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Baseball’s average salary: $3.2 million

Dec 7, 2012, 3:01 PM EDT

Money Bag

Or, Shane Victorino is four times better than average:

Baseball’s average salary increased 3.8 percent this year to a record $3.2 million. According to final figures released Friday by the Major League Baseball Players Association, the rise was the steepest since 2007. The boost was helped by an increase in the minimum salary from $414,000 to $480,000.

The Yankees had the highest average salary for the 14th year in a row at $6.88 million. The Astros had the lowest at $685,000.

You may all now start your silly “they get that much for playing a kids’ game?!” ignorance, all the while never questioning how much revenue ballplayers generate for their teams’ billionaire owners.

  1. nategearhart - Dec 7, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Baseball isn’t a “kid’s game”. I played baseball when I was a kid. Shit’s hard.

    • Old Gator - Dec 7, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      It was just for better coordinated kids, is all.

      Now that’s the average salary taking into account Scrooge McLoria. Can you imagine what it would be if that penurious überputz didn’t own the Feesh?

      • nategearhart - Dec 7, 2012 at 3:12 PM

        Well to be fair, he does sign players get big salaries. It’s just that he always makes some other team pay them.

    • pjmarn6 - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:34 PM

      Craig Calcaterra insulting following statement:
      “You may all now start your silly “they get that much for playing a kids’ game?!” ignorance, all the while never questioning how much revenue ballplayers generate for their teams’ billionaire owners.” shows his arrogance and over self appreciation.

      It would take the average worker, earning $45,000 a year, 71 years to make $3.2 million dollars. Also an average baseball player has a playing career of 5 years. That is $16 million dollars over the life of a 5 year career. Other factors to consider is that a ball player can live on a hell of a lot less than the $3.2 million and put that money to work for him with a good financial planner so if he plays one year he is set for life! An average worker after all deductions and payments for mortgage, car, living expenses etc. can expect to only save about $5,000 a year if he is lucky and frugal and he has to work all his life to get his pension and S.S.

      Therefore the argument is not silly. Craig Calcaterra is as ridiculous and arrogant as always. He immediately belittles the readers and their intelligence. Most baseball owners are already wealthy when they buy their franchise and do not expect to make much from the team compared to their prior net worth. A point that Craig Calcaterra conveniently forgets to mention. Of Craig Calcaterra does not want to bite the hand that feeds him the players. If he ever came out and said that the players, their agents are blackmailing the owners to increase the salaries way out of proportion to what they do, then he would blacklisted from talking with his minions.
      It was the players and the demands of players that started the out of control salaries. Baseball owners knew they could pass on the costs to the fans through outrageous seat tickets, I saw a ticket at Yankee Stadium behind the dugout at $1,500. Ridiculous tv and radio contracts and super high prices for food and souvenirs at the stadiums.
      If famous doctors and the president of the U.S.don’t earn that much how can a relatively uneducated baseball player command such a salary. The CEOs and Presidents oversee businesses that employ thousands of workers and have to anxiously compete in the market place and most have gone to universities for 8-12 years and have years of experience and on the job education before they can command huge salaries. Baseball players can get huge multimillion signing bonuses out of high school or college and be abject failures in the minor leagues and still have enough money if wisely invested be set for life!
      Of course all this information escapes Craig Calcaterra and has to resort to insulting the people who are not silly but realistic that the pay scale for professional athletes is completely out of control and manipulated by the unions and the agents ……..and is supported by egotistical sports writers such as Craig Calcaterra.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

        Baseball revenues are around $7 million. There are 30 teams with 25 players per team, which means there are 750 players. Multiply that by the $3.2 billion average salary and you have payroll of around $2.4 billion. That’s a little over a third of gross revenues.

        Restaurants tend to pay out about 30 percent of gross revenue in labor. Retail as much as 25 percent. More highly-skilled industries, a bit more than 30%. Baseball, being an extremely highly-skilled industry pays out 34%. That is not out of whack at all for a labor force that CANNOT be easily replaced and still provide comparable quality of work.

        But if the match scares you, I will note you didn’t use “movie stars” or “rock stars” when making salary comps, because that’s the closest thing to ballplayers. In that an insanely small subset of talented people are the reason why the business makes all the money. No one buys tickets, beer or big foam fingers without the players and unlike almost any other profession, there are not hundreds of thousands of people who can replace a star baseball player or even an average one. There are, like, a half dozen or dozen.

