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New CBA to result in less talent for baseball, more money for mediocrities

Nov 22, 2011, 6:00 PM EDT

Commissioner of Baseball Selig gestures to the crowd after throwing out the opening pitch before the start of Game 5 of the MLB National League Divisional League Series baseball playoff in Milwaukee Reuters

The MLBPA had held out for so long in not selling out those entering the league. That all changed in recent weeks.

Tuesday’s newly announced CBA doesn’t technically cap draft spending, but it will severely punish any team that exceeds MLB’s proposed slot caps. Teams that go 10 percent over slot will be taxed by 100 percent that amount and lose future first- and second-round picks. Teams that go 15 percent over slot will face the same tax and lose two future first-round picks.

The CBA also eliminated major league deals for draft picks, which might well have allowed teams a workaround for giving prospects extra bonuses.

MLB owners now have pretty much the draft they’ve already wanted. Reportedly, there are even provisions to go to a worldwide draft by 2014, cutting further into the already reduced bonuses Latin American prospects are now facing.

For baseball as a whole, this is a gloomy day. Yes, labor peace is nice. So is having the best talent possible playing in MLB. Part of what made baseball so tempting for two-sport athletes all this time is that they can cash in right after high school. Now that the bonuses are going to be smaller, the next Carl Crawford or Matt Holliday may well opt for football. Also, it’d be no surprise if we start seeing the occasional high-profile Latin American prospect and major league draftee choose to begin his pro career in Japan.

And where will that extra money go? To Juan Rivera, of course. It’s players like Mark Ellis, Rod Barajas and Javier Lopez that will take advantage. That middle class of free agents, whose portion of the pie had gotten smaller as the last decade went along, is starting to see a big rebound now. Those teams that blanch at the idea of spending $20 million per year on a superstar never see the problem with spending $4 million-$5 million per year on a player who might be 10 percent better than a guy making the minimum.

Which is great for the MLBPA, as it’s presently constituted. The players looked out for No. 1 and will definitely benefit in the short term. The game itself, though, is a little less healthier than it was a month ago.

  1. bowens3181 - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Soooooooooooooooo pretty much they’re taking the money from the young guys who are just getting into the league and haven’t proved anything yet and giving it to the older, established guys who have been at it for several years.
    Sounds a lot like any normal business in North America doesn’t it…

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:25 PM

      If you really think owners are going to go “my current budget is $100M. Now that we cut the MiLB budget from $15M to $5M, I can spend $10M more on players” rather than pocket that money, I’ve got a few bridges in Manhattan I want to sell you. Package deal, real cheap.

      • djpostl - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:29 PM

        you do realize that other provisions in the CBA say otherwise right? This is just shifting $$ from one area where it is spent to another one. I have zero problem with rewarding established players over guys coming into the league who haven’t done shit.

      • paperlions - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:43 PM

        Actually, it doesn’t. It shift any money, it just says not to spend it on the draft or international market. There is no mechanism to “shift” money to other spending outlets.

        ….and what “sounds a lot like any normal business in North America” is companies controlling costs to increase owner/board profits, any “savings” is never invested in the work force.

      • The Common Man - Nov 23, 2011 at 12:01 AM

        @djpostl

        Here’s the problem; those players “who haven’t done shit” have actually done a lot to train and prep themselves to where they’re desirable prospects. They deserve the opportunity to get paid what they’re worth, not some artificially lowered price.

    • JBerardi - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:29 PM

      More like they’re discouraging young guys from even joining the company in the first place.

      • pjmarn6 - Nov 23, 2011 at 12:53 AM

        Giving $480,000 to a brash rookie isn’t taking money from anyone. It’s obscene. Go to college and then get your first job and know before land it you are getting $480,000 for half a year’s work! Essentially the years in the minors is college and if you don’t make the majors by the time you are 25, you washed out.
        There was a story today on msnbc.com that 45% of Americans are having a hard time making ends meet and then go out and give someone who has a little better eye hand coordination 6 times what a teacher makes per year????? You people have let the national pastime become a national joke. And you are the target!

      • The Common Man - Nov 23, 2011 at 1:43 AM

        Look, ballplayers get paid what they get paid because millions of people love the game and pay a ton of money to watch them. There’s no sense being pissed at them for it anymore than we should be angry at firefighters, service members, teachers, or police who make far too little to do their jobs.

