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Yankees most valuable Major League Baseball team, Mets 6th, Forbes says

From left, Yankees' catcher Chris Stewart, manager Joe

From left, Yankees' catcher Chris Stewart, manager Joe Girardi, shortstop Derek Jeter and first baseman Juan Rivera (54) wait out a pitching change after Girardi removed starter Andy Pettitte during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Tampa, Fla. (March 13, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

Think those hot dogs at Yankee Stadium are a little pricey?

Those franks -- plus tickets, parking fees and souvenirs -- are helping to support a $2.3 billion valuation that makes the Bronx Bombers the Rolls-Royce of Major League Baseball.

The New York Yankees, whose last World Series title came in 2009, nonetheless were No. 1 in Forbes' 2013 ranking of MLB Team Values released Thursday.

The team's 2012 revenue was $471 million, according to Forbes.

The magazine estimated that the average MLB team is worth $744 million, an increase of 23 percent from 2012. In assessing the valuations, Forbes considered operating income, debt service on stadiums, television rights fees, digital media fees and MLB's investment portfolio.

The rebuilding Mets were No. 6 on the list, with an estimated value of $811 million and revenue of $232 million.

The rankings were released just days before Monday's Opening Day for both New York baseball teams. The Yankees and Mets will share the spotlight Monday with 1 p.m. home openers. The Yankees will host AL East rival the Boston Red Sox, while the Mets play the San Diego Padres.

The Yankees, whose graybeard roster includes shortstop Derek Jeter, 38, starting pitcher Andy Petite, 40 and closer Mariano Rivera, 43, did not sign any marquee free agents over the winter.

The Yankees were the only MLB team in 2012 whose payroll triggered the MLB luxury tax, which gets distributed to other teams. But in public statements, general partner Hal Steinbrenner has pointed to a future where player salaries will be more constrained.

The Mets, meanwhile, have cut payroll in recent years, shedding expensive contracts and focusing on player development. Their big offseason move was to trade Cy Young winning knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to Toronto in a seven-player deal that brought a highly regarded catching prospect to Flushing.

The Forbes ranking Thursday placed the Los Angeles Dodgers, valued at $1.6 billion, at No. 2. With new ownership, the Dodgers have usurped the Yankees as the most free-spending team in the majors.

Third on the list was Boston, embraced by some in the Hudson Valley on the outskirts of Red Sox Nation. The team was valued at $1.3 billion and had revenues of $336 million.

Chicago Cubs at $1 billion rank No. 4 in valuation.

The Philadelphia Phillies came in fifth place with an $893 million valuation.

In last place among the 30 teams?

The Tampa Bay Rays with a valuation of $451 million and 2012 revenue of $167 million.

New York Sports