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The players union may complain if the Marlins don’t up their payroll

Jan 21, 2013, 9:43 AM EDT

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Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald spoke to a source within the MLB Players Association who says that if Marlins owner Jeff Loria doesn’t increase team payroll in the coming months, the union plans to pursue the issue with commissioner Bud Selig.

This would not be the first time this has happened. You’ll recall a couple of years ago the Marlins, the league and the union entered a settlement in which the team agreed to jack up payroll after the union complained that it was pocketing copious amounts of revenue sharing money rather than spending it on players.  With the latest fire sale bringing their payroll down to $35 million or so, the union believes the time is ripe to lodge such complaints again.

Jackson says, however, that the team would fight it and that it’s quite possible the league would side with the Marlins this time around. Mostly because they’re getting way less in revenue sharing now than they were a couple of years ago and because they stand to see revenue and attendance plummet going forward. Of course that’s because they’ve mismanaged themselves to the nth degree, but that’s neither here nor there for these purposes.

  1. stex52 - Jan 21, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Heck, the Astros won’t even get to 30 million.

    • natslady - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      Ha, tex==> same thought. Maybe you can convict the Marlins based on motives, but maybe not.

      So glad The Arm is getting another chance. One of my favs, even though he can’t hit much.

  2. natslady - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    In 2007, Nats payroll was @ $37MM. Florida Marlins payroll was at @ $30MM. This is not the first time the Marlins have done this. Nats also didn’t spend a lot of money on pricey free-agents when they only had–maybe–5 major-league players on the 25-man roster.

    BTW, what is the Astros 2013 payroll estimate?

    I understand the union’s view, TOTALLY. But, if you say the Stros are “rebuilding,” how can you then say the Marlins are not rebuilding? You can, of course, based on history, but I doubt that’s gonna win a lawsuit.

    • stex52 - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:10 AM

      Committed for the Astros at this point is somewhere south of 15 million. They expect to finish up around 25 million, but they owe for part of Wandy Rodriguez’s contract at Pittsburgh, so the final “official” number may be closer to 30 million. Their highest paid player will be Bud Norris at 3 MM$ for one year.

      • stex52 - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        And remember. This is against a new Comcast network deal that gives the Astros 80 MM$/yr. But they are having distribution problems with the local market on that deal right now. I just don’t see much of anything going right for the franchise.

    • gobriath30 - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      The Astros aren’t allowed to collect money from revenue sharing, they can only pay into it. That’s why it’s not an issue for them.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Last time I checked, the players union signed the CBA. In that CBA I don’t remember seeing any salary cap, or, more importantly, any salary floor. Its like Love and Marriage boys…you can’t have one without the other.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      Hold on, i’m having a moment here:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxwTaPK9me8

    • Kevin S. - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      Part of the CBA says that teams have to spend revenue-sharing money on competing. You aren’t allowed to just pocket it.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        So as long as their payroll is above what they get in revenue-sharing money, there is no reason to complain then.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        There is a cap. Just ask the Yankees and their much publicized plan to get under $189MM to avoid the rather severe penalties for going over. Why is there no penalty for going under a certain threshold? What kind of system is this where some owners are penalized for investing too much into their team, but are free to use their team as a personal piggy bank with no repercussions? If an owner of a friggin MLB team can’t make enough money to invest in a decent team, that individual should probably not be a MLB team owner. The only excuse I can see for such a thing is mismanagement.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        “…but OTHERS are free to use their team as a piggy bank”

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        Too many of you HBT commenters fail to realize that baseball is a business. And Loria is a business owner who is following the rules. Is he taking advantage? Yeah. So then let nobody go to the stadium and let him lose a ton of money and he will then do what he can to try to make money again with his business. But as long as people go to the new stadium he will do the bare minimum to run his team. And that’s his prerogative.

