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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why The Mariners Might Get Sold

Another great Maury Brown piece in Baseball Prospectus about the possibility — perhaps inevitability — of the Mariners being sold. Brown says that there's not even a publicly mooted rumor of the team being on the block, and yet —
If you were to profile a club that was a prime candidate to be sold, however, the Mariners would be right there at the top of the list, very much looking the part of a club for sale. They are perfectly positioned. They have owners that seem to be in need of selling. And they’re sitting within a near-perfect atmosphere to be unloaded in the wake of the Dodgers sale. The Mariners may not be on the market at this time, but you’d be hard pressed to find a team more suited for it.
The current majority owner, Hiroshi Yamauchi, is old (84), needs the cash (Nintendo is off considerably from its peak), and has no interest in attending games anymore. The local minority owner, Microsoft shareholder Chris Larson, is in a Moores-style divorce, and has likewise seen his net value decline along with Microsoft. The valuation of the team comes as a shock, but then the Dodgers set a benchmark for shock franchise pricing (he thinks a valuation of $750M, arrived at by Larson's estranged wife's attorney, "is well within reach"). Much more there, of course, and the whole thing is worth a read.

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