        Scaricty = value. Baseball = a giant, lucrative industry. Why on Earth shouldn’t the players reap the rewards from the services — and the entertainment — they provide?

      • thehypercritic - Dec 7, 2012 at 8:00 PM

        1) in our economic system, a worker’s value is tied to what value he can create and what the market is willing to pay. Given the deeply unamerican practices of a draft and the vestiges of the reserve system, combined with rising revenues, a rational argument can only be made that most players are underpaid due to artificial wage controls implemented on young workers.

        2) I don’t know if you need to be ignorant or stupid to think the price of a ticket is set by labor costs and not supply and demand (lower prices would only benefit secondary market and not fans), but it’s likely a little of both.

        3) I do know one would have to been intellectually dishonest to the core to pretend that salaries are tied to, or have any equivalency to, other professions in which the product isn’t purely revenue/the wages aren’t astronomical/the career spans aren’t minute.

      • thehypercritic - Dec 7, 2012 at 8:05 PM

        Ugh. The product isn’t purely the *labor*, not revenue.

        Typing on a phone while walking isn’t the most coherent way to rant, but when someone tosses out every canard billionaire owners threw out to try to turn public opinion against — and screw — their labor force outside of satire I just lose it.

      • pjmarn6 - Dec 8, 2012 at 12:49 AM

        Craig Cacaterra: The one thing you did learn was to write prejudicious statements to sway readers to your point of view, that owners were billionaires. Please name the owners who made billlions off of owning a baseball team. In the divorce of Frank McCourt, he had to supply the accounting books of the Los Angeles Dodgers to the wife’s lawyers who had them examined by forensic accountants paid by her. It was determined by the court of law that Frank McCourt in the last year he was owner made $10,000,000. What was Petite guaranteed $12,000,000. What was the total of the 5 year salary for Rodriguez? $175,000,000. What is the average of a major league player $3.2 million. So the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers received 3 times what the average player earned.
        Now take the average worker in the U.S. He earnes approximately $45,000. What captain of industry who oversees thousands of works earns 3 times what the average worker makes or $135,000? Now remember how many people a baseball team really employs besides the ball players! Security guards, maintenance people, share in the cost of umpires, vendors in the stadiums, scouts, airplane pilots, technicians, broadcasters, ticket takers, and all those nice extras that ball players get! Food allowances, free deluxe hotel rooms, private jets, trainers, doctors, fantastic pension plans, I didn’t see any of that mentioned Craig. Tell the readers how much each player gets per day as a food allowance. We are all dying to here how much that went up in the union contract!
        I detest lying and you intended to say that the baseball owners were making billions of dollars off the players. Who should know more the real amount of money that the owners are making better than you and you intended to use that figure to insult your readers’ intelligence.
        Silly man!

      • pjmarn6 - Dec 8, 2012 at 1:13 AM

        Craig Calcaterra You are being “SILLY” comparing movie stars and rock bands with baseball players. The people who are paying to go to the stadium, view games on tv or listen to the game on tv are there for the team, not the individual. On average the entire baseball team of every club turns over ever 5 years. A movie star makes a movie. Called star attraction. A band or musician or singer is THE STAR. You forget that a baseball team consists of 25 players. The real non PED stars are few and far between, economics and the desire to win makes ball players expendable. Their guaranteed contracts are a bad joke on the public. Teams are finally realizing that. As one commentator mentioned that the Yankees, what won one world series in 10-12 years? The dynasty is dead. The luxury tax and the depletion of the farm system has done them in. Tell me Craig if the Yankees owners are making the billions you seem to indicate, what would a luxury tax of $20,000,000 or so mean to them????
        Ballplayers are greedy. As has been written about many of them, just recently, one felt insulted he wasn’t the highest paid member of the team! Another thought he should get as much as another player! Why because he wanted the money! Greedy agents, Greedy players. AND YOU KNOW IT!
        But getting back to Musicians and Movie Stars. Nobody goes to a game to see one player. They go to see the team. People go to the movies to see the star! People pay to listen to Eric Clapton, not the other members of the band. That is a star. But you want all 800 players to be stars and pay them what 2.4 BILLION DOLLARS FOR WHAT? Pitching a small ball, hitting a small ball and catching a small ball?
        Have you ever been to a broadway show or opera and realized what powers these stars have to memorize pages of scripts, learn the songs, learn how to walk on stage and project their voices to fill one with emotion and desire? That is a star! You have never attended a concert and listen to a soloist perform for hours? That is magic and skill.
        Watch Rodriguez “EARN” $40,000 every time a ball is thrown towards him and he misses it 75% of the time, that is not a skill I want to see.