      • pjmarn6 - Nov 23, 2011 at 6:55 AM

        Common man, a great name for a person lacking common sense. I enjoy seeing so many people willing to drive themselves into the poor house so that a few can laugh up their sleeves at you. When will you see a year’s salary of $480,000 for half a year’s “work”? Especially before you prove yourself in a job? All you nitwits have become immune to these large payroll numbers. Just as you have become immune to the idiots in congress that have spent your future, your children’s future and your grandchildren’s future. None of you can imagine $15 Trillion dollars as a deficit and none of you can imagine going to the bank each week and putting into you account $500,000.
        That last swing by Rodriguez when he struck out, you all remember it? Last swing with men on base? He got $9,000 for that swing. And you all applaud him.
        Alex Rodriguez had 373 at bats and had a salary of $32,000,000. Simple division gets you almost $86,000 an at bat and he hit .276 and drove in 62 runs and an obp of .362. He got a 7 million dollar ÏNCREASE in Salary over 2010 and is 36 years old. Take a look at Yogi Berra, Ted Willams, Mickey Mantle, Hank Bauer, Bobby Richardson, Babe Ruth, Whitey Ford, Tony Kubeck, Moose Skowron, Billy Marin, Phil Rizzuto, Elston Howard, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Roger Maris, Reggie Jackson, HankAaron, and you will see that most retire by 35-36-37 and all show a remarkable decrease in productivity by those ages. Now what sense is it to give a play a 30% raise, as was given to Alex Rodriguez when the baseball owners know that statistically they are getting not only diminishing returns on his former salary but that by giving him a raise, they are keeping a performer who can not be counted on to help the team? The player and agent of course are going to make all the noises they can to get the money, but the owners are fools! Bring up new talent. Get Rid of Rodriguez and trade for some young potentials. All you enthusiasts can’t see the stupidity of the owners and the greed of the players. But anyone who can read stats and understand the economics and theory of baseball can see how stupid owners and how you follow them all to the slaughter, where you are fleeced and put on the spit!

      • pjmarn6 - Nov 23, 2011 at 7:14 AM

        And I bet you all kiss ass to get a raise at work and complain about the CEO’s who make millions and come up with products and cheat the public with added costs on airline seats, added costs on car rentals, hotel rooms etc. Yet when they brazenly get $7,000,000 extra for half a year’s work drops his rbi production 50% you all run to his side, with some wild stories. At least Derrick Jeter got a 8 million dollar decrease in salary but so far took the Yankees for over $220,000,000. Think about that for a second. At your present rate of pay how many life times would it take you to make $220,000,000 and remember it is for half a year. So in reality if you double that to $440,000,000 dollars, as you work year round, it would probably take you over 200 life times to make that money. And you still believe they are worth the salaries? And with the obvious stupidity of the owners of giving guaranteed increased contracts to older players, it is still the national pastime or the national hoodwinking scheme? “COME SEE THE AGING STAR MAKE A FOOL OF HIMSELF AND MAYBE GET A HIT!” And by the way Alex Rodriguez distinguished himself in the last 4 post season series by hitting .206! There you go, just hit .206 and get $32,000,000 care of the intelligent baseball fans.

      • pjmarn6 - Nov 23, 2011 at 7:15 AM

        Baseball players and owners are so good at cheating the public, they should all run for congress.

      • The Common Man - Nov 23, 2011 at 8:48 AM

        Good lord are you preachy, @pjmarn6. No one actually argues that baseball players are “worth” $23 million, or $15 million, or $1 million, or even $480,000 on some overall benefit to society pay scale. They aren’t. But they are worth that much to their employers, because the MLB owners see a return on that investment based on the support of baseball fans, who love going to games and watching them.

        I see no reason to be angry at players for taking advantage of our society’s misplaced priorities, and for making as much money as they can from the game, though I am livid about their decision to bargain away the economic rights of young, poor players they don’t even represent so that Willie Bloomquist and Ty Wigginton can make a little more.

      • JBerardi - Nov 23, 2011 at 8:57 AM

        “There was a story today on msnbc.com that 45% of Americans are having a hard time making ends meet and then go out and give someone who has a little better eye hand coordination 6 times what a teacher makes per year?????”

