As the MLB lockout continues into 2022, little indication has been given that the current status quo is set to expire any time soon. This morning’s news, that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have yet to schedule their next bargaining session, all but affirms that.
Despite the ongoing transaction freeze and tight-lipped nature of CBA talks, players haven’t avoided headlines altogether. Recently, a trio of All-Star MLBPA members— Zack Britton, Marcus Semien, and Lucas Giolito— spoke about the current state of the lockout. Today, another high profile MLBPA member joined the fray to discuss the seeming malaise surrounding CBA negotiations: Max Scherzer.
Speaking with Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, the perennial Cy Young contender hit on a number of familiar points. First among them, Scherzer reiterated the union’s stated goal to increase competitive integrity in the game, that is, to increase incentive for all 30 teams to win games instead of opting for the well documented tank method. “We feel as players that too many teams have gone into a season without any intent to win during this past CBA. Even though that can be a strategy to win in future years, we’ve seen both small-market and large-market clubs embrace tanking, and that cannot be the optimal strategy for the owners.”
Concerns about service-time manipulation are something Scherzer and the union are also looking to address in the next CBA. The right-handed pitcher name-checks the Kris Bryant grievance as one example, though whispers of front offices leveraging the current system to maximize player control have been long presumed.
Beyond the belief that certain players are being held in the minors artificially long, Scherzer also posits that “middle-class free agents” are being slighted under the current system as well. The ability of teams to minimize a player’s early career earnings and open-market earnings doesn’t sit right with Scherzer, who believes this approach is in direct contrast to what an earlier union deal, dubbed “the grand bargain“, sought to accomplish. “The grand bargain is that you make less money early in your career so that you can make more money later in your career. Teams have shown that they’re not willing to pay for players’ past production for a whole slew of reasons. And if that’s the case, that’s the case. But if we’re going to look at players that way, then we need to then allocate more money to players earlier in their career.”
Scherzer further reiterates that the union is not interested in any system that ties player compensation directly to league revenues, citing that doing so would implement a cap system that’s at odds with the sport’s free market economics. Of course, players and fans have noticed that while a cap system may not currently exist, teams have increasingly behaved like the luxury tax threshold acts as one.
Treating the current luxury tax threshold as a hard cap naturally curtails player spending, even if a small handful of players sign record-setting contracts every offseason. As the beneficiary of one such contract, Scherzer pushes back on the notion that the current system works fine, because despite his compensation, a number of players will still be left to scramble for jobs with limited time and opportunity after the lockout.
Ultimately, Scherzer concludes that a number of player concerns need to be remedied in the next CBA for the game to continue with integrity. Because the current system affects every player adversely in one way or another, and the players are “galvanized” by this perception, he asserts that the union is as strong as it’s ever been. When asked if the current stare-down between league and union could lead to a delayed season, Scherzer was hopeful, but non-committal:
“It’s too hard to even speculate what the future looks like. You’re just in limbo right now. You’re training ready to be good to go for when spring training starts. If that doesn’t happen, then you make different decisions based on that. But until that happens, you have to have the mentality that we’re going to be playing on time. Any other kind of speculation is just hearsay.”
Max Scherzer? What is that guy, like 50? I could hit him.
With your fist maybe, especially if he has been drinking, but with a bat trying for the ball, I doubt it. During the regular season he was pretty good.
Still for 2021, Scherzer may be remembered best for his dead arm with the chips on the line and for a grand slam that he gave up to rookie pitcher Daniel Camarena, which was the integral part in allowing the otherwise lackluster Padres to win 9 to 8 on July 8, 2021, after being down 8 to 2.
@MannyBeingMVP imagine paying $43 million to a guy whose arm got tired right before the biggest game of the Dodger’s season? I predict a serious fall off a steep cliff for Scherzer after all he is a Met and Mets love to Met.
Scherzer will be making approximately $14,000 per pitch (according to hosts on the Lead Off Spot) this season.
Scherzer and the rest of the MLBPA / MLB / Commissioner needs to get serious, lock themselves in a meeting room, and not come out until they have reached a new CBA.
While I don’t disagree with the points he made, Scherzer, one of the wealthiest men in the world, is the wrong mouthpiece to be using. it’s hard to get public sympathy for someone with a fat wallet. If the MLBPA was smart, they’d take a young icon making the minimum to deliver this narrative and humanize the story. But both the MLB and the MLBPA are not exactly the sharpest tools in the shed.
For Love of the Game
Scherzer has a goofy look about him, but the man is smart. He knows exactly what he is doing and chooses his words well. He is the de facto leader of the MLBPA, not Tony Clark.
Max supporters will tell you that his ridiculous contract helps raise the bar for other players. But I can’t help but think that it actually reduces the number of dollars available for other players.
But it depends on who’s ox is being gored. Max will be able to afford to buy into any venture he wants.
all in the suit that you wear
Great point, Trog.
Mets love to Met. Brilliant. Did you make that up?
Mystery Team – I wouldn’t bet against Max.
Why in the world would the players elect someone to represent them that just started playing in MLB?
They elected guys as player reps that showed the best understanding of the situation that the players face and experience with the press. Scherzer is both intelligent and well spoken. His salary is irrelevant.
Well, except to burger flippers and ditch diggers that are jealous of the money he makes.
Exactly, and it not only reduces money for other players, but those in the minors, who are forced to eat Spaghetti O’s and hot dogs, on the slave wages that are left; yet the teams want each player in optimal condition. Laughable!!!!
It would still fall on deaf ears. Minimum salary in baseball is more than a half million dollars, and you get raises every year until arbitration, where guys are able to make tens of millions of dollars a year.
Yeah, the owners have more. A lot more. But this is a far cry from Warren Buffet refusing a living wage for his steel workers. Take your millions, shut your mouth, and play the game.
Any delay to the season makes the players look like greedy rich asses. Which they are, but you don’t need to emphasize that point in the face of an impoverished audience. Read the damn room.
@Trog – one of the wealthiest men in the world? Scherzer’s net worth is about $150M. There are almost 3,000 billionaires in the world. Then count all of the people who have between $150M and $1B dollars.
Sure, Scherzer is one of the wealthiest men in the world if we’re looking at the top 50,000 people in the world.
You realize the top 50,000 wealthiest people make up like 6 percent of the population right? He’s definitely one of the wealthiest people on the planet.
might want to check your figures on that one
The dead arm was not his fault. I mean, what kind of a manager uses one of his Aces to CL a game?
That’s why you carry a CL and multiple high leverage RL and SV them for those occasions!
to4, things change in the playoffs. MadBum, the Big Unit, and Pedro are fairly recent examples of ace starters relieving very effectively in the postseason. Flags fly forever.
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
Oh, God. Are we not done listening to Scherzer talk about the lockout yet? Last time he opened his mouth he was talking about how he wanted the younger players to make more money. That was right after he signed a contract that pays him over $43 million a year into his 40’s. Max, how are the younger guys going to make more money when 40 year olds like you are taking so much of the team payroll already? In the NFL they had the reverse problem. The veterans weren’t making enough. To fix it they reduced the salaries of the rookies and the vets got more. The younger guys can’t make that much more money when the older guys like Scherzer keep getting these massive raises too. Scherzer just took the potential money for younger players and put into his own bank account. Now he wants to pretend he’s looking out for the little guy. If that’s what he wants why doesn’t he take some of his brand new $43 million salary and give it to the younger guys? I don’t disagree with his point but it seems pretty hypocritical coming from a 38 year old who just signed a contract that pays him record shattering money until he’s old enough to be in a nursing home.
You know he’s talking because he’s a PA rep right?
No Dusty. They are not smart enough to realize that. Just read their comments.
Having the highest paid player in the game being a PA rep is a strategic blunder by the union. His massive salary makes many of his comments seem to e deaf. Would have been much wiser for the union to have the likes of Vlad Guerrero as a figurehead.
Why? The PLAYERS voted for him to represent them as a player rep. ALL players reps are elected. His salary has ZERO to do with how good he is as a players rep. With how knowledgeable he is. Only people with no knowledge of the situation would think his comments are tone deaf. The PLAYERS certainly don’t think so. So far, all his comments have been exactly on point. That you don’t understand that is on you, not him.
You really think a player with two and a half seasons in the bigs would be a logical choice to represent all the players? You think a 22-year-old from the DR who still uses an interpreter for interviews would be a savvy negotiator and contribute a lot to the discussions?
There are over one hundred players from the DR in MLB. Over 28% of the players were born in a foreign country, so yes, a foreign-born player who still uses an interpreter might add a lot to the negotiations. Public relations-wise, the players would do a lot better having minor league and lower-paid players (e.g., Corbin Burnes, Cedric Mullens, Bryan Reynolds, Kyle Tucker, Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Cease – they all made less than 700,000 last year) make public statements rather than a guy who makes over $40 million per year. But while that is a strategy that I would recommend, it still does not make Max a bad person for taking the role on camera.
There is no rule that players have to use their rep as their public face/spokesperson.
Bryan Reynolds or Cedric Mullens, underpaid young stars whose teams have detrimentally low payrolls, and who, to my knowledge, have not received long-term offers, would generate much better mojo.
No Union in the country would elect a 22 year old as their union rep.
Chipper Jones' illegitimate kid
I think people should stop replying to Hammer. It feels like ableism at this point.
Maybe having a guy whose agent can negotiate a $40 million AAV is exactly the kind of guy who you want representing you.
Of all the strange discussions I’ve seen on these boards, this one is at least runner-up for the strangest. When I read this interview with Scherzer yesterday I was impressed by how carefully he chose his words and articulated his case. Whether I agree with it or not was completely besides the point, I could easily see why the players picked him to be involved with the contract negotiations. He isn’t in that role for PR purposes or to serve or please anyone else, any more than the owners employ anyone for PR purposes, or to serve or please anyone but them. I am baffled by why that completely simple concept is so hard for some to understand.
Minor league players are not part of the MLBPA. What does salary have to do with being a player representative? Wouldn’t you want someone with long experience as a player rep? I know I would. I would not want some kid with little experience with CBAs and with the media as my representative.
You do realize that publications like this one and The Athletic reach out to Scherzer and other players for interviews because they are player reps, right? Scherzer is not the spokesman for the union, he is just one of the player reps.
Why in the world would the media reach out to anyone other than a player rep to speak about negotiations that those players are not directly involved in? That would be pretty stupid of the media.
The truth hurts
Vlad can barely speak English.
Also, although it seems very hypocritical, it doesn’t invalidate his points. MLB owners of both large-markets and small-markets are embracing the tanking philosophy for winning in “the future” which coincidentally saves the owners boatloads of money in the process.
His points are perfectly legitimate, if we are being honest. The fact that he made a ton of money at 38 only furthers his point that many others cannot make money when they’re older and should be getting paid when they’re producing (see Aaron Judge).
