As the lockout draws on, time has proved insufficient in healing the conflicts surrounding the current collective bargaining agreement negotiations. The latest reports suggest that the league owners and MLBPA are no closer to finding middle ground on most issues. The most recent concessions were catalogued here by MLBTR’s Darragh McDonald. Today’s analysis, however, comes from thescore.com’s Travis Sawchik, who provides valuable context for a number of trends that have been at issue during these negotiations.
Sawchik tackles the current imbalance between production and pay, the changing demographics of the player populous, and the role that analytics has played in shaping the game’s financial landscape. I urge you to read Sawchik’s full analysis, but below are a couple of passages from Sawchik’s article that frame the current debate.
For starters, player careers have declined. Sawchik writes, “The average service time of MLB players was 4.79 years in 2003 and fell to 3.71 years in 2019, according to MLBPA data from last year.” It’s no coincidence that players become eligible for their first arbitration raise after three years of service time.
Careers are closing in on players from both sides. Sawchik provides the following data: “…the share of position players aged 30-plus declined from 40.4% of all hitters in 2004 to 29.9% this past season. Of all players to step on an MLB field in 2019, 63.2% had less than three years of service time. Careers are also starting later. The average debut age of 25.6 years this season was up from 2011 (24.6 years) and 2001 (24.5), according to Baseball Reference.”
Not only are there less players in their thirties than in the past, but younger players are debuting at older ages than usual. What this amounts to is owners taking advantages of players’ few prime years between the ages 25 and 30, thereby avoiding the growing pains of youth and at the same time forestalling free agency until players are on the tail end of their athletic peaks. Excepting where those superstar players are concerned, teams can then feel comfortable replacing those players with the next wave of cheap, young players entering their primes.
Advanced analytics has made it so that teams have a better understanding of the advantages that this system provides them. Meanwhile, player care has improved and the field of biomechanics has taken on an increased role, only deepening the information available to owners and front offices.
What makes this situation so very complex is that as individual players use these advancements for the benefit of their own careers, the aggregate only pushes the balance of power further in the direction of ownership. The MLBPA knows not to expect owners to yield their high ground willingly, which is why we are where we are in terms of the lockout.
The entire revaluation of an economic ecosystem as complex as Major League Baseball is hardly a simple matter. There is no reset button, especially when only one side of the conflict sees the current system as broken. Still, for the sport to resume, both sides will have to engage in persistent and significant compromise. In the meantime, we all get a little older.
dynamite drop in monty
Death to the opposition!
Fever Pitch Guy
It’s sad that writers such as Sawchik will throw together a bunch of statistics, but can’t properly analyze them.
Both the drop in average service time and the debuting at older ages can at least partially be explained by one simple radical change in MLB – the use of pitchers, especially relief pitchers.
Over twenty years ago, guys like Moyer, Phil Niekro, Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield and G-lord Perry pitched in their mid to late 40’s without much velocity at all. Now, it’s all about constantly shuffling flamethrowers in and out of games. It’s all about them airing it out for a couple batters or an inning, and if they end up with shoulder soreness or TJ surgery then so be it. That is a BIG reason why so many pitchers have short careers, and why soft throwers like Porcello are out of the game at Age 31 despite putting up a 3.0 WAR at age 29. A lot of today’s pitchers don’t really know how to pitch, all they do is throw as hard as they can. If you can’t throw consistently upper 90’s then it’s a lot harder to continue pitching in the majors. That at least partially explains the drop in service time.
As for the debuting at older ages, what do you expect when teams consistently go with 12 non-pitchers on their roster. Over 20 years ago a kid could gain experience and service time as a bench player, but these days it’s extremely difficult to do when you’re talking about only a 3-person bench of which one guy is the backup catcher. How the heck is a guy supposed to make a ML roster or stay on one for several years if there’s only two non-catcher bench positions available? Over 20 years ago there was usually 5-6 bench players on a team.
So there ya go, there’s some reasons why players are debuting at a later age and not lasting in the majors as long as they used to. If they institute roster limits for pitchers like they’ve been talking about, I guarantee you’ll see positions players coming up at a younger age and sticking around longer.
Good points. The stats he presented sound important but he ran right by the real reason.
@fever You missed a key point. Position player ages mirror the overall age increase in being called up and the lowering age they are being jettisoned from teams.
Its not because of pitchers.