        The joke is that you’re worried about the half million that some kid from the Dominican is getting– so worried, in fact, that you want to take it away from him, because a schoolteacher doesn’t have it. Guess what? Lower that kid’s salary, lower his bonus, do you think teachers or firefighters or cops see a dime of that money? Hell no– Loria or Stienbrenner or Glass pockets the difference. It’s that simple.

        You want teachers to be paid more? Write your congress critter, run for local office, join a political organization that advances that cause. Take action, or at least give some money to someone who is. And if you don’t want teachers to be paid more? Well, you could whine on the internet that athletes are somehow to blame for that. That’d be a good way to not help.

    • anxovies - Nov 25, 2011 at 8:53 PM

      pjmarn6: Rodriguez had a poor year because he had an injured leg and thumb that would have put a plumber or electrician on workers’ comp. He received those injuries playing baseball for his team. He did everything he could to get back in the lineup and rehabbed and played with the kind of pain that would send a lot of people to the hospital. Your easy dismissal of his effort and contempt for his statistics is not warranted. He did the best he could and helped his team to the most wins in baseball and should be respected for it. Love him or hate him, ARod has never been accused of malingering.

  2. djpostl - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Nobody is going to “opt for football” if they are a true baseball talent. Non-guaranteed deals and a 3 year average career span say otherwise. Sorry, that is just a strawman argument.

    • JBerardi - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:35 PM

      You know that Joe Mauer was the #1 high school quarterback in the country, right? It took $5.15M to put him in a Twins uniform. He’s hardly the only example. The most skilled, most desirable athletes are the ones least restricted to playing baseball.

    • paperlions - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:48 PM

      Puerto Rico used to be a great market for baseball talent. Then they included PR in the draft, removing the signing bonuses players could get as FA, and the athletes in PR stopped playing baseball and started playing soccer and basketball. If they include the rest of Latin America, the same thing will happen there…..and there are a lot of 2-sport US athletes that will chose other sports.

      The biggest effect this is going to have is to take away one advantage small market teams had….they could spend $15M/year on the draft and get a better return for their investment than $15M in the FA market….now, that ability is gone….go big market teams….people think competitive balance is bad in baseball now? It is about to get much worse. This should be called the Fuck You Tampa Rule.

      • Matthew Pouliot - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:58 PM

        Great post.

        Everytime someone brings up the declining African American population in baseball, I always have the same thought: abolish the draft. If teams were allowed to set up camps in the U.S. like they do in the Dominican Republic and then sign players from those camps once they graduate high school, then many more great athletes would be playing baseball.

        But I’m not saying it’s the right way to go about it; it’d almost certainly create more problems than it’d solve.

      • JBerardi - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:38 PM

        “Puerto Rico used to be a great market for baseball talent. Then they included PR in the draft, removing the signing bonuses players could get as FA, and the athletes in PR stopped playing baseball and started playing soccer and basketball.”

        I don’t have anything to add. but this really is an excellent point.

      • pjmarn6 - Nov 23, 2011 at 12:57 AM

        Ridiculous analysis. As it was shown by Michael Jordan, if you have the physical ability for one sport you don’t necessarily have the physical ability for another sport. A person who can play ss cannot play forward in basketball. And a guard in football cannot be a pitcher in baseball. Kids develop attributes in sports and swing that way. They see these ridiculous salaries and go for it.

      • The Common Man - Nov 23, 2011 at 8:52 AM

        Michael Jordan didn’t play organized baseball since he was at least 18 years old and tried to jump back in at 31. He also was 6’6″ and extremely tall for a baseball player, so that he had a particularly large strikezone and complicated swing mechanics. Bad example, doofus.

      • JBerardi - Nov 23, 2011 at 9:08 AM

        ” As it was shown by Michael Jordan, if you have the physical ability for one sport you don’t necessarily have the physical ability for another sport. A person who can play ss cannot play forward in basketball.”

        Actually, the fact that Michael Jordon was able to walk into AA ball– a very advanced level– and hit .200 after having been away from the game for ten years and having never having played professionally in the first place is a remarkable achievement. There’s plenty of good college players who can’t do that; there’s guys from the dominican who’ve been in pro ball for half a decade and can’t do that. It’s incredibly impressive, and it makes me think that there’s a very good chance Jordan would have been a good, possibly even great major league hitter if he’d put in the thousands upon thousands of PAs at a young age that it takes to actually achieve that.