Owners took advantage of this system, legally, and now they’re going to be heavily criticized and scrutinized for exploiting financial opportunities, hence their request now for a cap, which the players will never allow.
YC – I’m not sure I even view his points as hypocritical. Scherzer is pushing for players to get more money, and his contract set a new AAV record, which will help free agents in future negotiations.
Gbs42: Yes, I agree with you, I don’t perceive his points as hypocritical. I think he’s a representative because of his disposition and experience.
True, but when teams dole out ridiculous sums to one or two players, it lowers what’s left for those downline in the system. Guys who are in a teams top 10 prospects, are earning barely enough to eat properly, afford housing and live. Maybe the next CBA, the minor league players assoc. should attach a proviso, that players in a teams farm system be adequately paid. Not struggling.
Many easily become so obsessed with the messenger that they can’t hear the message. On the message, I wonder how many baseball fans actually like to see tanking teams or believe that teams becoming awful on purpose adds anything positive to the sport. If the players are also taking the position that tanking is bad for the game, then wouldn’t the vast majority of fans side with the players on this issue? Wouldn’t more teams being more competitive be a good thing for us as fans? When the answers are so obvious, I wonder why we hear so many cynical excuses for not cheering on the players on this issue.
Starving, the money for mid-level and lower players could come from payroll increases. It does not have to come from the top earners earning less.
There is no minor league players association. They aren’t unionized.
BlueSkies_LA, I think it’s largely because fans see Scherzer making over $43 million a year and think it’s crazy for someone playing a game. Meanwhile, owners make claims of “biblical losses” and fans believe them without understanding how much the teams make.
All 30 teams wanting and trying to win sure sounds like a good thing for all the fans.
@gbs42. I think you’re right, I’m hearing the same thing. The irony is, players of Scherzer’s caliber get that kind of money because (drumroll) the teams are prepared to pay it to field the best talent. Does anyone truly believe it happens for any other reason? Would they prefer the owners to keep the money for themselves instead of using it to hire the best talent? Like I said already, this debate is very weird.
Teams are just doing what they can in the system they are in, most cost effective players are by the draft. Once a team feels they can take the next step they make trades, and once they have a window they sign free agents. Most teams have a window of 3 to 5 years if everything goes well, and there is only one winner. Fans have to realize that they only have a small chance ot winning it all. Case in point, there are still teams that have never won whether their is a cap or not in all of the sports. I just enjoy sports and have players that I like mostly, if my team wins that’s a bonus.
Too much fixation on winning it all when many fans are having to watch teams that are built to lose 100 games often for years running. This tells us the system is broken. Every team should have the incentive to field the best possible product every year.
You want the guys with the most to lose who have the least amount of power and experience to speak to speak on behalf of the players, so you, the public, can feel better?
Just look at the worth of some of the owners that aren’t trying to win it all.. It has been that way forever. The NBA and NFL are worse, most teams have no chance, at least in the MLB there is an average of 5 new teams in the playoffs every year.
why would you think that… The cost of players has been falling not rising… and paying for talent should be, as he expresses.. more immediate.. young guys should be paid what they are worth instead of 6-7 years a slave to a single system… waiting for that promised payday that never came… The owners jerked the chain on the players and the fans.. tanking is the ultimate insult to fans… if the owners want a deal.. make them show the books.. and not the cooked ones they use for tax purposes.. the real books.. stating with gross revenues..
Down with OBP
@Hammer – workers in unions don’t all get the same compensation. Showing solidarity for those that make less money than you is not hypocritical. He is not “taking away money from younger players”. None of the owners that missed out on Max are suddenly now using that money they didn’t spend on Max for younger and lower earning players. Hope that clears it up.
Thank you Hammer, as I read this article I was thinking the same thing.
Hammer is right, a lack of paragraphs notwithstanding. You can’t simultaneously hold the position that $43M is okay for you, but bemoan the fact that the kids are making too little.
The owners will eventually give you x%. They are unlikely to care too much how you divvy that up. But if the players earn $5.5B in total, the only only way that the year 1-3 players get more money, is if the richer players give it to them.
Yep. That about sizes it up. Not that the players can’t squeeze more payroll out of the owners. They can and should and will. But in the end it will be a certain set pie, and it has to be divided up so that a) it’s fair to guys who are solid MLB pieces but not stars; b) low revenue teams can compete more than every once in a while; and c) everyone tries every year, or at least almost everyone.
What they should do (and the MLBPA would never agree to) is an NBA-style maximum contract structure, where no single guy can earn more than a certain percentage of, say, the lux tax threshold, depending on how long they’ve been around and how good they are.
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
That’s true, seamaholic. In The NBA no player can sign a contract for longer than 5 years. No contract can be worth more than about $260 million. The top players make higher AAV though. Over $50 million a year. That’s because the amount increases each year based on revenue. You don’t see NBA players refusing to sign CBA’s every time it comes up. They can’t wait to sign and play.
The biggest problem is that the players association adamantly refuses to sign a contract based on revenue. They want all their guaranteed money no matter what revenue is. It’s not really negotiating to demand more money at the beginning of careers and more money later. That’s just demanding. They are demanding more money all around. That’s fine if they believe they are worth it.
Just don’t give us this BS line “We just want to play baseball. It’s the owners holding it up.” No you don’t. You are demanding the owners give you more of everything and refusing to play if you don’t get it. That’s not the owners holding anything up. That’s not the players “just wanting to play.” That’s the players just wanting more money and less team control earlier in their careers, more money later in their careers and higher minimum salaries while refusing to play until they get it. That’s not even negotiating. That’s demanding. Negotiation involves give and take and the players are somehow demanding that they should only take.
If the players think this is what they should get then that is fine. Everyone has the right to fight for what they believe they deserve. Just stop with this 2 faced media gaslighting tactic. Don’t demand more of everything and refuse to play unless you get it and then turn around and tell the fans “We just want to play. The owners are the problem.” If they just wanted to play they would be playing. They really just want every player to make more money. That’s fine but please at least admit it. It’s pretty insulting to the intelligence of fans when you tell them that you just want to play but we can see everything you are asking for before you do it.
If they really feel they deserve more money on the front end and more money on the back end they should be honest. They should say, “This is what we feel we deserve. We are refusing to play until we get it.” If it’s what they really deserve the fans will be on their side. Right now they are trying to have it both ways by refusing to play until all their demands are met but telling the fans “we just want to play. This is the owners.” You really can’t have it both ways like that.
Hammer – Owners could increase their payrolls in conjunction with revenue increases, but that hasn’t happened the last few years. And players have offered a 12-team playoff system, which would be a big revenue increase for teams. It’s not simply the players demanding more.
Joe, as usual you missed the point. Superstars like Scherzer will always get paid handsomely and that is how it should be.
The point he was making is that since the owners are NOT paying older players as a whole well, the salaries of players over 30 has been falling for a decade, the young guys need to be paid more and sooner..
The overall share of the revenue for players has been dropping too. MLB had revenue in excess of $12.5 billion for 2021. Players made $4.14 billion.
Pads Fans, good points. Could you provide the source for those dollar amounts? Thanks.
@hammer do you get to actually see the Owners books for each franchise to make an informed suggestion about how much of the revenue pie is being divided up? How about the actual size/number of the revenue brought in yearly? Just because Max makes hundreds of millions playing a game doesn’t mean he cant speak to the truth of the sport from a players perspective. Your crazy grannies panties are showing along with your age….as a hint, they aren’t working with 1980s or deff not 1050s revenue.
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
I can see the Braves books because they are a publicly owned teamed. That’s besides the point though. The league offered the players a straight 50/50 split based on revenue each year. That’s what they do in basketball and football and these problems don’t happen. The league would also have to open the books in that case. The players refused any revenue based system because they said it was too much like a salary cap.
Rather than see the books and be guaranteed half the profits every year the players opted against it. That’s on them. If they wanted to see the books that was their chance right there. Every other major sports league does it based on revenue. What makes baseball players so special they won’t work that way?
The other thing is that the MLBPA is very open about the fact that they don’t want any form of a cap because they want their top players to make the most money possible even at the cost of lesser or younger players. They got their way. They have top players making over $40 million a year. They have top players on $400 million contracts. This is the path they chose. Don’t start saying you want it the other way around and want younger players to make more just weeks after the original plan that you chose allowed you to get a $43 million salary into your 40’s. That’s like ordering a meal at a restaurant and then trying to return it after your done eating.
Scherzer got what he asked for. He got his massive contract at a very old age because the players association said they preferred that even though they knew it would come at the cost of younger and/or less talented players. There is no other sports organization in the world where a 40 year old athlete would get a multi-year contract that pays him over $43 million a year. No wonder the younger players aren’t making more money.
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
My biggest issue is the BS catchphrase all players are saying to the media. “We just want to play baseball. The owners are doing this.” In reality the players are refusing to play baseball until a list of their demands are met. That’s fine. That’s how negotiations work sometimes. Don’t lie to us though and say you just want to play when you are actually refusing to play as a way to get what you want. If the players “just wanted to play” they could sign a contract today and still make millions of dollars playing baseball. There is no “JUST want to play” when you are refusing to play unless other strings are attached. Whether the players are asking for something fair or not they don’t “just want to play.” The opportunity for them to play is sitting there as we speak. They are refusing to play.
Just when you think it couldn’t get any weirder, a new dimension of weirdness is added.
“The league offered the players a straight 50/50 split based on revenue each year.”
The only evidence I could find of this was an offer of a 50/50 split during the 2020 season, not future seasons.
“That’s what they do in basketball and football and these problems don’t happen.”
Between the two most recent MLB work stoppages, the NBA had four lockouts, and the NFL had one player lockout and two referee lockouts. Also, the NHL had three, including a totally lost season.
So, other sports do have problems.
“The league would also have to open the books in that case.”
This certainly is subjective, but players not trusting the owners to be honest with their revenues seems like a reasonable stance.
“Every other major sports league does it based on revenue. What makes baseball players so special they won’t work that way?”
This assumes the other sports are doing it right. Given the lockouts listed above, it’s not obvious the other sports are working the correct way. Maybe the MLBPA is correct and the other unions should look to them for guidance.
“they want their top players to make the most money possible even at the cost of lesser or younger players.”
Who says the top players’ earnings have to cost the lesser/younger players? The teams could increase payrolls, something they haven’t done overall in the last several years.
“That’s like ordering a meal at a restaurant and then trying to return it after your done eating.”
Nothing they’re doing is like this.
Hammer, this is a lockout. The players are not on strike. They have not refused to play baseball until a list of their demands are met. The owners preemptively locked them out. This is of course a tactic to prevent a strike in the middle of the season, but the fact is it is a lockout.
