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The implications of yesterday's Marlins-MLB-MLBPA deal

Jan 13, 2010, 8:30 AM EST

Marlins logo.jpgFor those who missed it due to all of the McGwire hoopla, the Marlins were taken to the woodshed yesterday over pocketing revenue sharing money instead of using it for its intended purpose.

The upshot: the Union had the Marlins dead to rights on violating Article XXIV(B)(5)(a)of the Basic Agreement, which commits teams to spending revenue sharing money “to improve its performance on the field.”  The Marlins quite obviously don’t do that, the union quite obviously threatened to file a grievance and MLB and the Marlins quite obviously realized they’d lose, so the Marlins agreed to raise payroll going forward.

Today Maury Brown has a great post up talking about the implications of the deal. Definitely give Maury a read, but in the meantime, here are what I think are the biggest takeaways:

  • Given that the Marlins now have a gun to their head to increase payroll, Dan Uggla and Josh Johnson were just handed the greatest possible leverage in their contract negotiations with the team. More so Johnson, who is currently haggling with the team over the length of a possible long term deal. The Marlins are now committed to raise payroll as they enter their new park in two years. The easiest way to get the heat off of them right now would be to give Johnson a deal that stretches into that time frame. The easiest way to take more immediate heat off would be to stop trying to trade Dan Uggla and give the man his $7 million or whatever he’s expected to get in arbitration.
  • This was a masterful, under-the-radar play by new union head Mike Weiner, accompanied by none of the sort of drama that has surrounded union-league dustups in the past.  While there have been dissatisfied rumbles regarding how certain teams spend their revenue sharing money, no one, not even the sports business junkies, was really reporting this beforehand and no one had leaked anything substantive about threats of grievances.  Such a thing would have been unthinkable when Don Fehr was in charge.
  • We’re really in a new era of union-league relations.  Baseball has had unprecedented labor peace since the 2002 negotiations, but I sort of figured that was more a function of there not really being anything to fight about as opposed to something changing in the overall dynamic. Now, granted, what the Marlins do with their revenue sharing money is not the biggest issue in the world, but it strikes me that this would have played out very differently even a few short years ago. The league would have dug in its heels more. Ideology would have taken over, at least for a while. That didn’t happen here.

As we sit here today, there’s no real reason to think that the 2011 CBA negotiations will be particularly contentious. But even so, it’s nice to see that an issue that could have gotten ugly was resolved with a minimum amount of fuss. 

Now let’s sit back and see how the NFL handles its labor business . . .

  1. Joey B - Jan 13, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    I agree with you IRT settling this without the drama. I know everyone involved are all millionaires, but I could do without someone screaming that it’s about putting food on the table.
    Having said that, “which commits teams to spending revenue sharing money “to improve its performance on the field.”, strikes me as inequitable. Why should the Marlins have to spend the money to improve its performance on the field when KC, Pitt, Cincy and the Mets don’t?
    I’m not saying they don’t spend money, but they are obviously not spending to improve their performance on the field.

  2. Jonny5 - Jan 13, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    Lol!! Good for Uggla. This team jerks players around more than any other team in the league. If I were a Rookie, I’d be scared to sign any deal with the Marlins. They are run by true Bastards with no desire to build a winning team.

  3. Jonny5 - Jan 13, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    Did I say build???? I meant keep a winning team…

  4. Old Gator - Jan 13, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    Can you see this shit-eating grin I’m wearing? I must look like someone who just threw up and feels much better for it.
    .
    The very idea of putting a gun to the Marlins’ collective heads strikes me as very funny. I have this image of Loria, Beinfest, the Chihuahua, whoever is their public relations director this year (talk about being appointed lookout on the Titanic!), some suit from the league office and Loria’s ex-wife’s divorce lawyer sitting around a table passing an empty pistol around, pointing it at their own heads and pulling the trigger while laughing their asses off. Then Loria gets the pistol, closes his eyes, and pulls the trigger – and opens them to see Mike Weiner, dressed in a North Vietnamese lieutenant’s uniform complete with red stars on his epaulets, placing a new pistol on the table that isn’t made of plastic.
    .
    Ands anyway, the threat here would be to the rest of us, not to them, if someone actually pulled the trigger on the new gun. There’d be a sudden, catastrophic drop in local atmospheric pressure as air rushed in to fill all those yawning vacuums and we’d be in hurricane season five and a half months early.

  5. Kevin - Jan 13, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    Once again, MLB shows how it closes its eyes to all around it. It did it with steroids, and it does it with the owners, using both sides for its own benefit… emphasis on “using”. No fair… unless you take responsibility, also, which it NEVER does.
    And this story is not even carried on mlb.com. Big surprise, eh ?

  6. Salvatore Merkle - Jan 16, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

  7. NFL news - Feb 3, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

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