If you’re one of the top players in baseball, you’re going to get paid. This is how it works in professional sports, and it holds especially true for the big-time talent in Major League Baseball. Yet, if you ever wonder why some clubs are more willing than others to throw massive contracts at players, the answer is simple: They got the money.
According to Forbes’ calculations, the average MLB team is worth $1.54 billion. Yeah, that’s billion with a “B.” We’ll give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor. Ready? Excellent. In the end, while only one team can sit alone at the top of the financial mountain, these are the 10 most valuable MLB teams in 2017.
10. Washington Nationals
Current value: $1.6 billion
Despite going 97-65 in 2016 and winning the NL East for the third time in five series, the Washington Nationals failed to get the job done in the postseason — once again. Given the immense talent on this roster, including all-world superstar Bryce Harper and ace Max Scherzer, one would think it’s only a matter of time before this club advances past the division series. At least ownership can take comfort in knowing the Nats are currently valued at $1.6 billion, up 23% from the previous season.
9. Philadelphia Phillies
Current value: $1.65 billion
Even in the midst of a massive rebuild, the Philadelphia Phillies are among the most valuable teams in Major League Baseball. Perhaps this has something to do with the team’s ever-shrinking payroll over the last fews seasons, as well as the incredibly loyal Philadelphia fan base. Either way, this club’s value increased 34% in the last year and now stands at $1.65 billion.
8. Los Angeles Angels
Current value: $1.75 billion
On the flip side, the Los Angeles Angels have a large payroll and not much to show for it. Save for the greatest — and most valuable — player in baseball in Mike Trout, this organization consistently fails to live up to expectations. And yet, the Angels are still worth a cool $1.75 billion. Only in Hollywood — well, Anaheim to be more specific.
7. St. Louis Cardinals
Current value: $1.8 billion
The St. Louis Cardinals deliver on the field and they have a massive fan base. According to Forbes, in 2016, the organization had both the second-highest average attendance (42,524) and local TV ratings (8.15) in the bigs. For these reasons, among others, the Cardinals saw their year-over-year value increase 12% to $1.8 billion.
6. New York Mets
Current value: $2.0 billion
The New York Mets have seen a resurgence over the last few years, earning trips to the postseason in each of the last two seasons. While the club fell to the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 World Series, that sort of success definitely goes a long way toward boosting morale — and a club’s valuation. In 2016, Citi Field’s average attendance was up 10% from the previous year, and the Mets’ overall value rose 21% to $2.0 billion. Not bad.
5. San Francisco Giants
Current value: $2.65 billion
After defeating the New York Mets in the NL wild-card game, the San Francisco Giants were unable to topple the mighty Chicago Cubs in the division series. Still, as far as team valuations are concerned, the Giants most certainly stay true to their name. The organization’s value had a one-year increase of 18%, rising to an impressive $2.65 billion.
4. Chicago Cubs
Current value: $2.68 billion
In 2016, the Chicago Cubs took 108 years of heartbreak and knocked it out of the park, giving their long-suffering fans a gift few thought they would ever see: a World Series championship. On top of that, ownership saw a 22% increase in year-over-year value, raising the team’s overall worth to $2.68 billion. Imagine what would happen if the Cubbies could go back-to-back. Hey, once you vanquish a curse of such magnitude, there’s nothing wrong with reaching for the stars.
3. Boston Red Sox
Current value: $2.7 billion
The Red Sox are and should always be among the most valuable MLB teams. Per Forbes, the organization boasted the highest average non-premium ticket price ($58) during the 2016 season and had no issues raising the costs in 2017. With a 17% increase in value over the last year, the Red Sox come in at No. 3 on the list with an overall worth of $2.7 billion.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Current value: $2.75 billion
The 2016 season was quite successful for the Los Angeles’ favorite baseball team. The Dodgers won the National League West with a 91-71 record, advanced to the championship series (before falling to the Cubbies; hey, you can’t win ‘em all), and raised their year-over-year value by a cool 10%. With a $2.75 billion value, the Dodgers are firmly planted in the No. 2 spot.
1. New York Yankees
Current value: $3.7 billion
When it comes to MLB team valuations, there’s simply no stopping the New York Yankees. Despite experiencing a dip in attendance in 2016, the Bronx Bombers still managed to pull in the second highest attendance in the American League (average of 37,819 per game) and generated the highest revenue ($526 million) in the game. At their current value of $3.7 billion, the pinstripes have — as always in terms of the mighty dollar — left their competition in the dust.
To see the rest of Forbes’ list of “Baseball’s Most Valuable Teams 2017,” click here.