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
Socalbball: this is the offseason. It’s a transaction freeze. Do you think the players will show up and play with no CBA in place when the season starts? Of course they won’t. You know why there is no CBA in place? Because the players have refused to sign it. MLB has offered to extend the last CBA. The players declined. MLB offered at least 2 other options for CBA’s. The players refused those as well. If they really “just want to play” like they did last season then why not just sign an extension of the last CBA and play under that? Because it’s a lie. They “just want” their demands met. I’m okay with that but don’t put it on the owners like they aren’t letting the players play. The owners offered the same contract the players signed last time and then some. The players refuse to play under that contract. That’s refusal by the players. The game is basically being heald hostage right now by both sides until they come to an agreement. It’s virtually like a person holding a group of people hostage and telling the media “I just want to let these hostages free.” Okay. Set them free then. Who’s stopping you? “I can’t because they won’t meet my demands.” Oh… So when you said you just wanted to do that why didn’t you tell the truth and say you really just wanted your demands met?
Nobody is stopping the players from signing the CBA or even playing without a CBA but the players. That’s fine. I would refuse to do things in certain situations. Be honest about it. Don’t say “I just want to play” when in reality you mean “I am only willing to play when my demands are met and I am refusing to play or even sign anything until then.” No one can deny the second quote is far more accurate than the first quote and they are both mutually exclusive and fly in the face of each other.
Ignorance of the English language is no excuse.. there can be no Collective Bargaining Agreement… (CBA) because there is no agreement… the old one expired… it is no longer a legally valid document… and to have a valid contract both sides have to agree… not Just the owners… it is plain and simple… you don’t have a clue … please get one before your next rant..
Hammer, no, it’s not a “transaction freeze,” it’s a lockout. That’s why Manfred called it a lockout in his letter to the fans. Specifically, he wrote “we have been forced to commence a lockout of Major League players, effective at 12:01am ET on December 2.” If you want to claim the players are being disingenuous in their language, it would help your credibility if you weren’t disingenuous in your own pro-owner language.
Manfred also said, “Despite the league’s best efforts to make a deal with the Players Association, we were unable to extend our 26 year-long history of labor peace and come to an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired.”
If the league really did make its “best efforts,” there would be an agreement, so I guess Manfred should have been honest and said “the owners want more.”
Also: “Therefore, we have been forced to commence a lockout of Major League players.”
No one forced the owners to implement the lockout.
Both sides are doing media posturing, overstating their perspective as being what’s truly in the best interests of the game and the fans. If anyone takes every word literally and without an understanding of what each side is doing…well, that’s on them.
Geez Louise. Quote an old ESPN commercial, and 50 comments later…
Is it Max talking himself or is it Boras talks through him? At this point it’s really difficult to see any difference. Mostly because his stance on many points is stupid, obsolete, unproductive and benefits no one except of him and his agent.
It always shocks me to hear people put down Boras.
None of what Max or Scott have said about this is an any way ‘stupid’ or ‘obsolete’. I’d love to hear your argument on that, unless you were just trying to be funny and edgy, in which case, carry on
Hard to agree with Scherzer’s comments here, especially after the spending spree we just saw. I’m fed up with the Player’s Union. I was already fed up with the Owners.
You can’t deny teams like Baltimore, Pirates, Reds, Indians (will never call them their new name), A’s etc have spent money on players and are indeed tanking. Which is not good for the game.
Pirates owner is a billion dollar owner spending 50million on a team.
Cleveland is owned by another billion dollar owner spending very little on the team
Expanded playoffs will somewhat put and end to tanking. More teams with a chance. Once MLB goes global TV, making the post-season will be another incentive for owners not to tank. This is all assuming both sides know how to correctly market their sport (yes, I know what Felix Unger said about the word “assume”).
LOL. Yeah. Sure. They didn’t in 2020. The biggest sticking point is the owners want to give them expanded playoffs which will make the owners a cool half billion without paying the players any more money fr those expanded playoffs. Yeah. Not happening.
I’m not suggesting the players don’t get their fair share; just that expanded playoffs can help create a better incentive to win, which is something Scherzer claims to want.
It didn’t in 2020. The same number of teams tanked that season as did in 2021. When it comes to putting tens of millions in their pockets, some owners would rather tank than compete.
But you can’t expand the playoffs too much, or you water down the point of the regular season and see teams with losing records actually get in. It’s terrible how about half the teams make the playoffs in the NBA and NHL! Expanding it to 12 teams wouldn’t be too bad (although not preferable) but anymore than that shouldn’t happen as long as there are only 30 teams.
A salary floor would be a better method to accomplish the same goal.
To be fair, 2020 happened “out of the blue.” No one knew it would lead to expanded playoffs, and therefore anyone tanking/planning to was already headed that way.
I’m not taking a side on this – just pointing it out. IMO, I don’t think expanding the playoffs is the answer, either.
Yes and it’s entirely a rational economic decision. Tanking is an economic phenomenon, and has to be addressed on that level. No tinkering with the draft order or anything stupid like that is gonna solve it.
and they all have publicly funded stadiums… so the public is paying the bills..
Not all, no.
4-5 teams tanking isn’t great for the game, but the other teams are spending at record rates. If you want the botton teams to spend more, some of the top teams need to spend less, and that will never happen. There’s never going to be a cap, but the players want a floor. The best solution I saw was not expanded playoffs, but rewarding the teams who finish close to a playoff spot, but just fail to make it.
Teams don’t tank to get higher draft picks. It’s irrelevant. They tank because it’s a rational economic decision. The reverse draft order thing (which has been brought up by nerdy libertarians in every sport since the first draft was created, and soundly rejected) accomplishes nothing and has a nasty side effect. Think of the incentives in play for a team fighting for the last playoff berth. You’ll have teams deciding they’d rather get the first draft pick than a one game play-in on the road, and not try to get into the playoffs.
Sorry I disagree with your premise. There’s a difference between not spending and tanking. Teams definitely tank for better draft picks. The proposed draft order strategy would definitely resolve that, and likely lead to more spending from mid-tier teams. As for the non-spending teams, a salary floor seems necessary, but seems unfair to institute one without a cap.
Disagree on the A’s….they try to limit spending but are always trying to win.
Teams spend what they earn (minus a little for profit). Their owners’ wealth has nothing to do with it.
That is not the case. The Pirates had an estimated $285 million in revenue including revenue sharing, in 2021.
Teams can spend up to 50% of their total revenue on 40 man roster payroll and still make a profit. For the Pirates that would put the payroll they could spend and still make a profit around $140-145 million. The Pirates spent $61,812,141.
They are certainly not the only team whose owner takes that profit and keeps it instead of spending it.
What about the 200 employees in the front office. Don’t they get paid? What about the $10-15 million they spend on each minor league team? Don’t those stadium owners deserve a rental payment? You seem to be counting nothing but player payroll and calling the residual ‘owner profit’.
Indeed. Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Oakland, Pittsburgh, etc. Should be forced to spend the revenue sharing money they get each season. If they refuse to use it to improve the ML club, then they forfeit it back to the teams that they got it from. Oakland tries to be creative each year. And put together some really good trade at last year’s deadlines. The others just have owners who aren’t all in. If you want to make it more even, have each teams broadcast rights, put into a pool of all 30 teams, then distribute it evenly. Not saying that is fair, but you have to get creative, to get teams off the snyde.
The O’s, Pirates, Reds are quite storied franchises, but their owners are not all in. The integrity of the game suffers, when these franchises are consistently non competitive.
The same guy who, as a pending free agent, chose not to take the ball for his final 2021 start with the season on the line. Eff him. Eff him up and down.
His arm was dead due to the Dodgers over planning and over analysis in the way they handled him.
Respectfully, that is just speculation. None of us know, probably not even Max or his doctors and trainers.
Nor do fans know whether he could not pitch at all or was afraid to pitch badly. But if he thought he could pitch well, I am sure he would have been out there. Not based on his words but rather that he would be motivated due to ego and financial considerations being up for free agency.
It makes absolutely zero sense that a guy that made all of his starts to that point, risking injury in all of them, would lie about arm issues to sit out one game.
The nonsense is Scherzer himself. He volunteered to come on in relief against the Giants for an obvious reason: To enhance his value as an anything-it-takes-to-win guy for possible free-agent suitors. If he was indeed hurt, he was doing it to protect his value. Team guy? Nah. Max Scherzer is all about Max Scherzer.
Chief Two Hands
Scherzer is notorious for being a competitor. Just stop being butt hurt that he left the Dodgers, Cey Hey. This comes from a Dodgers fan. You are making us look bad.
That’s a completely emotional take from a Dodgers fan with no trace of being realistic or honest.
Being a competitor? Absolutely. Being a team player? Not so much. Sometimes players have to do what’s best for the their team, not what they want to do. Buck is a perfect manager for Max because he won’t give in to his demands.
Top tier players will always get top tier money, but he’s bang on about players being under paid heavily the first 6 years.
Yes, but it’s a necessary evil to maintain competitive balance. The only way the small markets can compete on occasion is to build a core of cheap, young stars through their own minor league system. Many of the players like Scherzer here don’t seem to understand this.
The best way to stop tanking and give more oppurtunities to lesser free agents would be to institute a salary floor.
I don’t like a salary floor, I don’t like what it’s done to the nhl.
I’d much prefer a limit on tanking benefits. Ie losing rev share, draft pick penalties after a certain period, give teams 2 years and then start penalizing them if they continue to lose and not spend
Yes but it better be accompanied by a vastly increased revenue sharing program, or it will become a losing economic proposition to own a small market major league baesball team, and that’s a disaster. That’s the end of the sport.
No its not. What is necessary for competitive balance is greater revenue sharing. The top teams are over $600 million in total revenue after revenue sharing and the bottom teams are around $250 million after revenue sharing.
A salary floor with revenue sharing set up the way it is now would be fine as long as its close to but slightly under 50% of the revenue of the smallest revenue teams to give those teams flexibility. Right now 50% of the revenue of the smallest revenue teams would be $125 million. You pick a number close to but under that number.
Then keep in mind that the Pirates spent $61 million in 2021 with revenue of $285 million. The Indians/Guardians spent $62 million. The Orioles spent $76 million. The Marlins spent $82 million.
No one else spent less than $100 million according top Cots Baseball Contracts https://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/
That is why the MLBPA is asking for changes in revenue sharing.
Point- counter point, Pads Fans. Well said!
For Love of the Game
Here is the fix for that: earlier arbitration in exchange for allowing the arbitrator to cut player salaries up to a certain percentage. Right now, players cannot have salary reductions, even if they are out for the year with TJS. Mark player salaries to market earlier, but allow salaries to fall back to market when player performance slips. I think the players want earlier arb, but aren’t yet willing to accept that the door has to swing both ways.
Von, that recent spending spree benefited about 15-20 players. The other several hundred players want a system that provides more benefit to them, too.
Sid Bream Speed Demon
He managed to for so much incorrect into his comments.