And he explained possible reasons for that…maybe try reading it again.
Fever Pitch Guy
Pads – I don’t follow what you’re saying. Many more pitchers are getting promoted based on one thing, the ability to throw the baseball really hard. That’s because analytics have made strikeouts the top priority for pitchers.
In 2005 there were 33,591 K’s in MLB
Every single year from then until 2019 the strikeouts increased, all the way to 42,823 K’s. That is a MASSIVE increase despite there being the exact same number of teams and no other MLB-implemented changes to justify said increase.
Because of the heavy emphasis on velocity and strikeouts, pitchers who are in their athletic peak are being used the most. It takes a few years to build up velocity, and obviously once injuries and their reduced athleticism due to aging starts to cause a decline in velocity then it’s adios.
Over twenty years ago a former power pitcher could continue pitching for many more years by inducing lots of ground balls and lazy fly balls, Frank Tanana immediately comes to mind. But these days, as soon as your velocity goes then so do you.
Pads Fan is saying that position players are also being promoted later and not sticking around as long as in the past, implying that your speculation that relief pitchers are skewing the data to be an unfounded and incorrect conclusion. You instead invented a new argument to ramble about instead of addressing or conceding the original point.
While your small bench hypothesis can explain the late promotion, it cannot explain the early departure. It is fair to use Occam’s razor here and assume that it is most likely money to blame and not pitcher usage until proven otherwise.
Its pretty simple. The age of POSITION players are the same as those of the totals for all players. So position players are getting called up later and their final years are earlier as well. It is not just the pitchers that this is happening to.
Fever Pitch Guy
Offseason – I clearly stated that position players are also getting promoted at an older age and not lasting as long because there’s usually only 3 bench positions available because of the bloated pitching staffs. I guess in your rush to bash me, you overlooked what I wrote.
And I invented nothing. I along with many others for years have talked about how dramatically the game has changed because of the bloated pitching staffs, and how it’s impacted many facets of the game including the ridiculous shrinking of the bench.
Again I’ll say it so as not to leave any questions in your head:
When you have only 3 bench spots on a team, one of which is always a backup catcher, an aging or one-dimensional player who is not good enough to be a regular starter will have a very, very hard time winning one of those two remaining bench positions as they are usually reserved for the multi-position Zobrist-wannabe’s.
Was that clear enough?
Disagreeing with you is not bashing unless you come from a frail mental state. I do not think that pitcher usage is the most likely conclusion to the smaller windows for players. Your logic is post hoc reasoning. You have a conclusion you wish to be true and are pulling facts together to paint a narrative. This is a natural psychological phenomena, but is most usually a false reading of a situation as it is driven by bias instead of truth-seeking. It is far more likely to be due to monetary incentives as monetary incentives are the main driver for how teams function.
Fever Pitch Guy
Offseason – I regularly suggest that people who don’t care for my writing should mute me, does that sound like a frail mental state?
So you’re saying the majority of owners decided to start making roster decisions based strictly for the sole purpose of suppressing the players’ salaries by keeping their service time down. And this coincidentally started at the exact same time that teams started implementing bloated pitching staffs that consist mostly of flamethrowers in their athletic prime.
Sorry, I just don’t buy it. Yes they keep future star players in the minors a bit longer to get one more full year of pre-arb service time, I agree with you there. But if they’ve got a good player approaching free agency, they will try to re-sign them or they will trade them. They will not conspire with other owners to force the player into retirement so they can go with a younger, less experienced, less talented player. I’ve never been a conspiracy theorist, which I’d have to be in order to believe what you’re claiming.
“I regularly suggest that people who don’t care for my writing should mute me, does that sound like a frail mental state?”
Yes. This seems like a preemptive attempt to avoid those disagreeing with you. A defense mechanism. Your quick triggered aggression also suggest as such.
“I’ve never been a conspiracy theorist, which I’d have to be in order to believe what you’re claiming.”
It is actually the opposite. Your thinking is conspiratorial in nature. It relies on a series of coincidental facts to support a grander narrative. Mine requires one singular reasoning that can be directly observed in other areas of the industry.
Ultimately, we are both expressing our personal feelings on the matter. I believe it is okay for two people to feel the other is incorrect.
I was about to post the same thing, Offseason.
Your reply to Fever, is 100% correct, in every single point-by-point respect.
