Skip to content

Baseball players to make $3.5 billion this year — they should be making more

Mar 26, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT

Money Bag

My dad was a federal government employee. For years we lived in Flint, Michigan where, back then anyway, everyone in the city worked for General Motors. Big UAW town, obviously.

His favorite part of that whole dynamic — apart from when his Toyota would get keyed in parking lots and, later, have the windows bashed in — was the difference between how government salaries were reported compared to UAW salaries. If government workers got a raise, it was always reported by the Flint Journal in the aggregate: “Government employees get $1 billion raise,” the headline would scream, along with some sidebar about how Gerald Ford was busy bankrupting the nation. If the UAW got a new contract it’d be reported by the hour, as in “Autoworkers get 50 cent raise,” with a sidebar about how crazy inflation was and how 50 cent raises didn’t get you jack squat.

I bring all of this up because you’ll see a roughly similar dynamic once this news starts to circulate, courtesy of CNBC:

Baseball been very, very good to a lot of people.

The 30 teams in Major League Baseball will collectively pay their players some $3.45 billion this year, according to data tabulated by The Associated Press . . . By way of perspective, at an average of $4.6 million, the average player would make more than 100 times the average American wage earner, based on Social Security Administration data.

Expect a lot of “those greedy players” rhetoric shortly!

Of course, absent in this report and presumably absent in the impending rhetoric is the fact that baseball as an industry brought in a record $8 billion+ last year, meaning player salaries are around 43% of revenues. Which seems high — depending on the industry, labor usually costs anywhere between 10 and 30 percent of revenues — but shouldn’t be all that surprising considering that in baseball, labor and the product being sold is one and the same. Indeed, the ballplayers and the games they play are the only reason the owners make that $8 billion. They are not a mere input to a more valuable finished product. The owners are not fabricating sheet metal before they can sell their product and stuff.

So enjoy your $3.45 billion, ballplayers. To be honest, I think you should be making more.

Latest Posts
  1. Masahiro Tanaka expected to be limited to 70-75 pitches in return Sunday

    Sep 20, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT

    c3744cd5ad0be7c72993ae1f6d3a5888 AP

    Tanaka has been out since July 8 with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, but he’ll make his return Sunday against the Blue Jays.

  2. VIDEO: Little girl throws back a Derek Jeter foul ball and horrifies parents

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:29 AM EDT

    jeter ball

    I’m going to guess that the little girl is suffering from Jeter fatigue.

  3. John Lackey impresses in return to Cardinals’ rotation

    Sep 20, 2014, 10:49 AM EDT

    8eacda0dc18fd4679845c6bf8f6157e4-1 Getty Images

    John Lackey had his most recent turn in the Cardinals’ rotation skipped due to a “dead arm,” but he was impressive in his return last night.

  4. Michael Cuddyer drove in a career-high seven runs last night

    Sep 20, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT

    Michael Cuddyer Getty Getty Images

    Michael Cuddyer has had a really tough time staying healthy this season, but the impending free agent is making up for lost time right now.

  5. VIDEO: Fan catches Lucas Duda home run ball in his bucket of popcorn

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:31 AM EDT

    fan popcorn

    A fan sacrificed his popcorn to catch a home run ball last night at Turner Field.

  6. Settling the Score: Friday’s results

    Sep 20, 2014, 8:57 AM EDT

    52a2981688df59976e21e02bd42d5156 AP

    A quick recap of a busy Friday around MLB, including the A’s getting back in the win column.

  7. Phillies minor leaguer suspended 50 games for a drug of abuse

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT

    phillies logo Getty Images

    A Phillies pitching prospect violated the minor league drug policy and was suspended 50 games, beginning at the start of the 2015 season.

  8. Video: Russell Martin hits go-ahead three-run homer to send Pirates to a win

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    Russell Martin Russell Martin

    Russell Martin hit a timely three-run home run to send the Pirates to a late win over the Brewers on Friday night, extending their lead for the second NL Wild Card slot.

  9. David Ortiz broke a Ted Williams record with his 100th RBI

    Sep 19, 2014, 10:40 PM EDT

    Division Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox - Game Two Getty Images

    David Ortiz found yet another reason to hear his name uttered in the same breath as Ted Williams.

  10. Jacoby Ellsbury exits Friday’s game with a strained right hamstring

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:55 PM EDT

    Jacoby Ellsbury, Dioner Navarro Jacoby Ellsbury, Dioner Navarro

    Jacoby Ellsbury suffered a strained right hamstring in the fourth inning on Friday night against the Blue Jays. He’ll undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.

  11. Mike Scioscia is considering using a three-man rotation in the ALDS

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:15 PM EDT

    mike-scioscia-angels Getty Images

    The Angels’ rotation is thin beyond Matt Shoemaker, Jered Weaver, and C.J. Wilson, so manager Mike Scioscia may do the obvious thing and utilize a three-man rotation in the ALDS.

  12. Juan Lagares may not return to finish out the regular season

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:35 PM EDT

    New York Mets v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

    There isn’t much time left in the regular season, which may mean Mets fans won’t see Juan Lagares patrol the outfield until spring training in 2015.

  13. Twins shut down closer Glen Perkins with nerve irritation

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT

    Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins Getty Images

    Perkins, who had a 2.44 ERA as recently as August 25, finishes the season with a 3.65 ERA and 66/11 K/BB ratio in 62 innings while saving 34 games.

  14. Shawn Kelley took offense to Jose Bautista’s antics after hitting game-tying homer last night

    Sep 19, 2014, 7:50 PM EDT

    Jose Bautista Jose Bautista

    Jose Bautista offended Yankees reliever Shawn Kelley with his celebratory behavior after hitting a game-tying two-run home run in the eighth inning of last night’s game.

  15. Hyun-Jin Ryu hopes to resume throwing over the weekend

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT

    Hyun-Jin Ryu Hyun-Jin Ryu

    Hyun-Jin Ryu didn’t throw as expected on Friday, but hopes to do so before the weekend is over. He’s hoping to return to the Dodgers in time for the playoffs.

  16. Clayton Kershaw wins his 20th game of the season

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    Clayton Kershaw AP

    Los Angeles is 22-4 with Kershaw on the mound this season.

  17. Alex Avila has felt “disoriented” when swinging a bat lately

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

    alex avila getty Getty Images

    Alex Avila felt disoriented while swinging a bat over the last two days, so he remains out of the Tigers’ lineup and it’s even worth questioning if he’ll be ready for the post-season — assuming the Tigers get there.

  18. Nationals expected to activate Ryan Zimmerman this weekend

    Sep 19, 2014, 5:50 PM EDT

    Ryan Zimmerman AP AP

    Ryan Zimmerman has been out since mid-July with a hamstring injury.

  19. If you love chaos, root for Team Entropy

    Sep 19, 2014, 4:31 PM EDT

    Chaos Theory

    Basically, we want everyone in the NL to finish with 88 wins.

Featured video

Patience finally paying off for Royals fans
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (3171)
  2. G. Stanton (2309)
  3. C. Kershaw (2246)
  4. D. Ortiz (2224)
  5. N. Arenado (2193)
  1. J. Hamilton (2165)
  2. A. Rizzo (2144)
  3. M. Trout (2054)
  4. A. Pujols (1854)
  5. H. Ryu (1783)