How about you don’t take an insane amount of money so that your team can use the extra money to sign supporting players around you? I love how he makes it seem like the salary cap is the issue not the fact that he is insanely greedy.
Steven Cohen is worth 13 billion and you’re calling one of the best pitchers of all time greedy because he’s making 40 mil?
Sorry but that’s just a trash opinion. If your boss offered you more money would you decline so the company can pay someone else more?
I would not, but Tom Brady has.
Different with a cap
True, except that the majority of the MLB teams treat the luxury tax like it is a cap. That is not just a players’ union talking point. You can’t have it both ways.
The players’ union is tone deaf. As a result, instead of fans supporting the players, they just hate both sides.
In what universe should Jurisckson Profar (age 28) make $8 million in 2022, when Corbin Burnes, Cedric Mullens, Bryan Reynolds, Kyle Tucker, Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Cease all made less than 700,000 last year?
Increase the minimum salary, start arbitration sooner, provide better benefits to minor league players including upgraded insurance after a certain number of minor league games. But a guy getting $43 million a year being the spokesperson will just turn the fans off.
The good majority of teams could never afford to spend up to the threshold in the first place, so the luxury tax system is directly meaningless to them. Meanwhile, the biggest markets treat it like a soft cap that affects their spending on occasion (while at least one team exceeds it every year), which is exactly what it was designed to do!
It is time for a significant bump to the threshold, though. That’s the only real issue with it.
Meanwhile, those salariers occur in the same universe where the service time system is a necessary evil to maintain competitive balance, as the small markets can only compete on occasion by internally developing a core of cheap, young stars. Maybe they could significantly bump the minimum salary (but not too much) and/or add an extra year to arbitration, but anymore than that is going too far.
I’m with you on the treatment of minor league players, though.
It just about any business the rookies start at the bottom of the pay scale and if they add value to the business they will be compensated accordingly as they gain service time.
Bud Selig Fan
Nice post Lanidrac.
The problem with all of the player proposals is they hurt the small-market teams and thus competitive-balance. No idea why this is so hard for some to understand?
The players don’t want competitive balance, if they did, they would offer proposals that actually help competitive-balance.
Raise the minimum salary enough to help the revenue pie move a couple of % back towards the players, penalize the long & vicious tank, get rid of the QO, raise the tax threshold and let the owners figure out a way to help the small-markets pay for the changes.
Best comment yet!
Not really though. Because in this industry the most valuable employees are within a few years of being “rookies,” and then they decline again. It’s a different value shape.
Treating the CBT threshold as a cap is actually against the CBA. It would be considered collusion. Are you saying the owners colluded?
Has Alex Anthopoulos been forced to resign for admitting to collusion yet?
How about the owners don’t make an insane amount of money and not share it equally with the players? MLB made over $12 billion in 2021 and the players made $4.1 billion. How about owners in Pittsburg, Oakland, Cleveland and other cities start spending some of the $250 plus million in revenue they are getting instead of pocketing tens of millions? Even the other owners are tired of those teams owners pocketing revenue sharing money instead of spending it on player payroll. The MARKET determines the price for a player and Scherzer has proved to be worth every dime he has made.
The answer to your question is in your question. You know teams have costs that aren’t player related, right? A team spending half its revenue on player personnel is considered to be doing quite well by them. They have stadiums to run (and in many cases pay for), all sorts of other bills to pay, a front office and minor leagues to maintain, and so forth. Not crying poverty for the Clevelands and Pittsburghs and Miamis of the world, but there’s simply no way they can spend more than a couple tens of millions more than they spend now, not without the owner subsidizing the team out of his own pocket, which is not sustainable. That’s not how they became billionaires. Also, there’s no way on this green earth that the lowest revenue teams pull in $250m. Not even close. Do the math.
According to both Statista and Forbes, the Pirates had an estimated $285 million in total revenue including the revenue sharing they received in 2021. That means they can spend about $140-145 million and still make a profit. They spent $61 million.
No way to say they can’t spend much, much more and still be a profitable business. They could have doubled their 2021 payroll and still made a profit.
In 2019 the smallest revenue teams made around $210 million in total revenue. With the more than doubling of the new national TV deals, $250 million would be a conservative estimate of of the revenue of the smallest revenue teams.
Bingo, Pads Fans. More excellent points. How can Bob Nutting possibly say he is not making enough to justify upping spending, when the difference between the ’21 payroll numbers, and the profit they made, is well over $200 million? Owners who are in it just for profit, do ZERO for the sport and alienate the fan base.
Those owners are quite happy raking in the revenue sharing from other teams and pocketing tens of million in profits. Under the current system they don’t have to try to win to make big profits. That is exactly what the players want to change.
MLB MUST make them spend it on the roster, or forfeit it. PERIOD!!!
Crazies in Camden
Lol!!! The dumbest take in the history of takes lol. Not surprising coming from a Royals & Mariners fan? Can’t even pick a team hahaha. The mets owner has plenty of money to pay his players whatever he has to so what are you even talking about? You just sound salty that no good players want to play for your trash teams lol
Cohen isn’t paying anyone out of his pocket. He still makes a profit on the Mets. The Mets can pay players high salaries because they play in the biggest market in the country and have large revenue streams. Streams the Guardians and Marlins and Pirates don’t have.
Words of wisdom from the mountain top…..
How very noble of Scherzer. He is so worried about young players getting paid and the integrity of the game. Of course, he is making what(?) 43m per year? Couldn’t start game six in the NLCS because he pitched one inning against the Giants on a couple days rest? Go back and look at the innings and complete games pitched by Koufax, year after year. Could it be our virtue signaling future HOF player was more concerned about his next contract than winning with the Dodgers?
if so, how anyone expect billionaires to drop some crumbs to help the poor?
baseball, like other businesses. is too big. it needs blown up, and started over.
Really getting tired of typing a comment, seeing it and then going back a couple of minutes later and it is gone.
Stop cursing and you will likely see your comments.
I do not think tying player salaries to team revenues makes much sense. First, it requires fully open books to avoid deception. Second, owners sometimes gain as much or more from increased value of their equity than from revenue.
Scott Boras is competent but some of his comments are tone deaf as to fans and ordinary working people. Guys like Scott and Max could be more honest and just say that they think the billionaires should give more to the multi-millionaires. If MLB players has true empathy, they would fight more for the minor leaguers, the ground crew, the peanut vendors and so forth. But owners and players are both in it for themselves. Just like us, except with boatloads more money. MLB is a monopoly, the government could tax owners or players for the benefit of fans or could require more games to be on free television or internet.
First reasonable comment
Really liked that Mad Max hit on the “grand bargin” teams are not willing to pay for past production, there are numerous examples of players “betting on themselves” and taking 1 year deals to “prove themselves” as well in order to achieve the “grand bargain” and get the multi year deal they were paid less for earlier in there career to guarantee that money later.
I’d like to see the minimal salary go to 1 million in the next CBA?
i’d like to see the minimum salary go to $25,000. see who plays for the love of the game.
You must be an owner. Players do the work, you get most of the money.
So the workers in a large building should make more money than the tower owners … The owners put in the starting money and take the most risk. The players are weaker than a few years ago. The pitcher does not last 9 innings, not because the game has changed or the preponderance of the relievers, they do not have the stamina, the strength, the fire in their hearts to take care of their body and nutrition as they should or there is simply not the talent. With so much pimadona or Divos, the game is a business more than ever. You are not going to negotiate while being mentally rigid or uncompromising, there has to be flexibility and plans b and c, to negotiate in good faith, for the good of the sport. We like baseball, well played, and paying the players just enough. Certainly paying what is appropriate to young people should be discussed, just as not paying now, for the past that does not necessarily promise to be repeated or better, with some exceptions. Each case must be individual and not generalize, having so many injuries, arm operations, massages that absurdly break ribs, off-field activities that affect execution and changes in defense for those who pull the ball to their side, rare substances in the pitchers , and advanced metrics that are overvalued, over-rated and overstated vs what wins games, which are runs scored and RBI, tomorrow it seems that the more WAR a team produces in the game, that one will win.
So you think baseball players should make less than minimum wage? What a sick puppy.
48 hours a week pay, at minimum wage is less than $20,000, gross pay. i’ve worked jobs where i only got paid, while working. loading/unloading, driving to and from, even if it was hour drives, wasn’t paid for. players get paid to play, not to prepare to play.
Do you really think that a major league player only works 48 hours a week? Most are at the park by 10 or 11 am for a 7pm game and leave after 11 pm. They play 6 and sometimes 7 games a week. They also train and work out all year long.
According to articles in The Athletic, a typical MLB level player puts in 70-80 hours per week at their craft from spring training in February to September. In the off season they still put in 30-40 hours per week training and working out. On top of that most spend tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands on equipment, trainers, dieticians, and other professionals to help them be their best.
They can’t play at that level without preparing to play. Period.
MLB made $12 billion last year based wholly on the irreplaceable skills of the 3000 people in the world that can play at that level.
That you are not bright enough to get paid for your value to the business or find a job where you are is your fault, not baseball players fault.
padsfan, don’t think you read and comprehended my comment. you get paid to play the game. practice, conditioning and the other tangibles are on the players dime. just like my ride to and from the job, after i loaded up with my materials.
set the federal minimum wages at $2.00/hour and see if you can get anyone to work for people like you.
OK if tickets to games cost $0.25.
Crazies in Camden
Lol!!! The dumbest take in the history of takes lol. Not surprising coming from a Royals & Mariners fan? Can’t even pick a team hahaha. The mets owner has plenty of money to pay his players whatever he has to so what are you even talking about? You just sound salty that no good players want to play for your trash teams lol
Ummm you already said that and anyways have fun watching the Mariners outperform and clean the clock of whichever “trash” team you happen to be a fan of over the next 5 years.
And THIS is why it’s so hard to side with the players. Let me see if I can sum up Scherzer’s position (as a rep for the MLBPA).
1. Young players deserve more money
2. Middle age players deserve more money
3. Older players, like him, should still get their crazy high compensation
So … the players give up nothing and want the owners to give up everything? The players make no concessions while the owners take a smaller slice of the pie?
The players want all of the REWARD that comes with growth but are unwilling to take on any of the RISK that comes with decline.
Look – you are either an employee with limited risk AND reward or you are an owner with major risk and major reward. Can’t have it both ways. Until they realize this there will be no deal.
False.. he talked about production getting paid.. the young, in the middle and when you are still a star and considered old.. you get paid for your ability… instead of being a slave for 6-7 years.. and then short changed because you are 30 and too old because they don’t have to pay young players..
False. If players wanted to get paid for production they would work off non-guaranteed contracts. How many jobs are in America where I get a set salary for 10 years into the future that cannot be broken regardless of my health or performance?
I’m all for paying PERFORMING players more, assuming that they are willing to take on the DOWNSIDE when their performance falls below their expected value.