        And $189MM is the luxury threshold…NOT a cap. Just because your Yankees are now all of a sudden treating it like a cap doesn’t make it a cap. If the greedy player’s union would allow for a salary cap, they would then be entitled to a salary floor. This would bring more parity to the league’s salary disparity and eventually create a system where the smaller market teams aren’t just minor league systems for the big spenders.

        The average payroll last year was around $100 million, with the highest at $197 and the lowest at $55. You want guaranteed floors…make the salary cap around $120 million with the floor at 70%…or $84million. They would likely get the same amount of money, just spread out differently and no teams in the 30’s for payroll. But nooooooooo. They won’t go for that. They want the floor without the cap. Screw the player’s union.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        An owner shouldn’t have to ‘guarantee’ the floor will be reached…just penalize the owner who does not. Same as the soft-cap.

        While it is a business, it is not in the free market. These guys are participating in a money making endeavor that was given and anti-trust exemption by the US Gvt. So yes, there has to be some level of interest in delivering to the people; not just turning the laziest profit possible. Loria himself was given a shit-ton of money to build that new park, then screwed Miami with his latest moves. He is a serial purger, and should be stopped. It is bad for baseball. It is ugly.

  4. danaking - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Stex52 is right, the marlins may not be the worst offenders, but this is a case where perception is everything. Loria whined and moaned until he got his taxpayer-funded ballpark, and made things look good by signing a bunch of big contracts last winter. The manner in which he dumped those contracts allows reasonable men to conclude he wasn’t ll that serious in the first place, and certainly has no real plan to build the team. The Astros, on the other hand, bad as they are, have been making stride to improve the team. Their general method has been used successfully by other teams; their success depends on their talent evaluation capabilities. They’ve earned the benefit of the doubt, if only because the high salaries they traded were players they’ve had a while who are starting to get old. Buehrle, Reyes, Bell, et al, were brought in to great fanfare and dumped within a year. They didn;t get that old that fast. (Well, the jury is out on Bell.)

  5. chill1184 - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    My question is this;

    Irregardless of the fire-sale, why are the Marlins targeted specifically? Similar cases can be brought against the Padres, Royals, A’s, Rays and Astros for example.

    • stex52 - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      People will argue a pattern for the Marlins. A’s and Rays get a pass because they are usually competitive teams, or -in the case of the Rays – winners. The issue is taking revenue sharing and not investing it in a competitive organization. The Astros get a walk because they were big overspenders until last year. Padres or Royals, I can’t speak to directly.

      • mania - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        The A’s, Royals, and Padres aren’t even in the same neighborhood when it comes to payrolls. They should all be at least $60M this year, with the Royals possibly around 70.

        The Astros have shown organizational investment in other aspects of the team and this is the first time in a long time they’ve gone cheap. I have a feeling they’ll sign some over price 1 year deals to guys who can play every day to help get the payroll up.

    • mazblast - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      They are targeted because–

      1. They’ve done this before;
      2. Their owner did it with the team he owned before;
      3. They dumped their biggest contracts for, well, not much;
      4. They had promised to not do this again–and did;
      5. They just moved into a new ballpark last year, which presumably increased their revenues;and
      6. They promised their fans, or more accurately the taxpayers who funded their new park, that they wouldn’t do this.

      As for the other teams you’ve mentioned, with the exception of the perennially befuddled Royals, they have apparent plans. The Rays in particular have been successful at executing their plan; they don’t spend much because they don’t have huge revenues. The Astros are in full rebuild mode. The A’s have a somewhat successful modus operandi in a revenue-limited market (and a bad ballpark). The Padres spend a little but are also somewhat revenue-constrained. The Royals, well, they’re the Royals; they spend, but not wisely.

  6. echech88 - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Ordinarily you’d just ask them to invest it into the draft since it is money wasted on the big league club rebuilding but WOOPS MLB screwed that up.

  7. hisgirlgotburrelled - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Yes, forcing them to increase payroll now and making sure they keep a steady payroll will put them in a predicament in the upcoming years if/when revenue and attendance declines. Then what? They start losing money? Then the owner might have to sell the team… And this sounds like a great idea.

