It may have surprised the sports world last winter when the Nationals signed Jayson Werth to a massive seven-year, $126 million contract, but considering their owner's wealth it was perhaps about time.
Ted Lerner, the 85-year-old real estate guru and patriarch of the Nats, is in fact the richest owner in all of Major League Baseball with a total worth of $4.6 billion
. He leads the group by a good margin too as the second richest owner is Mike Ilitch of the Detroit Tigers with $1.7 billion.
But now a new candidate to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers has emerged and it could change the entire dynamic of rich owners in baseball. Steven Cohen, a Connecticut-based hedge fund manager worth upwards of $8 billion, has made a bid on the Dodgers and seems pretty serious about it. According to the L.A. Times
, Cohen has not only prepared a bid, but has also contacted "one of America’s notable sports architecture firms to propose renovations to Dodger Stadium."
Buying the team would of course require approval from the league, but according to NBC Sports the process will be different
this time around considering the team will be sold at auction. Cohen has potential baggage with insider trading chargers levied towards his company, SAC Capital Advisors. NBC also points out Cohen himself has not been implicated, but that the league could see problems with the issue.
If he does become owner of the Dodgers, Lerner would become the second richest owner in baseball by about three billion dollars. Considering the Nats and their history of low payrolls, and who has won recently in the MLB, it is interesting to note the owner of the Houston Astros ranks third with $1.5 billion and the owner of the Oakland Athletics ranks fourth with $1.1 billion.
Lerner seems to be the only owner of the few traditionally bad teams high on the list to have started spending money. At least if Cohen bought the Dodgers the Nationals wouldn't have to hold the distinction of being the richest owners with still one of the lowest payrolls. But then again, if they sign another big deal for a player like Prince Fielder, they will really change their reputation altogether.