And since when is it slavery to earn millions of dollars after the organization has invested hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to develop you? Our definition of slavery is quite different.
Owners are not taking on any significant risk. They not only pull in a modest profit every year (for some teams not so modest), but more importantly their capital investment is growing in value. Most of them bought their team a long time ago with almost zero risk it would decline in value, and it hasn’t. Even if the sport went away on a dime, the vast majority of owners would still walk away with a solid return for their investment.
They are risking hundreds of millions of dollars. Not sure what your definition of “significant” is but I would say that qualifies.
This is the rent vs buy argument in homeownership. Homeownership is the primary wealth creation vehicle in the United States. Yet, it also carries significant risks. It requires a substantial investment (money + creditworthiness). You assume ALL of the risks. If the market goes down you are out of luck. If you need to relocate but can’t find a buyer, you make two housing payments. Taxes and insurance jump up, you still are on the hook to write the check. There are literally millions of Americans who have been burned by homeownership. It’s the American Dream for many but for others it is a complete financial disaster.
And like owning a team, home ownership requires continuous financial investments even though you see no benefit until the home sells. Real world example – my home needs a $100K foundation repair. It does not matter at all that my home has $500K in equity, I still need to cough up the $100K today. There is a chance that if we hit a recession, My $500K in equity could drop to $0. It’s the biggest bet of my life that my home is worth continuing to invest in. I hope it pays off but there is a chance that it won’t.
The players love to be renters when it comes to risk. They want to get paid regardless of the revenues of the league or team. They want to be paid regardless of whether their performance goes into the toilet. They want to be paid regardless of how well the team performs. They want to carry zero risk. Yet, they want to be compensated like the homeowner. When things are bad, that’s the owners’ fault. But when things are good they want more.
In baseball, team owners don’t pay for their buildings, they are paid for by taxpayers. When revenue dropped in 2020, the players took the brunt of that drop in revenue, not the owners. The owners had TV contracts that were guaranteed in the case of Acts of God. TV contracts that pay the majority of all costs in MLB. So the team owners still got paid the majority of their revenue while the players and other employees of the teams took it on the chin.
The game will go on without this crop of team owners. Another billionaire will step up and let you and I pay for a stadium and the infrastructure while taking little to no risk.
It will not go on without the irreplaceable skill level of the players in MLB today.
Give Pads Fan a cigar. Exactly right about talents. Let’s get real…who would pay MLB prices for an inferior product? We don’t have to speculate…we can look at ticket prices at minor league games.
Your points articulate well the inherent problems with these negotiations – the owners desperately need to stop exploiting the system at all costs. Most people would side with them, except they tank, they refuse to increase budgets under false pretenses (See NY Yankees), and they take advantage of contractual loopholes (See the controversial service manipulation).
Overall, your narrative is well-written and your points are perfectly laid out. I completely and wholly agree with your assessment.
In what I suppose could be described as marginally related news, I just saw an article by Grey Papke at Larry Brown Sports entitled: “Ken Rosenthal forced out at MLB Network over Rob Manfred criticism?”
According to this report, Rosenthal — to my mind, the most credible of the major baseball reporters — has been dropped by MLB because “Rosenthal wrote several columns for The Athletic in 2020 that were critical of Manfred’s handling of negotiations with players regarding the start of the delayed season.”
If this is true, add another gold star to Manfred’s report card.
The New York Post has a bold headline. I generally respect journalists (although there is a lot of opinion in today’s sports journalism), although I know nothing about the author of this article. I have read elsewhere on the internet that the Post article first posited the nexus. But I see little in the article that proves the nexus. Do I think it is likely true? Yes. But I would be merely speculating and I am not sure others are doing much more than that, at least until I see some cited authority.
3 years in the minors and you are a free agent unless they sign you to a 3 years major deal.. , 3 years in the majors and you are a free agent.. no contract beyond 3 years except for 1 franchise player per team.. so Pick your talent well pay them .. allow every team access to the best players..
That would just take MLB back to before the creation of the farm system when only the big market teams could afford to sign the best players. Competitive balance would once again be completely shot!
Enjoy your 10-team baseball league then. Cuz those are the only markets that could be competitive.
You would still have noncompetitive. It makes no difference whether you have ten teams or 200 teams. Not all of them will be or can be competitive.
For some reason, some fans seem to think that all the teams can be over .500. You don’t need a math degree to know that is impossible.
Not surprising to see so many slam the messenger (Scherzer) despite him bringing up good or important points. You wanna see some 22y/o floundering at the ML level or Max still doing what he does whom is still among the best on the planet? Maybe you’re just salty he didn’t go to your team. The fact folks would utilize such unclever rhetoric is rather hypocritical. Fix your pipes. Flip your burgers. Drive your busses. Stay in your lane.
Hard to sell a message with the wrong messenger. Sort of like Elon Musk complaining about paying too much in taxes. He gained equity and eschewed income. (Like some sports owners.) But if you want to generate sympathy over taxes get me a hard-working middle class family trying to get by.
So yes, some of what Scherzer said is valid. But also yes, you should expect that the messenger is going to get slammed as tone deaf just as much as you can predict that tomorrow his eyes will still be different colors.
lol Musk pointing out he pays the most taxes isn’t exactly complaining, but to each their own.
but i tend to agree, Scherzer being the spokesperson is tone deaf for sure.
So as a union rep he should not speak? Wow just awful rhetoric coming in today. Truth is still truth even if you no likey deh messenger guy. Let’s be better folks.
Truth is truth no matter where it comes from. Period. Such an awful example. Musk isn’t advocating for you to pay less taxes. It doesn’t matter if Scherzer gets 50 60 70 mil to throw a ball bc why? Truth is truth no matter where it comes from. Terrible way to rhetoric. Thankfully the court of public opinion means a much here as it does behind closed doors- nothing.
Except the court of public opinion means a lot to baseball. It previously took McGwire and Sosa hitting steroid-induced home runs to pull fans back to baseball. There are plenty of entertainment and sports options out there, especially for the younger generation. The owners and players all have a lot to lose. We the fans are the most important factor, we are just the least organized or united. It is like the difference between IQ and emotional intelligence. Players’ union needs to get smarter. The stars and Boras are getting their share but the young players and minor league players are not. That is the story to be told and the face for players to put on negotiations.
It means nothing. When things fall into a bad lull again they’ll look the other way on PEDs, juice the ball, let parks get built with smaller dimensions, have HR derby decide extra innings… basically allow awful things to happen again. The last person they care about is the fan. They’ve secured their coffers through licensing, merch, gaming and outrageous TV/satellite contracts which makes millions of folks pay them whether they watch or not- it’s baked into the monthly tv/satellite bills already.
Simply pit the players are not slaves. The league minimum for a player is over a half a million dollars a year.
It’s simple. Work hard. Be a team player. Make the game exciting for fans and as a player they have a chance at making $30 million a year.
The average income is over $4 million for the players in 2021.
Some could say median income should be the measurement. This is still over $1 million a year.
I think if the work stoppage continues into spring training the relevance of baseball will be less.
The last strike in 1994 made Americas game fall greatly behind the NFL.
The current system treats players extremely well. Players have more than enough leverage to earn incredible wealth by earning it. Young players like Acuña Jr., Tatis Jr. and Franco are signing mega deals at age 22 or less.
If any player says they have it bad. Remind them that the median income is over $1 million a year. The average income is over $4 million a year. The league minimum is over a half a million a year. To play a game.
And it is a game!! And they get paid to play!
No, baseball is an entertainment business. All professional sports are.
the song is ‘take me out to the ball GAME’ not ‘take me out to the Entertainment Business’
Professional or not, it’s a freaking game
It’s run as an entertainment business. I know sports fans love to imagine it’s something more than that, or at least different. But nope. That’s all it is. It’s a reality show focusing on athletic ability rather than snarkiness.
Once you get paid, its a job not a game.
And the average career is a few years long and provides maximum value to the employer sometime in the employee’s mid 20’s.. Don’t try and compare a professional sports career to someone whose career lasts 50 years.
But teams don’t treat the luxury tax threshold as a hard cap, as there is always at least one team that surpasses it every year, while the biggest markets (Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers) surpass it at least half the time. Teams treat it like an occasional soft cap, which is exactly what it was designed to do! Getting those biggest markets to actually curtail their spending once every few years is a good thing for competitive balance!
The majority of teams treat the luxury tax like a salary cap.
More importantly, MLB is a monopoly and there are several teams spending way less than they take in. The cable television revenue has grown. Why as a taxpayer do I want to have billionaire owners with 50 million dollar payrolls? It is not just owner revenue, the value of their equity in teams skyrockets as there are more billionaires with egos to feed than ownership slots. The problem with competitive balance is not at the top but rather the bottom. There is no excuse for teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Although I do like the Tsutsugo signing.)
Maybe Cohen’s approach will result in a change in ownership spending habits in the future, but right now the problem is some teams do not put a good product on the field. Now I admire the Rays and the A’s. They get a lot out of a little. They have smart FO staff. But given that it is a monopoly, it is time for Pirates ownership and others to make a huge profit by selling their equity and passing the baton to an owner who really wants to compete.
Majority of teams are no where near the luxury tax.
The top 15 teams in revenue can top the CBT threshold and still make a profit.
Teams like the Yankees and Dodgers could have a player payroll of $300 million and still make a profit.
When the Yankees and Dodgers are not signing or moving players to stay under the CBT threshold, it is being treated as a hard cap.
The win/win scenarios seem to be in Acuna type deals.
The player gets lifetime security and the club gets value by locking up the player at lower cost.
Why doesn’t this happen more often?
My guess is agents advise to hold out for the massive pay day. If true for the most part, how can the PU ask for it both ways?
Makes little sense that the same type of deals aren’t also available to players not as good as Acuna. You’d think clubs would be willing to sign guys early at below market value, which also happens to be life changing money on the players end.
Again….why doesn’t it happen more often?
Because Aaron Hicks 7/70MM lol.
Players want people paying attention to the first 6 years of a young player’s career. It is a rope-a-dope distraction argument that intentionally leaves out the other, more important, half of a player’s career.
So if a young player sees his salary doubled or tripled does anyone really think that people like Scherzer won’t think that they, too, need their salary doubled or tripled? They’ll say, ‘but the new guy got double, it’s only fair!”
It won’t be long before this argument leads to 9 figure arbitration case.
Eff the owners. Eff the players. Disband the league and start over.
Best Screenname Ever
I would be more than happy to see 2022 as a year of minor league baseball, followed by 2023 using players promoted from the minors who aren’t on the 40-man roster, Bye bye MLBPA and bye-bye Max.
In 10 years, historians can look back on the stupidest work stoppage in the history of pro sports, that broke the union, because the players were stupid enough to think the owners would agree to force teams to spend money on players they don’t want, and artificially drive up salaries through artificial demand, because is was “the optimal strategy for the owners”. Sayônara Max. Better learn some Korean or Japanese.