      • cur68 - Dec 8, 2012 at 7:56 AM

        PJ: none of your arguments survive comparative scrutiny. McCourt’s the best you have? Really? If all he made was 10 mil then he badly mis-manged his team. I think there’s a substantive argument for that. As for the rest, its just talking in circles. Every one of your “arguments” is cherry picked or can be refuted by direct comparison to baseball.

        Once upon a time I held your views on athletes making the kind of money they make. After all, superficially, you seem to be correct. But, peel away the obvious dollar comparison, and you get a much different picture. And its not like I groom pets for a living either. I look after preterm and unwell infants in a busy NICU in addition to being a full time graduate student. Many of us who comment here do more important jobs than that even, but we also realize revenue generation plays a role in pay. Baseball players generate a ridiculous amount of revenue for baseball. They deserve to paid according to their revenue stream, just like everyone else. It really is that simple.

        Please pull your head out of your ass. Thank you.

      • pjmarn6 - Dec 8, 2012 at 1:11 PM

        cur68 Show me where any of my statements are wrong. Baseball games used to be on free tv and radio announcements for commercials were during the break between innings. The expenses of the games and profits to the owners came from stadium revenues, tv and radio commercials that were played during the time between innings. Both the players and the management told the public to be damned. Their motto was and is “THE PUBLIC BE DAMNED AND WE WANT MONEY!”

        Perhaps you enjoy enjoy paying $1500 for viewing a 2 1/2 hour game at the stadium or trying to concentrate on the game with hundreds of commercials during a radio broadcast or paying for pay tv and a surcharge to watch a few games. I don’t. Now take this statement and tell me I cherry picked it! “IT IS GREED!” Have you seen Derek Jeters’ “MANSION ON THE BAY IN FLORIDA’? IT HAS SIX BEDROOMS AND JACUZZIS.
        His boat cost more than you will save in a life time.
        My father was a profane man. However he made one statement that made a lot of sense. How many toilets can you sit on at the same time to take a crap?

      • badintent - Dec 8, 2012 at 4:07 PM

        @pjmarn6
        David Letterman showed Jeter’s Mansion 50 times in 5 weeks after Jeter dissed him off on his show when Letterman attempted to make a lame joke about Minka Kelly, David is an ass, he screwed a bunch of interns but none were in Minka’s class.! Jeter earned his $$ for over 15 years preforming at a super high level. Letterman is a jealous, whining elite left wing snob. Hope Jimmy Kimbel ratings destroy him .

  2. danaking - Dec 7, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Any figures on what the median salary is? Contracts like A-Rod and Pujols can skew the averages. The median gives a better idea of how well players in general are doing. Not that they aren’t doing very, very well; the minimum is $480,000. Still, it would be closer approximation.

    • indaburg - Dec 7, 2012 at 4:33 PM

      I’ve been looking, but I can only find median salaries by team.

      http://content.usatoday.com/sportsdata/baseball/mlb/salaries/team

      It’s an interesting list. While the Yankees have the highest overall payroll, the Rangers and Angels have by far the highest median salaries at over $3 million. The team with the third highest median salary, the Brewers, are at $1.9 million.