    • chill1184 - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      Revenue sharing and being a crony of Selig prevents people like Loria from being weeded out via the market.

  8. cackalackyank - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    I do not think the Union will win, they certainly have a point but not enough to win a law suit in the current climate.Baseball is changing and the jury will be out for awhile on whether it is for the better. We have already seen a big drop in players being in the game to 40+ (Jaime Moyer not withstanding). We are seeing owners and GM’s becoming more cautious in signing the bigger deals with players over @32. A lesson expensively learned by seeing the A-rod contract, and perhaps the Pujols deal become an albatross to their teams.Yes I know the Angels spent a s**t load of money this year, but how long that can or will continue is doubtful. The new agreement on luxury tax penalties seems to be designed to limit the # of years a team can spend at whim. This should create a cyclical change in where the best FA land…in fact it seems that has begun as early as last year.TV money is going off the wall, and this means that even small market teams in bad stadiums are going to be able to at least give one or two elite or semi-elite FA a serious offer, IF the ownership is trying to win. MLB just needs to step in on Scrooge,because his game is known for using his franchise as a piggy bank. Given the changes inTV revenue and serious curbs for teams continuously going over the luxury tax limit, it will become fairly obvious within five years or less which owners are pocketing profits and not trying to build a winner.

  9. iamjimmyjack - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Get rid of loria and the Wilpons…these guys don’t deserve a franchise…they are in two of the biggest markets, they got publicly funded stadiums, and they are pocketing the revenue sharing funds…what more is it going to take to implement change. These teams should be contributing to the revenue sharing pool, not taking from it.

    • chill1184 - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      Wilpon, Loria, Nutting, Glass, Dolan to name a few

      • Old Gator - Jan 21, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        The Wilpoons may be clowns, but Scrooge McLoria is in a different category altogether. He’s a liar, a crook and a con man. Macondoites cleaned up some of the mess with a recall election that booted the mayor and a couple of corrupt councilpersons out on their graft-padded assess after the great Macondo Banana Massacre Field scam, but unless a couple of ongoing federal investigations find genuine criminal behavior behind the deal – and I’m betting they won’t – we’re well and truly stuck with Scrooge and the Chihuahua for the duration.

        The way to punish these SOBs is to avoid the ballpark like the plague. I’m not even renewing my MLB cable package this year – there are a few games available from other sources and I’ll get to see games in other stadiums between other teams this coming season that’ll keep me busy enough.

        And of course, if we can figure out which limousine he’s in, there’s always the ever-dependable rotten egg and overripe tomato.

  10. tuftsb - Jan 21, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Article XXIV (B)(5)(a) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement:

    “A principal objective of the Revenue Sharing Plan is to promote the growth of the Game and the industry on an individual Club and on an aggregate basis. Accordingly, each Club shall use its revenue sharing receipts (from the Base Plan, the Central Fund Component and the Commissioner’s Discretionary Fund) in an effort to improve its performance on the field. Each Payee Club, no later than April 1, shall report on the performance-related uses to which it put its revenue sharing receipts in the preceding Revenue Sharing Year. Consistent with his authority under the Major League Constitution, the Commissioner may impose penalties on any Club that violates this obligation.”

    And any disputes resulting from interpreting the CBA goes to an arbitrator, not a court.

    • cackalackyank - Jan 21, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      Of course if Bud Selig chooses the arbitator Scrooge will do just fine.

  11. FrustratedDolFan - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    “The Players Union may complain in the Marlins don’t up their payroll” What about the fans (what’s left of us)? Stanton might be enough to draw a few out in April but it is going to be a long hot summer at the fish dome. Again, Mark Cuban bail this mess out. If Loria and his tiny minion were smart they would sell now…. Can’t imagine them winning over this ever decreasing fan base anytime soon…or ever!!