        Again, you really have no clue about how major league players are acquired and developed. I cannot emphasize enough how different it is from other sports. If you’re thinking about it in NBA or NFL terms, you’re going to be way, way off.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:04 PM

      Non-guaranteed deals and a 3 year average career span say otherwise

      The non-guaranteed deal in NFL is such a ridiculous argument. MLB contracts aren’t guaranteed either, you can cut the player as soon as you want, you just owe him the remaining balance of the contract. In the NFL, you owe the player the entire signing bonus (which is why it’s much larger than in other sports).

      • Kevin S. - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:25 PM

        And during team control, you can non-tender a player and owe him nothing. NFL players at least, as you mentioned, get the money up front. Anybody that’s made it to the guaranteed contract portion of their career has already well surpassed the average career length, especially when you include MiLB.

      • JBerardi - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:29 PM

        “Anybody that’s made it to the guaranteed contract portion of their career has already well surpassed the average career length, especially when you include MiLB.”

        “Hey kids, play baseball! We won’t give you any money to keep you away from that college scholarship, and we damn sure won’t pay you ANY money in the minors, and we won’t pay you very much your first three years in the majors… but then, if you’re one of the 5% of players that actually makes it that far, jackpot!”

        Yeah, what an enticing offer.

      • umrguy42 - Nov 23, 2011 at 9:19 AM

        True, but the latest CBA for the NFL put caps on what they can do for contracts for players that come in through the draft as well… the days of a #1 draft pick getting $50 million plus are now gone.

    • Kyle - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:46 PM

      Yeah, this is just not even close to being correct. Money talks.

      • pjmarn6 - Nov 23, 2011 at 1:00 AM

        100% right on $480,000 for a 21 year old out of AAA is not very much for your first year. What bullshi*. In 3-4 years a mediocre player can retire a millionaire and never work again in his life. And if he can get one day into his fifth year, he gets an unbelievable baseball pension.

      • The Common Man - Nov 23, 2011 at 8:54 AM

        Explain to me why that is a bad thing, let alone a B.S. thing.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 23, 2011 at 9:47 AM

        Obviously TCM it’s because players aren’t like CEO’s of companies who are creating all these products that are enriching our lives. Nevermind that pjmarn6 goes on to blast those same CEOs, or that mostly the executive management doesn’t create squat…

    • anxovies - Nov 25, 2011 at 8:58 PM

      Let’s see, play pro football at a high level and maybe last 5-10 years with a salary of $4-5 mill a year if you are real lucky, or play baseball for 15-20 years at $10-20 mill and be able to walk away without using a cane or drooling. Football sure looks good to me. Right.

  3. schlom - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    Won’t it actually just lead to two sport athletes playing two sports in college (instead of just concentrating on baseball)?

    The draft changes seems like baseball wants to become more like basketball and football, in that they are passing on the development of young players to the NCAA (with the exception of the very top ones).

    • JBerardi - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:02 PM

      No, it’ll lead to two-sport athletes getting full football or basketball scholarships (they don’t give full rides for baseball), and they’ll focus on that sport exclusively.

  4. tgthree - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    A question: has anyone actually reported what the amount of the signing bonus pools will be? The top spender in the 2011 was the Pirates, who dropped $17 million, and Jim Callis over at Baseball America reported that teams collectively spent $228 million (or about $7.6 million per team). They could conceivably set the cap somewhere in the $10-12 million range to curtail the really high-end spending but leave open the ability for teams to go overslot.

    I’m not saying that they would do that, but while the owners and players certainly aren’t negotiating a CBA for the sake of the fans, nor are they just too dumb to realize that small-market teams have been benefiting from the draft. And those small-market owners get a vote in all this, too. Even the big-market owners likely recognize that parity helps keep the game financially healthy.

    Perhaps I’m giving the negotiating parties too much credit, but maybe it’s worth actually seeing what the numbers will be before heaping too much criticism.

    • schlom - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:30 PM

      I think you are right on this – the owners probably don’t care so much about the $15m deals to the #1 picks but the $5m deals given outside of the first round. Better to let those players go to college and see how they do in the following three years.

      • JBerardi - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:38 PM

        “Better to let those players go to college and see how they do in the following three years.”