He’s made 300 million in his career, I don’t think your spite is doing what you think it is.
Most players never get beyond those 1st 6 years. 82% of MLB players never reach free agency.
A lot of comments here, some show some intelligence, most show the ignorance of the typical fan.
Regardless of where you stand on this, Max’s comments strongly suggest the players are determined and ready for a long fight. Does not bode well for the 2022 season starting on time.
Best Screenname Ever
Lemme guess. The comments that “show some intelligence” are the ones that agree with you. The ones that “show the ignorance of the typical fan”, are the ones that don’t.
I got the opposite vibe. It sounds to me like Max and his peers (long-time veterans with tens of millions in the bank) are up for a long fight. But no one’s asked the 24 year old Venezuelan middle infielder who just cashed his first major league minimum check. Honestly, I think the reason the owners aren’t negotiating seriously right now is they expect the union to break. Professional player associations are a tough kind of union to hold together, because the long time members have such different agendas than the rank and file.
That fictional middle infielder has been guaranteed to make a 6 figure income season regardless of playing any games because players like Scherzer have allowed 100% of the money they would have received from things like baseball cards, games, and jerseys since 2018 to go into a fund that the MLBPA will use to pay those players.
Players like your fictional 24 year old Venezuelan middle infielder also stand to make more money when this is all over due to the actions of Meyers and the player reps.
The reason you have not heard one peep about this whole thing from real players other than player reps is that they are 100% united behind the MLBPA.
Can you name a single professional sports union that has disbanded? Didn’t think so.
AKA, “We aren’t playing any time soon suckers until we address the issues of the common man.” *sips from chalice with pinky extended whilst pooping out caviar on golden toilet*
This is why I say there should be pay for performance. I know it would never happen but everyone gets the same base rate per game but then you get bonus incentives for singles, doubles, homeruns, strikeouts for pitchers, and so on.
Best Screenname Ever
So Max is doing it all for the owners’ good! LOL! What a load Max, what a load. Max says that terms who are out of the running should be forced to spend money on players they don’t want, and who won’t help a rebuilding team rebuild, NOT to create a false demand to pointlessly inflate player salaries, but because that’s “the optimal strategy for the owners”. LOL Max,. I don’t know who is more pathetic – someone who believes this nonsense, or someone who thinks that if they repeat it I might.
I was going to miss baseball this year, but now I think I’ll take some pleasure in seeing Max lose out on his $43+MM this year while he holds out for “the optimal strategy for the owners”
Did you even READ what he said? Apparently not. In fact, judging from your comments you never do read the articles.
You lost me at “middle-class free agents”.
When will these privileged multi-millionaires learn to keep their mouths shut and negotiate behind closed doors? Fans don’t want to hear millionaires whine about billionaires.
I’m done with a bunch of rich players pissing and moaning about how they’re being slighted by the other side. NFL guys go balls out week in and week out without guaranteed money while these guys lolly gag and play touch butt in the clubhouse eating steaks and lobster without a worry in the world. NHL players make peanuts compared to these daisies and play a crazy physical sport. I’m not jealous I just love sports and when I see this BS in this particular sport it makes me want to wash my hands of it. Let’s not forget that these are a bunch of guys who don’t even work half a year for those paychecks yet they complain they want more. I remember flipping over baseball cards and not seeing less than 150 games played for most regular players now forget it you’re lucky to get 140 out of a $30 million a year guy who needs mental health days because of the “grind” of baseball.
Sure is a lot of hate for one of the best pitchers of our generation…whose sin seems to be speaking on a labor issue on behalf of the players. How many of the “I’d play the game for free” who could pitch at his level would say…”no, no, I can’t accept that money, it would be wrong.” About as many who actually believe that if the players agreed to work for minimum wage, the owners would immediately reduce ticket prices to 1932 levels
The jersey color of the day is green, for envy.
Best Screenname Ever
Aaaah. Someone disagreed with Mike156 so they must be ‘haters’, and Max is a good pitcher so his BS must be chocolate. Sorry Mike156, that’s BS in your mouth, not chocolate.
Players like Max who just signed record-breaking contracts under the expired CBA have nothing to do with minimum wage or playing for free. According to Max, we should have a work stoppage to force owners of teams that are out of the running to waste money on players they don’t want, NOT to artificially inflate salaries (of course not!), but because it’s the “optimal strategy for the owners”. LOL!
It’s fine Mike156 if you want to chew and swallow whatever BS Max and the union feed you. But expect others to call BS when they hear it from Max. And the ‘Max is a great pitcher’ line doesn’t make it chocolate either. Happy swallowing!
If Max has a suggestion for how to accomplish a more competitive environment, I’d love to hear it.
To say that Baltimore should be forced to sign a $25M FA, just so they can win 60 games instead of 52, makes no sense. Finishing 40 games back, instead of 48 games back, is still not competitive.
Plus, you can approach that from two ways. Instead of insisting that Baltimore spend more, you could insist that the RS, NYY, and TO spend less.
I wonder if Max is concerned enough about competition to suggest a spending cap on the big market teams?
You, my friend, are one of the only reasonable people on this comment board. Thank you.
Stars put butts in seats, at least temporarily. Fans will go to the game when there’s a glimmer of hope. Baltimore won’t draw 3M a year like it did from ’92-’01 (’94 extrapolated) unless fans have a reason to go. Team is a winner. Cal Ripken was their star, people went to watch him play. Yes they had a new ballpark in 1992 but that team also won 89 games and contended after just 67 wins in 1991. Attendance rebounded from 1.7M to 2.5M from 2011-14 because the team won and it backslid 2017 onward because they weren’t winning.
One star won’t fix the Orioles. The decade of the ’00s Orioles should mostly explain (and they primarily signed fading stars). But one star, a couple above average players and some STARTING PITCHING will make them a contender for several years.
If that’s what you take from his comments. There are a bunch of teams that are not actively trying to win, that’s hard to argue.
Teams are rewarded for tanking, because they receive higher draft pics, many of those teams also receive rev share, which makes matters worse.
Is he saying that he thinks the orioles should go out and spend 15 million on a free agent that’s worth 8? No, if that’s what you’re hearing I question your comprehension.
He’s not really throwing out solutions, but losing rev share, only giving top 10 picks 2 years in a row, etc would force some of these cheap owners from having to spend on the team or sell to an owner who is serious about spending. I’m not sure why that’s such a controversial idea, just because it’s coming from max doesn’t make a difference. He was chosen as a rep and this is part of that responsibility
You do realize you are making my point, right?
Was replying to the comments to your comment not you, I agree with you fully
Thanks, Tough crowd here….
No way season starts on time
There may not even be much of a season at all. Hope the greedy players get $0 this year.
Teams “tanking,” says Mad Max, well how about a family that spends hundreds of dollars to attend one game only to find the star player(s) on that team taking a “rest day?” Load management – it’s a load, alright. Further, the veterans have no problem taking all that dough they’re now suggesting should be more dutifully dispersed. Not many professions out there in which new employees are paid equivalent to senior staff. Owners? How much money was given out prior to the lockout? Wander Franco and his 70 career games played gives me 182 million reasons to think both sides are doing okay in the big, bad business of baseball. It’s all so tone deaf.
I’m flatly disgusted with both sides. I think MLB has changed for the worse over the last decade – shifts have killed the artful defender, I’m not keen on watching a nine-inning home run derby, I miss the Roy Halladay approach to starting pitching, excessive analytics sends the same shiver down my spine that math class once did, reliever “matchups,” batters are essentially wearing armour (the “inside pitch” is a thing of the past), it’s too expensive to attend games with any regularity, the disgraceful handling of the Astros scandal, a commissioner who refers to the MLB trophy as a “piece of metal” … I digress.
I love baseball. I’m tiring of MLB.
shifts have killed the artful defender,
I’ve been watching baseball for almost 60 years, and believe me, shifts were around long before I started watching.
I happen to like them. It rewards a well-rounded hitter. I was a foul-line to foul-line hitter. My best friend could drop a bunt into a golf hole from 90 feet away.
If other players couldn’t do that, that gives a competitive advantage.
I respect the “foul-line to foul-line” hitter you were/are, Joe, but MLB players are not responding likewise. Most are trying to hit the ball 420 feet, that’s been the response to the shift thus far, not a skilled response as you referenced. I’ve been watching a long time, too, the shift is far more prevalent now than previously. I miss a second baseman diving into the hole to make a great play, an over-the-shoulder catch – artful defence. Watching the third baseman catch a one-hopper in shallow RF does not appeal to me. It is possible that unbridled strategy can negatively impact the core design of a sport, such approaches can excessively manipulate the strategy of a game – I feel MLB has allowed the core of baseball, the playing the game, to be bastardized in the modern era.
But, I respect your line-to-line approach, Joe. I miss those Bill Mueller types in MLB, too.
The missing part of the equation is that pitchers are throwing into a smaller strike zone (self-imposed) in order for the shift to work. The analytics regard that as a net gain in outs so it’s wise to throw into that smaller zone. It would be interesting yet highly difficult to do if the home plate width varied with the position of the fielders. If you stack all the fielders such that you expect the batter to pull everything, you lose some of the inside corner of the plate. That might make it interesting.
Bryce Harper won the N.L. MVP this year doing just that. For the first time in his career, Harper took advantage of the shift, by extensively putting the ball in play (bunting, slapping the ball, and driving it to left and left center). He defeated the shift by hitting .309, and scoring 100 runs. Harper went with the outside pitch, and still drove the ball with power to left and left – center. He “played the situation”, if down by 2 or more runs leading off an inning, he would either bunt, or slap it to the left side on the ground. If more strong pull hitters would adopt that approach, the pronounced shift would be abandoned.
If the goal is to “increase competitive integrity in the game”, why do they have so many teams playing in the league and why are they increasing the number of playoff teams each year? You’ve watered down the talent levels by having 30 teams and 10 teams making the playoffs. Get back to top two teams playing in the championship series and dup about 15 teams, if the goal is to increase competitive integrity in the game.
They players don’t want contraction nor do they want less playoff teams. Contraction means less dues paying union members getting paid. Less playoff teams means less chance of the players winning a ring. Your idea will not fly either.
I understand what you’re saying and know it isn’t a idea that they would agree to, however, if the issue is to increase competitive integrity of the game, then it would make more sense to reduce the number of teams to ensure more quality of players are on teams. At the moment, many players are not truly full-time MLB quality players. You have a number who can only hit against RHP or LHP so they’re used in those situations. You have pitchers who throw heat and might get lots of strikeouts but beyond that, they aren’t quality pitchers able to pitch in all situations.