  12. binarymath - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    On the other hand…

    1) Marlins and Rockies are tied for 3rd youngest franchises in MLB.
    2) But Marlins’ 2 WS titles already put them tied for 14th place among ALL teams in MLB. Another WS win ties them for 10th place all time
    3) their 2 WS appearances in 20 years (a 10% rate) puts them at #6 all time (Yanks, Giants, Dodgers, Cards, and A’s – in other words, baseball “royalty”). But Marlins won both times they have been in the Series.
    4) which means the Marlins’ 2 WS WINS in those 20 years (that same 10% rate) puts them at #2 behind only the Yankees, who win the Series 24% of the time.
    5) Since 1992, a gathering of all owners with 2 or more rings would fit in a Prius (Jays, Yanks, Marlins, Red Sox, Giants)

    Loria has built a winner his way, blown it up (maybe too soon, maybe not), built another winner his way, and blown it up (definitiely NOT too soon). Now he has tried to build a winner someone else’s way, but it blew up on its own lack of merit. Loria may be easy to dislike, but his track record is not easy to dis-count.

    • jimmymarlinsfan - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      Very well said. People criticize the man for everything but when really considered he is still the best owner in franchise history. And again, lets stop saying the tax payers paid for the stadium. It was a hotel bed tax which you can mostly attribute to tourism and a tax on said tourists and less so on the people of Miami. Loria cares deeply about the team and attends more games than most other owners.

      Under Loria, the marlins have had several winning seasons, 1 playoff appearance and one world title. That is more than can be said for many owners in baseball today.

      • Old Gator - Jan 21, 2013 at 5:46 PM

        The Feesh’s championship team had Dave Dombrowski’s inherited fingerprints all over it. Left to their own devices the clowns in the Feesh front orifice have been able to give us one near miss at best, and with the exception of the year that Joe Girardi – whom they rewarded by firing – got more out of the team than it had to give, they’ve given us nothing but mediocrity and worse. Otherwise, Scrooge McLoria’s “caring” for his team has all the caretaking instincts of a mother with Muchausen by Proxy Syndrome about it.

      • Old Gator - Jan 21, 2013 at 6:57 PM

        Munchausen by Proxy.

        Edit function!
        Edit function!
        EDIT FUNCTION!

      • jimmymarlinsfan - Jan 21, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        I agree that 03 had Dombrowski’s finger prints all over it, but to not give Loria credit for anything is disingenuous in my opinion. Joe Girardi was actually pretty awful as a manager as that 06 team had a ton of talent. Remember it’s the same Girardi who thought Josh Johnson was a bullpen guy and mismanaged the bullpen horribly that year

  13. jimmymarlinsfan - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    A. We were awful and boring to watch with the free agents we had last year who by and large had awful contracts
    B. Josh Johnson is fragile and I saw many warning signs last year
    C. Last year was a complete disaster and starting over was the correct baseball move(3rd best farm system) even if it is a terrible P.R. Move
    D. It’s stupid to overpay someone in order to try to please the union. The Marlins have shown they aren’t afraid to throw around money but this is not the year to do it, nor is there anyone left I’d over pay to have
    E. If they are forced to raise payroll, throw a ton of money at Giancarlo Stanton in order to make him happy and bring up Fernandez and Yelich sooner rather than later to see what they can do and if they aren’t ready, take a run at a free agent pitcher and outfielder next off season

    • jwbiii - Jan 21, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      This isn’t to “please” the MLBPA. The MLBPA is the enforcement agent for the paragraph tuftsb quoted above. The next paragraph begins

      “The Association has the burden in any proceeding under the Grievance Procedure of demonstrating that the Club’s use of its revenue sharing receipts was in violation of this subparagraph 5(a).”

