16.7 million), San Francisco ($13 million).

Others mentioned: Houston received $1.2 million; Baltimore received $250,000; Cleveland paid $4.8 million.

Spokesmen for the Pirates, Brewers and Devil Rays insist their clubs are reinvesting their revenue sharing money in their farm systems. Bob DuPuy agrees: "But if you look at the number of young teams that appear to have good young talent on the field and good farm systems, you have to come to the conclusion that it appears to be having an impact."

Milwaukee, at least, appears not to be spending as much as it should. The Brewers' balance sheet released as part of the recent financial review shows that the Brewers' operating budget declined in 2003, despite an $8.1 million increase in revenue sharing from 2002 to 2003, and a $7.6 million increase from 2001 to 2002. The major league payroll fell by $6.9 million from 2002 to 2003, while the "baseball operations" budget (scouting, player development, travel and baseball administration) rose just $3.6 million.


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