        Yeah, I’d be very curious to see what kind of numbers Brandon Jacobs would be putting up playing football exclusively at Auburn:

        Had the Red Sox been restricted in the bonus money they could have offered Jacobs, a 10th-round pick, negotiations might never have taken place at all. Had the Red Sox not been able to offer the $750,000 they paid Jacobs to turn down his football scholarship — for the sake of context, the other 10th-round picks that year averaged under $100,000 in bonus money — he might have taken his spikes and helmet to Auburn and never looked back.

        “If slot was a factor in my draft, it definitely would have been a harder decision for us,” Jacobs said. “The fact that you can put a number on a kid’s value and not allow extra money to be thrown in there will turn some heads. Kids will go to school and get better and come out and get the money they want. If there’s a potential slot on, you’ll have less kids signing and more going to school before going into the draft. If kids are realizing that the money is not there anymore, it’s definitely going to turn some heads.”

        Jacobs would not have played college baseball at Auburn. He’d have made football his full-time priority.
        “Playing two sports in college is a pretty hard challenge, so I’d probably have been football-only,” he said.

        http://blogs.providencejournal.com/sports/red-sox/2011/11/new-limits-on-draft-spending-threaten-to-hurt-red-sox-turn-two-sport-athlet.html#.TswJ_XPHA65

        The Red Sox did pay Jacobs the better part of a million dollars to focus on baseball instead. He just hit .303/.376/.505, putting up 30 steals to go with 52 extra base hits in his first full season of pro ball.

      • JBerardi - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:03 PM

        Blockquote fail. That bit after the link is mine.

      • tgthree - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:00 PM

        @schlom: You may very well be right, although I sort of subscribe to the opposite line of thinking. To me, the owners would want to curb the salaries of the top guys while leaving teams available to hand out a $2 million bonus or three to later-round guys. If I’m an owner, Josh Bell’s deal doesn’t irritate me nearly as much as, say, Stephen Strasburg’s, where Scott Boras basically created a market out of nothing. He just started screaming “$30 million” and the media ate it up so much that everyone seemed to think $15 million was a bargain at the end of the day.

        And if they set the draft cap correctly ($10-12 million?), they can probably allow teams to remain aggressive in the later rounds while curtailing the the guys in the top ten. Just my two cents. Not sure if it will actually turn out that way, but it could.

    • paperlions - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

      It is reported that bonuses after the 10th round will be capped at $100,000, which is about a 40% reduction from last year’s 10th round bonuses…which is NOT a good sign for how high (or rather, how low) the cap will be.

      • tgthree - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:02 PM

        Bonuses after the 10th round aren’t “capped” at $100,000. Signings after the 10th round won’t count against a team’s bonus pool UNLESS they are over $100K. That’s all. So while I agree that I’m probably being overly optimistic about where the actual cap will be set…I’m not sure this particular factoid is any indication one way or another.

      • paperlions - Nov 23, 2011 at 10:14 AM

        You are right, I phrased that poorly. The $100,000 level means that MLB doesn’t care if you spend 40% that last year on those slots, but if you do it will count against a team’s spending….still not a great indication of what the cap will be.

  5. schlom - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    Also, don’t the slots just cover bonuses? So couldn’t you just get around this by giving out a major league deal?

    • Bryz - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:38 PM

      I think I heard that part of the new CBA is that teams will no longer be allowed to give major league contracts to draftees.

      • paperlions - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM

        This is correct. Besides, ML deals don’t = higher salaries, they just mean you are on the 40-man roster, which has no effect on salary.

  6. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    Matthew your argument that two sport high school athletes may now opt for football or basketball because of small baseball bonus is laughable on its face. First, after graduating high school, they cannot play pro basketball or football, period! To play football they have to spend at least two years playing college football for room and board and the threat of jail time if they trade their autograph for a tattoo. Of course, if they get injured they wind up with nothing. And basketball, they can’t play pro for the first year, they have to give away their game for the NCAA plantation masters.

    Of course, MLB gives them the opportunity to put cash in their pocket and play right away. If they are good enough to make the bigs, they pull down $700K+ (480K salary, 220K+ merchandising) from the get go.

    Like many, I have no problem that young talent has to produce first before they make the big bucks. If they don’t like the money, go be plumbers.

    • JBerardi - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:59 PM

      “Matthew your argument that two sport high school athletes may now opt for football or basketball because of small baseball bonus is laughable on its face. “

      Read the Brandon Jacobs article linked above (and also right here). You may find it laughable. But you may be surprised to learn that the real world does not seek your approval or permission for stuff that happens in it.

