The Houston Astros, owners of the league's worst record in baseball at 43-86, are the most profitable franchise in 2013, according to a Forbes report. According to the Forbes report, the Astros franchise will become the most profitable team in baseball history.
The Astros are reportedly on pace to make $99 million in operating income, thanks to a severely limited payroll and increased television revenue. The Astros, however, released a statement refuting some of the details in the report later on Monday. The team said that some of the figures relating to its revenue were off base.
Here's the full statement, via CBS Sports:
We are very disappointed that, earlier today, Forbes released an article that includes significant inaccuracies relating to the Astros' finances. The Astros do not disclose financial information. However, as MLB will confirm, the information reported in the Forbes article relating to the Astros' revenues, the Astros media rights fee from CSN Houston, and CSN Houston's per subscriber rate are all significantly inaccurate. As a result, the conclusion about the Astros operational profit is significantly inaccurate.
The Astros will continue to operate the team in a fiscally responsible manner that will make the City of Houston proud. We are very excited about our accomplishments and we remain steadfast in our commitment to this rebuilding process. We have established a basis of young talent on our MLB roster that will continue to improve. And our minor league system is now one of the best in MLB. As our young prospects develop, we will move them up to the Major League roster and increase our payroll to a level that will allow the Astros to compete for World Championships. The success of CSN Houston is a vital piece of that process and we continue to work toward establishing full distribution.
The frugal Astros have limited their payroll expenses to an extreme this season, opening the year with a league-low $26 million payroll. They have since slashed their payroll to $13 million by trading or releasing four of the five players earning more than $1 million this season. According to Forbes, the Astros' estimated $99 million income would be more than what the past six World Series champions have earned combined. Astros owner Jim Crane told ESPN the Magazine in June that once the Astros' minor league system has been filled, the club would sport a payroll in the top 10 or top five of the league.