And your final two sentences, express an enviable level of equanimity – all things considered… 🙂
@fever LOL is the best answer. Every team in the majors had 4 bench players in 2021 and most had 5. 11 teams carried 3 catchers for at least 81 games.
Bruh. Why can’t you just stick to one account? You can’t possibly think you’re fooling anyone posting the same comment basically word for word on the same article from two different accounts.
Fever Pitch Guy
Offseason – Why do you always have everything backwards? A preemptive attempt to avoid those disagreeing would be if I were to mute them first. I’ve done that to only one person using three accounts, and only because they were stalking me and directed a lot of personal insults against me. Heck, I’ve had one guy Denny who was constantly accusing me of being wrong. I never muted him.
You are the one who falsely accused me of “inventing a new argument to ramble”.
First of all, if you followed baseball at all you’d know know my argument against bloated pitching staffs has been supported for a few years by MLB as they intended to implement roster limits for pitchers prior to the 2020 season. It was delayed, so they again planned to make the change in 2021 before it was delayed yet again. This is something that has been reported here a few times, and yet you still falsely accuse me of “inventing” it?
Second of all, to ramble is to go offtopic. I remained on point during my entire post.
Since it’s impossible to prove the motives of roster decisions without hearing direct testimony from those involved in making said decisions, we have no other choice but to present an opinion and support it. And we each have a right to disagree, as I’ve done with your belief that owners are conspiring to end the careers of players prematurely just to save a few bucks. Since logic doesn’t seem to matter to you, then there’s really no reason to continue the discussion.
Fever Pitch Guy
leftfield – Do you always spread lies to try and discredit those you disagree with? Or is this a first offense for you?
Here’s my proof, where’s yours buddy? Prove that the majority of teams didn’t go with 14 pitchers for much of the season, or even 13 pitchers.
“There were no surprises, as 14 pitchers and 12 positional players officially made the cut for Friday’s opener at Fenway Park.”
Starting pitchers (5): Hyun Jin Ryu, T.J. Zeuch, Steven Matz, Tanner Roark, Ross Stripling
Relief pitchers (9): Jordan Romano, Rafael Dolis, Ryan Borucki, Tyler Chatwood, David Phelps, Julian Merryweather, Tim Mayza, Trent Thornton, Joel Payamps
The roster’s strength is its outfield mix and its priority is pitching depth, with the O’s opting to open the season with a 14-man staff and just three bench players.
C: Mike Zunino (R)
1B: Yoshi Tsutsugo (L)
2B: Brandon Lowe (L)
SS: Willy Adames (R)
3B: Joey Wendle (L)
LF: Randy Arozarena (R)
CF: Kevin Kiermaier (L)
RF: Manuel Margot (R)
DH: Austin Meadows (L)
Bench: C Francisco Mejía (S), UTIL Mike Brosseau (R), 3B/1B Yandy Diaz (R)
Injured List: OF Brett Phillips (L), 1B Ji-Man Choi (L)
Total spots: 12
Fever Pitch Guy
harambe – One person having several accounts is a common problem here, I dealt with that last summer when the same person used multiple accounts to attack and stalk me.
Fever Pitch Guy
leftfield – One more thing, why would MLB plan to institute a 13-pitcher roster limit if 14-pitcher rosters wasn’t prevalent?
Major League Baseball will again limit teams to carrying thirteen pitchers on the active roster when the 2022 season begins. MLB instituted a 13-pitcher limit in February 2020, but the rule has been waived in each of the past two seasons as part of the MLB-MLBPA agreements on COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Interestingly, the 13-pitcher limit may just be the beginning. The league is open to capping the number of hurlers on an active roster at twelve or perhaps eleven further down the line, per Nightengale.
You picked 2 teams on opening day ONLY and that proves something? Hilarious. Try again. The Rays roster had 5 bench players on June 14th. Check the MLB.com boxscore.
Nightengale? That’s funny. Same guy who said Scherzer was already signed by the Padres? Same guy that said Ohtani was going to the Mariners?
I think you forgot that teams have a 26 man roster, not 25. Try again.
Fever Pitch Guy
leftfield – I can see why you chose that handle, very appropriate.
I looked at my team’s division only, and proved your statement that “every team had at least 4 bench players” is 100% wrong.
I proved that FOUR out of the five teams in the division started out with just 3 bench players. Boston, Tampa, Baltimore, Toronto … and yet you counted just two? I see the issue with you, for whatever reason you’re not grasping what you’re reading or you’re simply not reading.