All due respect, but go back through the history of baseball and there have always been teams that were lousy. Teams like the Senators and the Phillies, for instance. The Philadelphia A’s would be good for a year or two and trade off everyone on the team. When they moved to Kansas City, they became the de facto Yankees minor league team. Teams had greedy owners who minimized the value of the talent they employed, and the reserve clause attached them to the team ad infinitum unless they were traded.
The real difference between now and then is sports are now a television product as opposed to sports on television for those that couldn’t go. Gambling is massively encouraged to keep you watching something you normally would not to see if your outcome paid. Tickets sold really doesn’t matter except for the aesthetic on television. The demand for live content is at an all time high for networks. Some of that money trickles down to the players in the sense of big stars to help ratings, yes. Where the paradox lies is with the young player. We all tune in for the young phenom. Gooden, Strawberry, Canseco, McGwire, Fernando, Fidrych, Bryce, Strasburg were examples of appointment viewing of very low compensated but extremely valuable players in their early years. Some made money, others not so much. The owners and the networks all profited, though.
After careful consideration, there really is no real fix for this. Teams will always be lousy, and we all like seeing the next great star in their infancy. Bump up the minimum wage annually for the course of the agreement. Raise the tax ceiling accordingly. Market your stars so those young players increase their revenue streams not associated with payroll. Most importantly, figure out how to make your sport national, not regional, and most importantly, watchable, for our youth.
Guaranteed contracts. There you go. Consider how much “dead” money each team has and what they could do with that if they were able to spend on other players. Scherzer is one of the few who actually delivered more value than his monster contract—he is not the problem. The Strasburg contract. Are you kidding me?
To hell with guaranteed contracts.
For once, i’d like to see the issue focused on the players who really need the financial help:
The minor leaguers.
I want to see minor league salaries addressed. I want to see minor leaguers making good, living wages. If they were making $50k-$100K a year, major leaguers would have much less of a beef, because they’d be much more financially secure when their time in the Majors came.
And if anyone should be shouldering the increased salaries of minor leaguers, it’s the major league owners who profit off their future play, making them a very real investment for their big league club.
Maybe a salary where you are guaranteed the first 50% of your salary. The second 50% of your salary is pooled for the whole team and then doled out strictly on your production by some sort of formula. Kind of a prospective and retrospective approach. Just a thought.
Too much talk is being wasted on teams “tanking”. There have always been, and always will be, bad teams in the league.
Which MLB team was the worst of the last five seasons?
Clearly the 115-loss 2018 Orioles, a team that was definitely NOT TANKING. Think about that for a second. That team did *exactly* what everyone thinks a non-tanking team should do: held on to veterans (even though they should have traded many of them in the prior year), extended contracts that overpaid free agents based on past performance when it was clear they’d probably never get value from them, and refused to move on from players until it was just too late. All this, plus a big-name highly paid manager in the dugout.
I’d rather watch the rebuilding 2019 version then the collapsing dysfunctional mess of the 2018 team.
That’s how it works, and used to simply be called a “rebuild”. But today everyone has to be edgy and point fingers to make themselves feel good, so everyone reframes the rebuild and calls it “tanking” in order to create yet another bogeyman. It’s the same dang thing.
There will always be some number of teams that, because of the age/performance/cost of their players, will need to basically start over from square one.
It happens in literally every sport.
Forcing teams to overpay aging veterans and unproven youngsters (via some kind of floor) just to give the lame impression that the league is “doing something about tanking” is not going to accomplish much.
Implement a floor if you want to increase the amount of money for the players around the league, not because of some fantasy about teams won’t tank. That’s nonsense. They’ll just spend the bare minimum and their intent will not change. And probably shouldn’t if there’s not also going to be a cap.
Bud Selig Fan
It’s not the short tank that’s the problem, it’s the long, 3 years or more tank that’s the problem. It’s also the severity of the tank. The Orioles extreme lack of being competitive the last 4 years affects the competitive integrity of the sport. Losing more than 111 games multiple seasons affects competitive balance, and to an extreme.
The 2018 Orioles were a combination of tanking and being poorly run. They held onto veterans (Machado) primarily because they thought they could get more out of him than they did, when every other team in the league knew they were trying to trade him and driving the price down. He should have been traded in the 2017-18 offseason, I agree…but wasn’t because of the team’s decision.
The poorly run part comes from 1) poor choice of return; “prospects” who never ripen and 2) absolutely refusing to invest in MLB caliber starting pitching and 3) spending their money on Chris Davis in a panic signing. The 2012-16 Orioles were held together by threads: a very good offense, a great bullpen, and their starting pitcher doing just enough not to kill the team. It was a thin margin, and Buck Showalter navigated it very well 99% of the time…in 2018 there wasn’t enough SP talent to get by and the bullpen had deteriorated.
Tanking? How about all the one year “value contracts” or “prove it deals” for guys like Jonathan Villar? No long term deals anywhere? Cheaping out on Nelson Cruz? Bringing up every hyped prospect only for them to fall flat?
I completely disagree on there not being a salary floor. There needs to be, and if it forces the Angelos family to sell its the best thing that could ever happen. Other economic factors need to change too (arbitration, etc) in order to bring the young guys up, but right now the economics are broken. You have a few top tier free agents that make out very well while the mid tier, lower tier, and young guys lose ground. The “have versus have not” gap has only widened, and there are a small group of top tier teams willing to spend the $ on the top guys. Fix the economics, while the top tier guys might get tamped down on $ for a bit, the rising tide lifts all boats. Maybe even the Orioles get lifted.
Best Screenname Ever
One of the best posts in the thread Blue. The ridiculous notion that the Orioles should be ‘credited’ for wasting money during. a rebuild on the likes of Chris Davis, which is EXACTLY what the union and Max are hoping for, is nonsense, and Max’s pitch that the union wants this money wasted for the benefit of the owners, is classic union BS.
The only reason players and the union pretend to be concerned about ‘tanking’, ( ie a rebuild) is because they want to complain that salaries aren’t being driven even higher by forcing teams to aquire players they don’t want who don’t help the club rebuild. As Max’s new deal shows, there’s no problem whatsoever with salaries from any reasonable player perspective. I hope the owners continue to tell the Union and Max to take a hike.
As far as the other phoney union issue, ie. junior players not being paid fully for their production, the union is completely sucking and blowing at the same time. The CBA goes a long way to stop teams from playing players for lack of production. It provides a Uniform Player Contract which prohibits paying on the basis of production. If a player like Prince Fielder or Tulowitski sits on the DL for the year, a change to the Uniform Player Contract could be made to allow the player to be paid nothing, or the minimum salary, or something less than $23MM a year like Fielder was pulling in. Similarly, a change to the Uniform Player Contract could be negotiated to make future salary dependent on production.. The union has no interest at all in these kind of changes. They cry crocodile tears about junior players not being fully compensated but want nothing at all to do with production-based compensation.
This work stoppage is completely unnecessary, and while there are union cheerleaders who will parrot whatever nonsense Max and the union tell them, if this nonsense jeopardizes Opening Day or part of the season the players should expect to hear how people feel about their foolish bargaining position. ‘
Your biggest problem is you create a scenario in your head, like Orioles signing a long term contract while rebuilding, and then attack that one scenario as the only point.
Completely ignoring the other side of the coin, teams like the reds that pocket rev share, have ownership that’s not really interested in winning. Not sure how you don’t think it’s a problem, but you should look in to the economics of baseball so you can develop a more informed and well balanced opinion.
Bud Selig Fan
The Reds had payrolls of $140MM+ in 2019/2020, so their owner paid to win. They got screwed more than most by the pandemic.
owners want to make more money and keep more of it
players want more equality league wide in regards to wages
if a strike happens there is no sane person supporting team owners. players are just trying to level the playing field between the haves and have nots
and before the ‘players are paid too much’ brigade comes out – there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. what’s complaining abt players salaries goi g to do?
Best Screenname Ever
stan lee the manly
I don’t agree with this take at all, the owners take on 100% of the financial risk because of the guaranteed contracts. While I agree that the money needs to be distributed differently to players, the players should be willing to take on at least a portion of that risk in return for increased percentage of revenue.
(1) it is a monopoly
(2) there are a growing number of billionaires who want to feed their ego by owning a pro sports team
(3) there are a finite number of small sports teams to buy
There is little risk in owning a sports team:
(1) Even if your costs exceed revenue, you make money from your equity growing
(2) The first exception is if the whole league fails
(3) The second exception is if the monopoly is taken away
(4) Even the pandemic cuts both ways because while ticket sales go down, cable tv revenue is stable or increasing.
I have a non-serious proposal but it would be the most fun of all.
Teams gets control of drafted players for three major league seasons or until the player turns 25. (It supports going to college.) After that, all players go into an auction for a one year contract. Before the auction, the player can block a team(s) from the right to bid for him for that year by disclosing their decision on a public list one month before the auction. Players won at the auction may be sent to the minors with no decrease in salary but no loss of right to bring back up. All players at auction require a minimum bid of $1 million. All teams must spend a minimum of $90 million but up to $20 million may be rolled into the next year. Teams spending over certain amounts lose various draft picks and pay a luxury tax. All luxury tax money goes to minor league players. Players that do not report on time to Spring Training are ineligible to play the next season.
How do you get paid for past production and not get penalized for when you are paid in your declining years? Its dumb. You have years of “underpaid” production while you are young and years of significantly overpaid production when you are older and bad because players sign 10 year deals and are garbage from year 5 on.
It’s a business and the players need to realize it. If they want competitive balance the need a floor and a ceiling. Unfortunately that means Cap.
I’m for the owners in this strike, but Scherzer is right. Something has to be done about mid-tier players and tanking.
But then also something also has to be done about giving players 30 million a year who suck.
If teams are going to give players 30 million a year to stink, then that money has to come from somewhere. So unless these players who sign long term contracts for big money are willing to not have the money guaranteed, which I’m not advocating, other players are going to take the financial hit.
It’s not a strike. The owners locked the players out. This is on the owners.
The owners will point out guys exactly like Scherzer: “Look we just gave this guy $43 million a year, what are you complaining about” but the #’s don’t support it. The top 10% of free agents make out from the free spending teams. When looked at as a whole, players are losing ground. A few guys get richer, everyone else slides. A few teams go for it, everyone else is willing to slide (basically an incomplete collusion model). This will only be exacerbated if not changed, and it is breaking baseball.
A cap, a floor that’s 2/3 or 70% of the cap. Stop fully guaranteeing contracts a.k.a. the NFL model. The Orioles should have been able to cut Davis in 2018 for a few million buyout, and then move on. That situation alone set them back 2 years. They aren’t the Yankees or Dodgers, they can’t sign 5 guys like that and just eat one or two who may not work out while benefiting from the 3 or 4 who do.
Increase the salary floor
Increase minor league pay or provide housing (I recognize this not an MLBPA issue)
Decrease maximum salary and contract lengths
Find a way to avoid service time manipulation
Create a total salary floor for teams and tie revenue sharing directly to spending on salary.
