Nine of Major League Baseball’s 30 franchises were listed as violating its debt service rules, the Los Angeles Times reported, with the franchises in the red to more than 10 times their annual earnings.
The Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals all fell foul of the agreed limit, the paper said Thursday, citing "information presented in a confidential briefing at the owners’ meetings last month."
While the financial plights of the Mets and Dodgers were well documented, former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent said the presence of seven more teams on the list was "troublesome."
MLB’s executive vice president of labor relations, Rob Manfred, played down the "snapshot" figure as "misleading" because many of the teams were set to fall back into compliance with the rules.
His view was supported by the chief executive of one National League franchise, who called the figure of nine teams a "hiccup" before adding, "We’re still thriving."
The debt service rules were agreed upon during the 2002 labor negotiations following a dramatic rise in club debt that included a $1 billion jump between 1999 and 2001 to take the collective total to $3.1 billion.
Commissioner, Bud Selig can exercise 16 possible actions against teams in breach of the debt rules, the newspaper reported, including requiring league approval of a team’s expenditure or even the suspension of a team owner.