Throughout Major League Baseball, it is difficult to tell which owner stands out among the rest as the worst in the league. If this was a few years ago, it would be easy to say the Wilpons, the ex-owners of the New York Mets. Today, it’s not as clear.
So how did someone make the list below? The owners listed below all rank last in almost every MLB category. These five owners/teams have been below average for many years and have very low fan attendance at games. In baseball, franchises can only be productive if the owners are willing to pay the price.
These MLB owners seem like they would rather keep their money in their pockets instead of spending it on their team’s development.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks
For the last 17 seasons (2003-to present), Ken Kendrick has been the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since taking over the team in 2003, Kendrick has a record of 1,238-1,354 with zero World Series titles. Throughout those 17 years, Kendrick has had six managers and has been a below-average team throughout.
You would think the Diamondbacks would have built their franchise around star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, but in 2018 they chose to trade him away to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Diamondbacks fail to keep their star players because Kendrick is too cheap to spend money on high-quality players. The front office has failed to build a pennant winner since 2001 and Kendrick has been the main reason why. Kendrick gained his wealth from software development and is worth roughly $600 million. If Kendrick decides to part ways with the Diamondbacks, he is going to need to find an owner who can afford to purchase the team at roughly $1.29 billion.
4. Oakland A’s
Since purchasing the Oakland Athletics back in 2005, John Fisher has owned the team for 15 seasons. From 2005 to now, Fisher has a record of 1,149-1,118 with zero World Series titles. Fisher is worth roughly $2.8 billion, and all his wealth came from hotels and real estate development. Amongst the wealthiest owners, Fisher is ranked right in the middle.
With all that wealth, Fisher runs the Athletics like a Triple-A team. For the last 15 seasons, the Oakland Athletics have finished near the bottom of MLB’s payroll numbers. Rumors of a new ballpark keep swirling around, but don’t hold your breath. If the Athletics relocate to Las Vegas, maybe then the franchise will find more success. If that move happens, it’s been said that the A’s will spend more money … but will they?
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
It is safe to say that the city of Pittsburgh wants nothing to do with the Pirates’ owner Bob Nutting, who has owned the Pirates since 1996 and has zero World Series titles. Nutting is well known for being tight-fisted and cheap. He is holding the Pirates hostage. With such a gorgeous stadium, Nutting fails to gather a competitive team. Nutting traded or failed to sign their star players, like Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen. Nutting’s popularity is dropping every year and the fans are begging for him to sell. At one point, Pittsburgh’s mayor Bill Peduto even once said that if Nutting were to sell the team, he would be a part of the answer to “find investors.” You know that is a huge issue when the mayor doesn’t have your back.
2. Miami Marlins
Since taking over the team in 2017, Miami Marlins’ owner Bruce Sherman has the second-lowest payroll in baseball. Sherman owns the majority of the team at 46 percent and has a record of 63- 98. Sherman took over the team from Jeffrey Loria and, since then, nothing has changed. Currently, the Marlins’ payroll is at $72.4 million, ranking second lowest in the league. Also, the Marlins’ newest stadium barely gets half-capacity. Even former CEO and shareholder Derek Jeter stepped away from this franchise. MLB should step in and try to figure out a solution because the Marlins haven’t been competitive in a long time, except for a short postseason run during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.
1. Baltimore Orioles
The 2022 worst MLB owner goes to Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles. Angelos has owned the Orioles for 27 seasons and has a record of 1,961-2,181 with zero World Series titles. When Angelos purchased the Orioles, he inherited a playoff-contending team and a new stadium. He turned the team from a contender to an absolute disaster. In the past 22 seasons, the Orioles only made the playoffs three times. Rumors were going around that the Orioles might relocate to Nashville, but the fan base in Baltimore is solid and those rumors were shot down. If money is spent and the team is competitive, the fans will come.
MLB needs to step in
Currently, Major League Baseball is extremely lopsided when it comes to the teams that choose to spend and those that don’t. The five above owners are all part of teams that refuse to spend money. If owners refuse to spend money, MLB should penalize them. These owners are making money from fans, TV contracts, and merchandise. With all of this money coming in, it is not fair for the average fan to watch a horrendous team.
Not every team will be built to win the World Series, but there is no reason why each team can’t be competitive.