John Angelos: Orioles have to raise prices ‘dramatically’ to keep young stars

John Angelos: Orioles have to raise prices 'dramatically' to keep young stars

The Baltimore Orioles are flying toward the playoffs with a bright young team, but owner John Angelos isn’t sure if it’s sustainable to keep the club’s core together long term.

Angelos cited his team’s small market as the reason it might be impossible to pay its core stars what they’re worth.

“The hardest thing to do in sports is be a small-market team in baseball and be competitive because everything is stacked against you – everything,” Angelos told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.

Angelos added the Orioles would need to “dramatically” raise prices at the ballpark if they’re to keep the likes of Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, and Grayson Rodriguez, among others, for the long haul.

Baltimore is emerging from a dreadful rebuild in which the team recorded three 100-loss campaigns in six years, including a franchise-worst 115 defeats in 2018. But the rebuild is now bearing fruit on the field, where the O’s are poised to win their first division title since 2014 and earn just their sixth playoff appearance since Peter Angelos – John’s father – bought the team in 1993.

The club’s success is happening despite a $70-million payroll that ranks 28th in baseball. Young homegrown stars such as franchise cornerstones Rutschman and Henderson, along with Rodriguez, Felix Bautista, and Ryan Mountcastle, are powering the team while making close to minimum salaries.

But as the team continues to revitalize baseball in Baltimore, off-field issues are causing angst among the Orioles’ rabid fan base. The club’s lease at Camden Yards ends on Dec. 31, leaving its future potentially up in the air. However, Angelos has previously said he won’t move the team. Critics and fans also lambasted the Orioles earlier in August after the organization suspended TV broadcaster Kevin Brown for mentioning its recent struggles in Tampa Bay. Angelos told Kepner that Brown’s ban “shouldn’t have happened.”

There’s also been plenty of concern – even before Angelos’ latest comments – that the owner won’t spend what’s needed to keep his homegrown stars in Baltimore long term. However, the 56-year-old seemed to imply that retaining the stars for the foreseeable future will come down to the small-market organization’s bottom line.

“I don’t think you should run losses,” Angelos said. “I think you should live within your means and within your market.”

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