Time to sell! The 5 worst owners in baseball.

NEW YORK — Now that we don’t have the Wilpons to kick around anymore, for the first time in a long time New York baseball fans can be thankful for two of the most committed owners in the sport in Steve Cohen and Hal Steinbrenner. If only this was the case everywhere else in baseball.

Unfortunately, as evidenced by the preponderance of tanking in recent years and the continued reluctance of many of the revenue-sharing recipients to spend that money on players, there remains a bunch of distressed franchises in baseball in desperate need of ownership change. Here are our nominations for the five worst owners in baseball who all need to go:

Indifferent Angelos family in Baltimore

The family patriarch, 92-year-old Peter Angelos, who bought the team in 1993, has been incapacitated in recent years. But while he was in control he did everything he could to destroy one of the model franchises in baseball — alienating so many of the Orioles legends, Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson, Mike Mussina, Jim Palmer, et al., running off Hall of Fame GM Pat Gillick, along with Orioles legend, manager Davey Johnson, refusing for years to invest in Latin America, overruling his economic advisor and signing Chris Davis to a ridiculous seven-year, $161 million extension, all in the name of just five postseason appearances (and no World Series) in 28 years.

The Orioles are now being run by Angelos’ sons John and Louis. In 2018, they fired GM Dan Duquette, along with Buck Showalter as manager, and turned over the baseball operations to analytics devotee Mike Elias, who had formerly worked under the king of tanking Jeff Luhnow in Houston. Under Elias’ leadership, the Orioles immediately embarked on tanking and have had two 100-plus loss seasons in the last three years and another likely last-place finish this year. Despite the much-anticipated recent arrival of 2019 overall No. 1 draft pick catcher Adley Rutschman, the Orioles have little to show for Elias’ first three drafts and the entire core of their present team — first baseman Ryan Mountcastle, center fielder Cedric Mullins, left fielder Austin Hays, DH Trey Mancini, right fielder Anthony Santander and No. 1 starter Bruce Zimmermann — were all signed/acquired by Duquette, as were their two top pitching prospects, Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall. Their other top prospect, shortstop Gunnar Henderson, was signed by 20-year Orioles scout Dean Anthony, whose reward was to be among the 11 scouts and veteran organization baseball people fired by Elias and replaced by analytics nerds.

The Rockies’ bumbling Dick Monfort

We’re talking flat out incompetence here. After he and his brother Charlie took over controlling interest from original Rockies owner Jerry McMorris in 2005, Monfort and his equally incompetent former GM Jeff Bridich made one disastrous decision after another — none worse than Bridich getting into a family feud with Nolan Arenado shortly after signing Colorado’s franchise player to an eight-year, $260 million extension. Instead of intervening and settling their differences, Monfort let the situation fester until finally trading Arenado to the Cardinals for a bunch of non prospects — and throwing in an extra $50 million to get the deal done.

Prior to that Monfort allowed the Rockies’ second best player, DJ LeMahieu, to leave as a free agent, two years after he’d led the majors with a .348 average, to the Yankees for a modest two-year, $24 million deal . At the same time, Bridich wasted $106 million on relief pitchers Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw, all of whom bombed out and another $70 million over five years in 2016 on Ian Desmond, who was out of baseball three years later. Monfort has been vilified by the fans and media in Colorado and rightfully so — and this offseason he showed there is no end to his incompetence when he bailed out agent Scott Boras by signing the declining Kris Bryant to a mind-boggling seven-year, $182 million contract. Bryant has already missed half of the Rockies’ games with a back issue.

Pittsburgh’s Invisible Man Bob Nutting

The Ogden Newspaper chain owner and resorts magnate Nutting bought controlling interest in the Pirates in 2007 and is about to embark on his 12th losing season out of 16 thanks to one tear-down/sell-off after another. Last year, a dreadful 101-loss Pirates team drew only 859,498 fans, the first time since 1995 they were under one million and their lowest attendance since 1985. The fans of Pittsburgh are fed up with Nutting constantly trading off the Pirates’ best players for next to nothing in lieu of paying them. To wit: Gerrit Cole to Houston in 2018 where the best of the four prospects the Pirates got in return, Joe Musgrove, they gave away three years later for three more non-prospects from the Padres; Clay Holmes to the Yankees last July for two more non-prospects; Starling Marte to the Diamondbacks in 2020 for two players who never made it and international bonus pool money.