    • pjmarn6 - Dec 8, 2012 at 12:29 AM

      Craig Calcaterra: You avoid the argument that you insulted the readers for saying and rightfully so that ball players get huge salaries for doing minimum work. You are begging the point that players who manage to stay up for the average five years get a huge pension. Ticket prices have skyrocketed, have you tried listening to the Yankees on the radio it is impossible more than half the time is spent on commercials. It is impossible to follow the game with so many interruptions for them.
      Name 20 film stars who get $3.2 million dollars a year. The average fan is hard put to name 20 ball players. STARS MY ASS! Guaranteed salaries even if they cannot complete their end of the contract!
      When I was growing up and Mantle and Williams earned a $100,000 a year that was noteworthy and it still gave them a wonderful wage. About 15 times what the average worker earned. Total the average player gets 71 times what the average worker makes. Come on Craig make sense. How many times do we see outlandish salaries being paid to .250 BA hitters. These are not stars these are average baseball players who have hung around.
      You demean yourself by comparing an average athlete making $3.2 with movie stars or other ridiculous people who play loud bad music or have some other notoriety.
      Also you are so anxious to make a half ass reply that you don’t read what you write. Baseball revenues are not $7 MILLION DOLLARS as you claim. Revenue less labor costs does not equal profit. Bone up on your economics. Profit is revenue less all costs. I see you did not include in your “SILLY” reply what the average owner makes in profit. You only refer to player costs as a % of revenue which is not a true indication of what the BILLIONAIRE OWNERS MAKE OFF THEIR INVESTMENT IN THEIR TEAMS. I can make figures line up and salute me too, and I can see the books and do the real accounting. You know very well that all baseball owners were and are extremely rich before they buy the teams and do not need the revenue from the teams to pay their mortgages.
      The fact you take offence to my critique of your continued badmouthing of people who see your writings as slipshod and wrong, indicates your insecurity in your beliefs. You may be getting a couple of hundred thousand for writing this tripe, but it is so far from the truth, it is laughable.
      These players are not stars. As you reluctantly agreed after you polled the writers that the baseball cheats you favored to be inducted into the hall of fame are not going to make it, not this year and probably never. I salute the other sports writers for their intelligence, morality and ethics.
      Your ridiculous article, which was so illogical, that Bonds, Clemens etc who wrongly cheated to get huge salaries by taking PED drugs should stand side by side with Williams, Mantle, Maris, Mays, Berra, DiMaggio etc offended me so much that I took you to task for that absurd article.
      You might as well say that that soldier who said he won all the metals in Afghanistan and did not should not be punished for claiming he rightly won them. Same with Bonds, Clemens and crew. The only difference is that soldier went to jail and was pointed out for the liar and cheat that he is. Here, Boncds, Clemens etc are going to keep the MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, their records are going to stand and unlike Armstrong, they are going to keep their plaques, and records.
      I can only say that your writings indicate the sad state that I applaud other sports writers have not fallen down to.

    • pjmarn6 - Dec 8, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      That is what a rookie is GUARANTEED before he takes one swing or makes one pitch and before he has shown he can succeed in the major leagues. It takes a worker about 10-20 years to get to the national salary average of $45,000. Therefore an untried inexperienced rookie gets more than 10 times what a successful experienced worker gets on his first day on the job. Also you forget that a lot of ball players get signing bonuses, where is that factored into the equation?

      • nategearhart - Dec 8, 2012 at 9:41 PM

        Dude we get it, you hate the free market and the American way. Now shut up and move to China already.

  3. indaburg - Dec 7, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Damnit. Why wasn’t I born with XY chromosomes and a cannon for an arm?

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 7, 2012 at 4:26 PM

      Because then you’d look like this: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/nicholas.povey1/images/Yu-Gi-Oh/mfc-051.jpg

      • indaburg - Dec 7, 2012 at 4:42 PM

        Hmmm.. I was thinking I would look more like this: http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTquCwBMrNhDS9PhxXy8FbosTZu09Fm23SAubo9Wl9DK97-r03spBChpxescg

  4. kkolchak - Dec 7, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    I’m not shedding a tear for the billionaire owners, but this stat IS troubling nevertheless. Given that we know those very same owners expect to see their revenue streams continue to increase every year despite the escalation in player salaries, it makes you wonder where all that additional cash is coming from at a time when ticket prices have leveled off because they have reached an equilibrium with what fans can afford to pay in a sluggish economy.

    The answer, of course, is the taxpayer giveaway stadium deals and the ever-escalating fees for cable television broadcast rights, which are dumping these rising costs onto people who aren’t even baseball fans. At some point, the cable and satellite teevee companies will also discover that there is a limit to how much their customers can can afford to pay for their products in a sluggish economy, and then I fear baseball is going to undergo a huge bubble popping ala the housing market.

    • deep64blue - Dec 7, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      Are sports channels included in basic cable fees in the US then? That would never be accepted in the UK. Sports and Movies are the main two premium tiers over here.

  5. jayscarpa - Dec 7, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    The median pay raise in the US is 3% in 2012 so the 3.8% seems in line.

    • kkolchak - Dec 7, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      Not a lot of people I know getting 3% these days. Most are lucky to get any raise at all.

  6. dcfan4life - Dec 7, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Lets not forget for the hundreds of millionaire MLB players there are thousands upon thousands of minor league, independent league, mexican league, dominican league, and so on leagues players making very little to play a kids game. These are the best of the best of the best in a sport generating billions. And with the TV contracts coming, the average salaries will only go up….

  7. El Bravo - Dec 7, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    I love when Craig does the preemptive whine for us. Thanks Craig!

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