Forbes Magazine has released it’s annual “Business of Baseball” article and announces that Major League teams enjoyed record profits last season, which of course everyone “inside” the baseball industry denies…yet they won’t open their books for study.

One public story, the divorce of the Dodgers owners, may be a huge opportunity for the world to understand baseball finance and how these teams “manage their books.” If you have an interest in where the monies actually go, this may be a story to watch.

As for the Reds, here are some quick charts to compare the Reds to other Major League teams. This chart shows an estimated current value of the Reds; Forbes estimates it at $331 million, or about $60 million more than the value when Bob Castellini bought the team three years ago. The table shows the Reds were 15th in baseball with operating income of $17.8 million last season alone.

This page discusses the Reds’ organization itself. Even with the nearly $60 million increase in value over the past three seasons, Forbes estimates the Reds lost 3% of their value last season. Nine consecutive losing seasons will do that to a franchise; the Reds averaged 21,579 fans per game last season, the lowest total since 1986. The article also mentions five expensive contracts on the books that have not yet paid off in turning the team around.

One really interesting piece in the article: the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, and Houston Astros are listed as three of the top eleven most valuable teams in baseball. The Reds are 25th. The team with the highest operating income? The Florida Marlins with $46 million. The Marlins’ player expenses for 2009 were $48 million. The Marlins finished second in the Eastern Division with 87 wins last season.