Move the a’s and rays.
Come up with a system to allow teams to spend more on homegrown players, particularly early in their career.
More competitive game. Dodgers and Yanks being able to spend unlimited money.
Can’t have them both, Max.
Scherzer should count his blessings.. The current free agency system creates a supply shortage of top end talent that he has benefited from. If all the players were free agents there would be many, younger starting pitchers available and he would be unemployed.
While he pretends to want to help the younger guys, he says nothing about the real losers in this deal, the minor leaguers. It would cost MLB $200 million to give the MILB players a living wage and benefits. That would come out his pocket because the teams don’t have it.
Best Screenname Ever
Exactly Bob, the current system maximizes salary levels by shorting supply of top talent, and then having those pay levels reflected elsewhere, like in arbitration awards. Max has no inteerest in sharing his 43+ either with junior MLB players or with MILB players. One good thing about a work stoppage is that Trevor Bauer won’t be pulling in his 40 for sitting out the year like he would have under the expired CBA that apparently isn’t good enough for Max and the union.
Best Screenname Ever
The problem for the union is when guys like Max come out and spill the beans on how stupid the MLBPA issues are (like getting the Orioles to waste money on Chris Davis during a rebuild is “for the owners”,) then we all get to see what a mess it is behind the MLBPA curtain.
The MLBPA is going to make one of two decisions. Either they are going to sign on soon to a renewal agreement which makes minor incremental changes, as has always been done, to things the tax levels and minimum salary, or they can hold out for their ‘sea change’ proposals which the owners will never agree to.. This looks a lot like the hockey strike in the 90’s when a whole season was lost over nothing because the union leaders painted themselves in a corner, and after losing a season they went back for less than they were offered before the strike. A lost season in 2022 will mean the same for union here, and I don’t think we will be hearing Max, after losing his 43+MM for 2022, tell us union hall stories about how it’s “for the optimal strategy of the owners”.
What is needed is a base salary based on years of service, one million for each year. The rest of the players salary would be distributed from each teams bonus pool based on pay for performance. You get hurt you only get your base pay. Exceed expectations and you get more of the bonus pool. The team payroll would be set at 50% of revenues for each team. No guaranteed contracts beyond one year.
The owners then decide how to increase team revenues. They could negotiate better TV deals, reduce ticket prices to increase attendance, engage in revenue sharing, etc.
Floor AND cap. Not just floor.
Too many of the comments (and I’m going to get in trouble again for this) are focussed only on reducing player salaries. But why should they agree to that? They have special talents that are not easily replaceable.. And MLB is not comparable to football, where the average player has a much shorter career length and the league itself benefits massively from the no-cost development service known as college football. Unless you are the elite of elites in the NFL, there’s aways the draft pick without the milage on his body. A contract is a contract. You want to sign a top tier free agent, you pay what you need to pay in $ and years. Otherwise, why shouldn’t they have opt-outs every year as well? All the players owe the fans is their best efforts–they have no obligation to take less money. All the owners owe the fans is to try to be competitive and not stick their hands in our pockets when it comes to new facilities. They have no obligation to lower ticket prices or the cost of a hot dog and beer. It’s a business. If the product stinks, eventually, the market will either demand better performance or lower prices.
Best Screenname Ever
MLB is not asking players to take lower salaries. The expired CBA provided the opportunity for record player salaries, à la Poor Max Scherzer. The owners will agree to normative increases to the minimum salary, normative increases to the luxury tax and other normative improvements. What they’re not going to agree to are the looney tune proposals like forcing rebuilding clubs to waste money on players they don’t want, in order to artificially inflate salaries, like Poor Max says is “optimal strategy for the owners.” The players have a good CBA and they should make modest normative improvements to it, because as the hockey players found out after a year of pointless work stoppage – when you come back after a one year shutdown the offer will be less.
@Best We are not reducing player salaries. What needs to occur is the player salaries need to be more evenly distributed. The MLBPA only wants to increase the player payroll pool. There is plenty of money for the players now. We need to eliminate the monopoly pricing advantage the free agents have over the younger, controlled players. Everyone is replaceable. Injured and non productive players should not cash in for years. That hurts the teams ability to reward the current contributors they need to be competitive in the current season. Tanking and rebuilding occurs when you have a couple bad contracts, like Robinson Cano, that you cannot move on from.
Repeating what Scherzer says has absolutely no impact on the negotiations.or the sport. He needs to recuse himself. Pains to say but guys like Scherzer and Andrew Miller have no concept in resolving the issues of today’s baseball. The reason for tanking is the long term contracts. The reason for tanking is the long term control of players (especially from 18-22+YOA), The reason for tanking is that the minor league system is too big to feed the league.
Reality has set in, this is going to take some time. I think they settle on Universal DH, 14 team playoff, increase minimum salary, max long term contracts to 8yrs., injured players don’t count again’st the cap, increase ceiling to 220 million, floor 80 million, Injured players get 75% of pay.,
stan lee the manly
I agree with all of Scherzer’s (and the Union’s) points, but the last one about players compensation not being tied to revenues is probably going to be a sticking point. If you want to have players pay be independent of how the business performs, that’s completely fine, but you absolutely have to pay some cost for that certainty. That puts 100% of the risk on the owners if baseball can’t be played or the revenues are significantly impacted. It’s the same idea as insurance, you need to pay the premiums for the coverage to be there if something costly happens.
I think the entirety of that wishlist can be achieved, but the players will need to pay a price to get that certainty. It seems like they aren’t willing to at this point, so it will be interesting to see where that particular goal ends up.
I’ve been saying this for years.
First off, had the players accepted a percentage of revenue when they had the upper hand, they’d be making a billion more every year.
Past that, no one get certainty plus a percentage of the upside. If I were looking for a job, I could go to a Fortune 500 and get a good, guaranteed salary. Or maybe the guy next store wants to start rehabbing houses, but will only pay me based on how much he nets in the business. But I am not going to get both.
And the reason why there is an issue with paying younger guys is because he was one of the ones that sold them out. Five years ago, my guess is that the owners would have raised minimum wages to $750k had the players agreed to a $200M cap instead of $210M.
It’s a negotiation. We can give you this, but you got to pay for that.
Yes, the only way the players are going to get what they want is to put a cap on the max years of a contract.
Until owners tie lower players salaries with less cost for fans to attend games the owners are just talking out of 2 mouths. Max is right that the big market teams use the luxury tax as a salary cap. $100mil player salary floors & a higher luxury tax amount will take care of some of the issues with the current system. Also some sort of new entry level system based on hockey’s model will also help solve that issue with service time manipulation.
1-Of course the teams are using the luxury cap as a salary cap. That is exactly what it is intended to do.
2-Offering the players a higher luxury cap, plus a floor for the small market teams is not a serious proposal. The idea is that the owners concede somewhere, and the players concede somewhere.
Not having the owners concede somewhere, and have the owners concede somewhere.
I mostly agree except the players can propose both a higher luxury cap plus a floor for small market teams if the changes are modest.
Having a payroll rule that an owner must spend $150 million every two season period, for example, is not outrageous, especially if the contract gives a year or two to phase it in.
Owners get most of the money from TV, they will never lower the cost of going to games. I just paid 600 dollars for two Gaints tickets, crazy!
But you can still go to Oakland As games for reasonable prices. Go to a day game between the As and Mariners and you can get field level seats a handful of rows up and they are still pretty cheap.
It seems some on this board are ignoring all of the expenses of running a franchise other than player payroll. If a team takes in $300 million in revenue and spends $150 million on player payroll, they do not have a $150 million dollar profit. They have a loss. The franchise has 200 non-player employees, some high dollar, that have to be paid. Travel expenses, scouts and coaches, minor league teams, advertising, IT and accounting, ticket agents, stadium groundskeepers all have to be paid, too. At the end of the day the owners are forced to give their minor leaguers $400 per week. They do that not because they are greedy an insensitive but because there is nothing left after the Max Scherzer’s and Cano’s take their cut.
Even if an owner has a negative revenue flow of ten million per year, if their equity in the team goes up $300 million in a decade, they have profited $200 million. That is why it is easy to cook the books. Just like Elon Musk drew no income, but cashed out billions in stock. Revenue is to easy to be cute with, no owner wants their books micromanaged, so other factors have to be evaluated during negotiations.
To me, the problem is the “window” thinking that precedes the tanking. Surely the best opportunity to win a World Series is to be there or thereabouts every year. Eventually the playoff stars will align for you and you bring it home. I’d look at a salary floor, reducing team control of younger guys and offset that with a maximum length of contract limit for free agents. Even out payroll differences between clubs, give the young guys free agency money earlier, and save teams from themselves by getting rid of the 10 year contract anchor that often seems to limit a teams flexibility and the ability to compete as they wait it out. Players get more in their prime but have to accept a more performance based pay check at the back end.
I wonder if Scherzer has any interest is seeing that minor league players (who work for the same employer he does) get a living wage?
Baseball Salaries over the years:
1967 – $6,000; $19,000
1970 – $12,000; $29,303
1975 – $16,000; $44,676
1980 – $30,000; $143,756
1985 – $60,000; $371,157
1990 – $100,000; $597,537
1995 – $109,000; $1,110,766
2000 – $200,000; $1,895,630
2005 – $316,000; $2,476,589
2010 – $400,000; $3,014,572
2015 – $507,500; $3,952,252
***These numbers are not adjusted for inflation.
Source: Major League Baseball Players Assn.
George bought the Yanks for 10 million, now they are worth 5.25 billion.
In some respects scherzer has a point that gms keep players in the minors too long. It was the previous system they argreed to for service times, boras is just using scherzer here. Bring up the minor leaguers and stop with the over the hill players. Few players, Albies for example, deserve front loaded contracts. Mlb tried to pay players for their previous skills, but most players had the money go all to their head , i.e. Carlos Silva, are were terrible after their big contracts.
I think Scherzer is wrong on the revenue percentage issue.. Seems to work well enough in the NBA; the issue is always going to be what counts as revenue, especially with bigger market teams.
I think both players & owners could learn from the NBA’s contract tiers, too.
Fellow bloggers & MLB Fans – I read about 59 comments here… the Major Point is that MLB as it stands today, is not a long term winning proposition for THE GAME. Some due to the game itself (slow, boring) vs other sports, potential younger Fan base (under 30) won’t watch 4 hr games or go to one as a tix holder, they prob prefer UFC or fútbol or basketball etc or gaming. So us fans from 40s to 70’s on way out. So it’s about GAME fundamentals & make action better. Then: Owners gotta budge to avoid 30 yr olds who played since 21 forced to quit b/c not paid or another 21 yr old comes in. Players are making so much $ vs the past and need to give too. Americas Pastime could become a past time we wish didn’t happen! Así es! Go Yanks & Nats
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