Friday Rockpile: Franchise Value, Prospects, Roster Decisions, and an Announcement

Doug Pensinger

Attendance is not the only variable when it comes to revenue available for payroll, so why do so many presume this to be so?

Forbes released their MLB franchise valuations this week, which is always an interesting way to see where teams stack up on the business side of baseball. These are generally educated estimates based on public information, and the numbers can be inaccurate. However, they tend to be reasonably close. I have condensed the information into a handy, short table.

Current Value $537million 25th
2012 Revenue $199million 21st
Operating Income $18.7million 13th
2012 Attendance 2,630,458 13th
Average Ticket Price $20.55 21st
Premium Ticket Price $38 29th

I hear a very common lazy refrain on radio airwaves and in downtown pubs. Why, with all of the support the Rockies get in attendance, do they spend like a small market team? The biggest flaw in this argument is the assumed equation that the only variable that affects revenue is the number of persons walking through the turnstiles. Even leaving aside the television contract (which is below average) and merchandise revenue (which is below average), there absolutely is not a fixed relationship between attendance and ticket revenue.

Only six teams (the Giants, Rangers, Royals, Indians, Brewers, Marlins) saddled fans with a higher average ticket price increase last season, yet the Rockies still ranked 21st in average ticket price. While the average premium game ticket is nearly double, that does not count as gouging in the Major League Baseball league. Only the Padres had a lower average premium ticket price, and that was by 17 cents.

The Rockies no longer carry the banner for attendance in MLB, coming in slightly above average. As long as ticket prices remain exceedingly affordable, the Rockies will continue to rank in the middle-bottom of MLB in ticket revenue. The television contract will expire in 2014, so that may provide a boost is a solid deal is struck, but it won't push the Rockies into the top half of MLB in revenue.

The Monforts are running a business, first and foremost, as most sports franchise owners do, and have a right to do. Based on their income in 2012, they did it well on that aspect. But don't be the person, or let another person, repeating the tired presumption that attendance alone should drive payroll.

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Roster Decisions

Rockies' Nolan Arenado demoted after losing bid for starting third-base job to Nelson - The Denver Post - As I repeatedly begged them to, the Rockies have ensured Nolan Arenado receives a Sky Sox jersey before an official Rockies jersey. Simply, $8 now is not better than $10 in the future. It is the right decision, and we will see him soon.

Rockies tab Yorvit Torrealba as backup catcher, assign Ramon Hernandez - The Denver Post - The writing was clearly on the wall here. The Rockies wanted Torrealba to be the backup one way or another. They love Yorvit, and they soured on Ramon. It was apparently so clear that they could not work out a trade for the catcher, instead paying him $3.2million not to play for them. I just hope he doesn't end up on the Giants.

Fits for Hernandez - MLB Rumors Blog - ESPN Jason Churchill profiles potential landing spots for Hernandez, who was an above average MLB hitter the two years prior to signing with Colorado.

As it stands now, there are three roster battles remaining. Reid Brignac or Jonathan Herrera for utility infield. And two of Chris Volstad, Edgmer Escalona and Manuel Corpas for the bullpen.


Prospects

Baseball Prospectus | Prospects Will Break Your Heart: 2013 Organizational Rankings - Despite adding David Dahl, a consensus top 100 prospect, the Rockies fall to 22nd in Jason Parks' franchise farm system ranking Kevin Goldstein had them ranked 14th last year.

Cactus League Prospects: Newman’s Take | FanGraphs Baseball - But to ease your worry, Fangraphs has some serious Rockies' prospect love. Mike Newman was in Arizona and heaps high praise on David (Johnny Damon) Dahl and Trevor (top 30 overall prospect) Story. He also mentions Rosell Herrera and WIll Swanner as prospects he liked.

Cactus League Prospects: Sussman’s Take | FanGraphs Baseball - JD Sussman has even more to say about Rockies' prospects, allocating four of his top ten list to Colorado farmhands. In addition to Dahl and to Story (whom he deems highly underrated), Sussman profiles Swanner and...Wilfredo Rodriguez.


Links

Top 10 candidates to replace Tim McCarver at Fox | March | 2013 Tim McCarver will be leaving Fox's prime baseball broadcast team. For many, this is overdue, but there is always the fear that his replacement will make watching baseball more painful. Awful Announcing, a blog dedicating solely to the broadcasters of every sport, made a list of acceptable replacements.

De La Rosa has strong outing in Minor League game | Rockies.com: News - This is encouraging, as there were a few Opening Day starters for Arizona in that minor league lineup as well.

The Next Next Next Jose Bautista - Beyond the Box Score - Lewie Pollis is sticking to his guns, and I can't blame him. After he found ISO trends that predicted the breakouts of Ben Zobrist, Jose Bautista and Mike Morse, his calculations suggested Brent Morel would be the big star in 2012. Right. Still, he's sticking with the method, and Astros fans have to be happy.

32 Predictions Contest - Sky Kalkman has been doing these sorts of fun contests for years, back when he ran Beyond the Boxscore. I highly recommend you partake. I kept meaning to set a Rockies-centered one up for Purple Row but never got around to it. Speaking of...

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Announcement

When I found Purple Row, I had never heard of Carlos Gonzalez. I was intimidated by the comments sections slinging around unknown acronyms as if it was a prize. I graduated soon thereafter and was single and unemployed, and I threw myself into Purple Row.

A lot has changed in the 50+ months and 1100+ posts. The Rockies have gotten worse every year. I got a job, then in the past six months, got married and adopted my wife's child. My real life career has been on hold a bit due to my time commitment here at Purple Row, which is frankly unacceptable. So has been the recent quality of my production here, which I believe has suffered with less time to focus on our team.

So today, I very sadly announce that I am taking an indefinite leave from these pages. This is completely unrelated to Andrew and Rox Girl's resignations. I came to my conclusion before I knew of their pending departures. Jeff has left the door open for a return in the future or partial contributions as life allows, and that is not out of the question once life settles down and batteries are recharged. It certainly is no guarantee though. With this new staff primed and ready for Opening Day, I know you all are in good hands.

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