      • Old Gator - Jan 21, 2013 at 6:46 PM

        And Buddha forbid that it should ever be anywhere up Scrooge McLoria’s agenda to “please” the fans. The corrupt cheapskate SOB had plenty of alternatives to burning down the house and ploughing up the foundation. Rid of the dead weight of the Hanster and the lingering stench of Bell, there were loads of free agents and trade options available to him to rebuild around a pretty decent core of players – ridding themselves of Tweeter and his .150 RSP, for one thing, and finding a couple of RBI guys and a third baseman who wasn’t ready for Medicare, for another. But hell no, that was too expensive.

        And really, who but a complete idiot would have been fooled by the point of all those backloaded contracts? That just screams of premeditation to do exactly what Scrooge McLoria did – pose like a big spender while already being set up to dump the vast majority of his financial commitments to his players after having actually spent the minimum necessary to put on a show of “caring.”

        I’m surprised he didn’t try to include Muhammad Ali in the Toronto deal, frankly.

      • jimmymarlinsfan - Jan 21, 2013 at 8:47 PM

        Right, but adding money to payroll will appease the MLBPA because one suspects they would rather see the intention of the law abided by rather than the rule of law or else they would be all over the Astros, Pirates, etc. as well

      • jimmymarlinsfan - Jan 21, 2013 at 8:52 PM

        Come on gator, back loaded contracts are how the game is played and you should know better. Quite frankly, I just tire of the Loria is the biggest scum bag in sports articles according to a Braves fan who is obviously more bitter than most other fans that the Marlins have more titles in 20 years than the Braves have in their existence in Atlanta. I agree with every move they have made thus far this offseason including getting the bag of chips for Heath Bell

        Call me crazy but I can deal with rookies struggling and finding their way. Last year was a pathetic excuse for a team and I’m glad most of them are gone

      • Old Gator - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:28 AM

        Binary math: what the hell are you talking about? Wayne Huizinga was the owner of the team that won in 97, not Scrooge McLoria. McLoria had one winner, in 93, with a team built primarily by Dave Dombrowski before he jumped to the Tigers. Scrooge and Beinfest “on their own” have built nothing to speak of. Their “track record” includes owning a team that has been at or near the bottom of MLB in attendance for most of the time that they’ve owned it, lying to the public and its clueless representatives about their finances, promising “there will be no dismantling” following the 2003 Series, dismantling after 2004 anyway, and then going the cheapskate route this orfseason. If you want to call that a track record, you’ve got a lot of mud and broken ankles to go along with it. It would also help a lot if you knew your history at all.

        Jimmy: we’ll have to agree to disagree about Girardi, and whether that team had a “ton of talent” on it – though you can look at the guys that have been traded, matured and become better ballplayers and impute their later development back to Girardi’s team if you like. A little historical revisionism never hurt anyone.

        As far as the backloaded contracts, no, backloading all your free agent signings isn’t the way it’s normally done. Lying to the people you’ve signed to assuage their concerns about refusing to grant them no-trade clauses isn’t usually the way it’s done either. Scrooge and especially the Chihuahua have solidly established reputations throughout MLB as being count-your-fingers-after-a-handshake types. We know they lied to our bottomlessly corrupt County and City Commissions. Why should we doubt Buehrle and Reyes when they claim they lied to them too?

        And the Iron Giant is not unhappy because he’s underpaid. He’s unhappy because he neither likes nor trusts the people he works for and sees through their contempt for the fans. The big guy has quieted down publicly because Mike Redmond, not Beinfest, pretty much begged him to and he’s too much of a gentleman to want to put an innocent guy on the hot seat. Even Joe Frisaro, shill that he is, recently wrote on the Feesh’s web site that the likelihood of the Iron Giant signing any kind of extension in the near future is slight because “passions are high,” which is another way of saying that he can’t stand Scrooge and his lapdog.

        I’d say your optimism – which has always been characteristic of your posts, and I don’t mean that in any negative way – is refreshing on one hand, and badly misspent on another. You’ve put your money on a horse that’s really just a weasel in disguise.

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