In every deal, the Pirates were fleeced, but their payroll has remained consistently in the bottom five of baseball at the same time Nutting has happily collected his estimated $30 million in revenue sharing every year. In recent years, Nutting has not been seen around PNC Park, nor has he spoken to the media. The fervent wish in Pittsburgh is that his next press conference will be to sell the team.

Bob Castellini’s Rotten Fruit in Cincinnati

The 80-year-old Castellini, who made his fortune in the fruit and vegetable industry, bought controlling interest in the Reds in 2006 and immediately proclaimed he bought the team to win and that anything else would be unacceptable. Except in his 16 years as owner, only eight teams in baseball have lost more games than the Reds, who are also one of only seven teams not to make the LCS over that span. Like Nutting, Castellini is another owner who loves that estimated $30-40 million in revenue sharing he gets every year but doesn’t so much love putting it into payroll. He also loves meddling in the baseball operations of the Reds, much to the team’s demise. In 2013, he ordered the firing of Dusty Baker as manager when Dusty refused to fire his batting coach and the Reds haven’t been the same since.

In 2018, Castellini decided to go all-in on analytics and hired Nick Krall as his GM to implement that strategy — and according to sources that was a prime reason for the resignation of highly respected Dick Williams as Reds president in 2020. But this past winter was the final straw for the disillusioned Reds fan base (averaging barely 16,000 this year) when Castellini followed up a promising 83-79 season by ordering a payroll-gutting sell-off of all the Reds best players — catcher Tucker Barnhart, left fielder Jesse Winker, third baseman Eugenio Suarez and right-hander Sonny Gray, while non-tendering last year’s top winner Wade Miley and making no effort to re-sign free agent Nick Castellanos.

Compounding that were the whining tone-deaf remarks by Castellini’s son, Phil, in response to the fan and media criticism: “Well where you gonna go? start there. Sell ​​the team? to who? Be careful what you wish for. You want to be more profitable, compete more in the current economic system it would be to pick it up and move it someplace else.” When Marge Schott sold the Reds in 1999 it was hard to imagine the Reds ever having a worse owner, but Castellini is sure giving her a run for it.

John Fisher’s Oakland follies

In Oakland, the sell-off of the A’s best players before they reach free agency has been an annual exercise, but this winter Fisher, the Gap mogul who became the A’s majority owner in 2005, took it to another level, trading away a combined 66 homers and 183 RBIs in first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman, and 23 wins in starting pitchers Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea while making no effort to re-sign free agent Mark Canha. The moves effectively reduced the A’s payroll from $90 million to about $47 million and could not have pleased Commissioner Rob Manfred who, for the first time decreed the A’s, despite playing in the 13th-ranked market, will be revenue sharing recipients this year.

Sources say Billy Beane, who successfully navigated the A’s through so many previous selloffs while somehow keeping them competitive, has had it with Fisher and is phasing himself out. At the same time setting himself up to reap a nice profit this year, Fisher substantially hiked the price of season tickets on top of the $30 for parking, and in case you haven’t heard, there’s a fan boycott going on in Oakland. The A’s are averaging a major league-worst 7,928 fans and in a recent series against the Mariners, less than 5,000 fans attended any of the four games. All the while the contentious, interminable negotiations between the A’s and Oakland city and county bureaucrats over the proposed new waterfront stadium in the Howard Terminal section go on, Fisher is threatening to move the team to Las Vegas. A major league official, speaking with the promise of anonymity, was asked last week just how Fisher is viewed by the rest of the owners: “John is a guy who doesn’t care much about baseball. He’s in the game to make a profit.”

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