      Do you want better players and slightly poorer owners, or crappier players and slightly richer owners? Matthew’s assertion that the money saved here will be spent on mid-tier free agents is, at best, optimistic. More likely the owners just pocket the difference.

  7. Charles Gates - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    General statement: using the average signing bonus amounts from prior years drafts can be misleading because players that have stated demands for larger signing bonuses fall farther than their talent levels dictate they should, distorting the average figures. Can’t think of a name off the top of my head, but a stud HS player with a solid commitment to a good college will command a premium to sign, which causes a lowered draft position.

  8. Matthew Pouliot - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    I disagree with the sentiment that veterans are so much more deserving of their next paychecks than those who haven’t proven anything. It’s folly to pay a player based on what they’ve done (for which they’ve already been compensated) instead of how one believes they’re going to perform in the future. I’d much rather see someone paid what they’re worth and the fact is that doesn’t happen with draft picks.

    • stex52 - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:58 PM

      Carlos Lee. Houston Astros. Enough said?

    • The Common Man - Nov 23, 2011 at 9:02 AM

      It’s also ignorant to pretend that amateurs “haven’t done anything,” given how hard they trained to make themselves into prospects

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 23, 2011 at 9:50 AM

        No it’s not! I remember when I got my first job out of college my employer refused to pay me for my first year, because I hadn’t yet proved I was capable of doing my job.

        /sarcasm

  9. lostsok - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    It’s funny, NFL fans have complained for years about the money tied up in draft picks and how it hurts their team when they bust. Baseball is doing something to address that…but its a mistake?

    I think people are missing a lot of other points. Baseball has a longer career than most major sports. The career average in the NFL is about 3-4 years.

    If I have the choice, I play baseball for 10-15 years (including minors) instead. In the NFL there are about 1,900 jobs, counting practice squad…otherwise you’re in playing arena ball or are up in Canada…if you’re lucky. In baseball each team has 3-6 rookie to AAA minor league teams. The pay isn’t great BUT YOU’RE A PRO ATHLETE WITH YEARS AHEAD OF YOU.

    Not everyone will choose football first. Ask Zach Lee.

    Further more, this reduces the proven veteran players being pushed out because some kid got a zillion dollar bonus. It makes MORE SENSE for proven players to get a solid contract when they played well enough to be in the league for years, over some kid who hit .400 with an aluminum bat but is a big question mark with wood.

    Personally, I think addressing this now rather than waiting until it causes a work stoppage, like the NFL, was wise.

    • Kevin S. - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:53 PM

      Kids don’t get paid a zillion dollars. Last year, MLB teams set a record for draft bonuses handed out. You know how much the average team spent? Less than $8 million. That gets you what, a 4th or 5th starter? Yeah, totally a better use of money than your entire amateur draft.

      Oh, and in the NFL, high first-round picks were getting ten times as much as what the top MLB picks were getting. Completely different situation.

    • JBerardi - Nov 23, 2011 at 12:51 AM

      Go talk about football somewhere else, because you clearly don’t know the first thing about the player development side of baseball.

      “In baseball each team has 3-6 rookie to AAA minor league teams. The pay isn’t great BUT YOU’RE A PRO ATHLETE WITH YEARS AHEAD OF YOU.”

      “3-6″, huh? Way to step into a baseball forum, lecture us all about baseball, and not know what you’re even talking about. Every team has at LEAST six affiliates and basically every person complaining about the CBA knows that. But thinks for letting us all know that the minor leagues exist.

      Second, this “future”? Yeah. A future of riding buses, cheap motels and bad food. What 18 year old kid would ever think of choosing the dreary world of college football over that?

    • pjmarn6 - Nov 23, 2011 at 1:33 AM

      So little you know.
      After studying the 5,989 position players who began their careers between 1902 and 1993 and who played 33,272 years of major league baseball, three demographers have come up with an answer: On average, a rookie can expect to play major league baseball for 5.6 years.
      Average salary in 2010 was $3.4 million Average salary of American worker $44,000.
      Average baseball player salary in 1975 $47,000. Average U.S. salary was $8,600.
      Baseball players got 6 times more than the average U.S. salary. Today the average baseball player makes 77 times the salary of the average American worker.
      Definitely the national pastime is not for the average American with 45% of the population declaring that they have a hard time making ends meet and ridiculous salaries are paid even to rookies and mediocre players.

