Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BRASS Financial Overview

by Kevin Kolb

While the 2008-2009 BRASS season is in full swing, it is never too early to take a peek into the future. With money being so instrumental in a team’s ability to sustain or rebuild its prospects for playing winning baseball, it is probably worth a look to see which franchises are setting themselves up nicely for future growth -- and conversely, which teams are “playing with fire” as it relates to their finances.

Looking Good

Dayton Dragons

The Dayton Dragons are probably the league’s poster child when it comes to financial security. The Dragons currently sport the highest bank account in BRASS at approximately $122 million, nearly $23 million MORE than the 2nd “wealthiest” team Inyo. What makes Dayton’s bank account all the more intimidating is the fact that they have only $10 million in outstanding contract commitments over the course of the next four seasons. Add to that the fact that they have a very impressive collection of young players at various stages in their Y contract strings, and you have an organization that is poised to make some significant noise in upcoming BRASS seasons.

Inyo Face

As indicated earlier, the Face from Inyo are also sitting pretty from a financial perspective, with nearly $100 million stashed in the bank for a rainy day. Unlike Dayton, Inyo does have nearly $55 million in outstanding future contract commitments. Still, the robust cash reserves will more than cushion that blow, and still give the team plenty of room to add on during free agency should ownership choose to go that route.

Andover Cougars

Another team with exciting potential are the Cougars from Andover. While the club has taken a step back in the standings this season, it will not be long before this team is threatening the rest of the Gold League once again. An $84 million bank account and only $19 million in future contract commitments assures management the ability to supplement through free agency the impressive group of young talent being collected currently.

Delicate Future

On the flip-side, there are several BRASS organizations that have levered themselves up with a good deal of long term contracts. While this in almost all cases has led to a strong on-the-field team in 2008, it does place these same teams in somewhat delicate positions moving forward if these contracts prove to be less than sound long-term investments.

Green Bay Yoopers

The Yoopers from Green Bay have been transformed from league doormat to ferocious beast under its steady ownership. Clearly this team is positioned to make noise in October. Still, the team has approximately $316 million in outstanding future contract commitments over the next four years, and only $26 million in its bank account at present. This represents a $290 million deficit heading into this coming off-season. With a guaranteed payroll in excess of $100 million in each of the next two BRASS seasons, Yooper management will likely not have the same level of flexibility it has had in recent off-seasons.


Duluth-Superior is another team with championship aspirations in 2008-9. The team is loaded from top to bottom. Of course, this comes at a price. With only $3.6 million in its bank account currently, the Dukes could be stretched thin when it comes time to pay the nearly $256 million in outstanding future contracts currently on the books. Similarly, Meridian ($73 million in bank, $270 million outstanding commitments = $197 million deficit) and Sierra Nevada ($7 million in bank, $183 million outstanding commitments = $176 million deficit) are two other Silver league clubs with tremendous present on-field talent but also saddled with several expensive long term contractual commitments.

Of course, this article is only intended to serve as a snap-shot of how things currently stack up in BRASS. If BRASS history has shown us anything, it is that teams can reverse their fortunes either way in a relatively short period of time through trading of long term contracts or through signing a bevy or expensive free agents in the off-season.