      • pjmarn6 - Nov 23, 2011 at 7:45 AM

        It really is funny seeing you people banter about these huge sums of money as if they were monopoly money and all you were big time owners making important multimillion dollar decisions on buying this player or trading this player or paying that player X millions of dollars. And I bet, your bank accounts are lower than your knees and if you have a 401 K, you are sweating out the decline. The second dip of the recession hasn’t hit yet and the stock market just took a 700 point hit in the last week. That is 6.5% drop in one week. The old saying goes that the stock market portends the future six months in advance.
        I laugh like hell at all the thumbs down. I just have to wonder who ever taught you how to value things. For sure none of you are millionaires and just blowing smoke from your corn cobs on the back porch. I can make numbers line up and turn every which way, its easy. But if I want to know the truth, there is only one accounting process. And the real accounting process says this baseball business is a false economy, just like the housing economy was. And then came the crash. It still has another 2-4 years to go through and trillions of dollars more are going to be lost. Yet you still are going to be playing these children multimillion dollar salaries.

      • paperlions - Nov 23, 2011 at 8:08 AM

        Is that you Fred Wilpon? How you doing? Hope the sale of Mets stock is going well.

        For the Record, Owners don’t spend their own money on baseball operations; they spend the fan’s money.

      • JBerardi - Nov 23, 2011 at 9:18 AM

        “On average, a rookie can expect to play major league baseball for 5.6 years.
        Average salary in 2010 was $3.4 million Average salary of American worker $44,000.”

        We get that baseball players make a lot of money. Seriously, we get it. The difference is that you’ve somehow connected high baseball player salaries with the sad state of the American economy. Which is ridiculous. Ballplayer salaries did not ruin this country. 30 years of awful economic and regulatory policy on a national, state and local level did. It’s the tax code, dummy. However much Melkey Cabrera is making this year, I promise you, it seriously does not make any real difference to the US economy.

      • The Common Man - Nov 23, 2011 at 10:59 AM

        No pastime is for “average Americans” under your definition. We shouldn’t watch TV, go to movies, watch any professional sport other than, I dunno, curling because the people in them, who do the jobs that entertain us, make a lot of money to do so. I don’t apologize for loving major league baseball and wanting to watch as much of it as I can. And I don’t feel like a dupe because I choose to spend my money doing so. It makes my otherwise wonderful life more fun.

      • aaronmoreno - Nov 23, 2011 at 11:11 AM

        Ugh, you’re missing a huge point.

        How many minor leaguers ever become rookies?

      • stex52 - Nov 23, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        pj, you’ve made your point, rather repetitively, that we have strange ways of setting values in the American economy. But why do ballplayers in particular bother you so much? And why does that take away from it being the national past time? You are certainly free not to pay your money. Do you sit in a movie worrying about how much the actors make?

        That’s not a good way to live.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 23, 2011 at 9:55 AM

      It’s funny, NFL fans have complained for years about the money tied up in draft picks and how it hurts their team when they bust. Baseball is doing something to address that…but its a mistake?

      This needs to be repeated ad infinitum. The Pittsburgh Pirates spent the most on this year’s draft. Their entire draft budget was $17M. Cam Newton, under the new CBA which capped draft spending, signed a 4 year deal with a fully guaranteed $22M. Baseball spends peanuts on the draft compared to their overall budget.

      Not everyone will choose football first. Ask Zach Lee.

      He also signed a 5 year deal worth $5.25M. Teams won’t be able to use money to lure dual sport HS players to baseball in the future.

      • aaronmoreno - Nov 23, 2011 at 11:12 AM

        Right. The Zach Lee example is perfect. Under the new rules, he plays football.

  10. ramrene - Nov 23, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    Here’s the problem I have with it, it screws the small market teams like Pittsburgh and KC. Those type teams had to overpay to get that top level talent into their organizations. Paying a premium of 6-million in a signing bonus significantly saves them tens of millions bringing in top level free agents which they can’t afford anyway.

    Once the kid is in their system for a few years and develops into a top talent, they’re able to flip him for multiple prospects and such is the cycle they have to live with because they can’t afford to pay on the back end.

    I also agree that overpaying is necessary to get the HS kid into the organization as opposed to going to college or choosing to play another sport.

    It’s the small market teams who just got hurt even more.

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