And I never said every team had just 3 bench players for every game of the season. Stuff happens, players get shuffled, what if a team has one or two players with nagging injuries and they don’t want to IL them? The team will send down a couple pitchers and bring up a couple position players for a game or two. That is just one example.
Fever Pitch Guy
leftfield – I don’t follow Nightengale or really any other reporter, but speculation is a lot different than reporting facts. Tony Franco is a fine writer here who wouldn’t report something as fact if it wasn’t.
But just to humor you, here’s confirmation from the official MLB website. You’re really not doing yourself any favors by making completely false statements that are easily disproved with a simple Google search.
There are five parts to the roster limits rule change:
26-man rosters — Teams’ active rosters are being increased from 25 to 26 players for the regular season (through Aug. 31) and during the postseason. Teams are limited to carrying a maximum of 13 pitchers.
Fever Pitch Guy
leftfield – I think you are not the best at simple math, to put it nicely.
3 bench players + 8 position players + 1 DH + 14 pitchers = 26 man roster
Try again to discredit me.
I hope you find something that brings you purpose and satisfaction. No one should live with the demons you are fighting,
Fever Pitch Guy
offseason – Just as I had expected, you’re not man enough to simply admit you’re wrong after falsely accusing me of being wrong. Even after all the time and effort and links I provided to prove it. Instead you choose to insult and then run.
Congrats, your handle is now Muted #4. I don’t tolerate insults and immaturity.
How could you tell it was one person with multiple accounts?
Fever Pitch Guy
rod – I can’t definitively and am not saying left field definitely is an alt account.
I just look at posters as individual handles instead of as individual people because it’s common for confrontational people to utilize multiple accounts, and I notice and remember tendencies that indicate the possibility of an alt account is reasonable.
Um…. you just made a case for having a frail mental state.
@rodcannon and FPG He gave up trying to be subtle about it years ago.
Fever Pitch Guy
pirate – How so? I didn’t mute him because he disagreed with me, I muted him because he resorted to insults and I don’t want to waste any more time reading or responding to someone who doesn’t have a genuine desire for a reasonable conversation.
I have absolutely no problem with people who disagree with me. All I ask is that if I go to the trouble of proving their accusations are false, acknowledge it. Is that too much to ask? But instead of doing so, he just kept right on insulting me and keeping up the false accusation charade. Dealing with him any further would be an absolute waste of time. I proved what he is, there’s no need to continue doing so.
Fever Pitch Guy
harambe – I don’t think I ever noticed or interacted with the guy before, until yesterday. If he’s using a new alt, maybe I did interact with him without knowing it?
He certainly wasted no time coming out swinging at me yesterday.
If hating me is what brings you solace then that is the price I have to pay. I am a woman by the way. Your misogyny is not lost on me.
This is hilarious! Misogynist without any possible way of knowing your allegedly a woman. Maybe we should all start referring to each other as they and them, would that make you happy my guess is nothing would.
Fever said I was not man enough. He (I feel confident referring to him as he) doesn’t have to know my sex. He illustrated a belief that men have an ability to be behave in a way that makes them better or superior. Could I say that Fever is not woman enough to admit that his believes are emotional and he is just post hoc rationalizing his position?
@FPG Not a “new” alt… He didn’t use it for a long time but brought it back when his other alt (Koamalu) got banned. He’s also Pads Fans and websoulsurfer. Possibly others.
Fever Pitch Guy
harambe – Thanks for the background, I appreciate it.
I rarely posted years ago.
Unlike you, even though I’ve never felt the need to reveal my gender before, I am a woman who is intelligent enough to not jump to false conclusions based on assumptions. When a male older than 18 acts like a boy, he is not really a man. I lived with a guy who would hit me on the reg and he refused to work. I told him he’s not man enough to get a job and I told him no real man would hit a woman. You gonna call me a misogynist too. Your just trolling.
What’s happening in MLB is similar to what’s happening in Corporate America. Older, more experienced, more expensive employees are being replaced by younger, less experienced, less expensive employees. Of course money is the key driver in this business tactic. But the secondary reason is the younger employee is almost as valuable from a performance perspective immediately, and in many cases, more valuable than who they replaced within 12-24 months.
Only a fool would pay premium prices for poorer performance. If the MLBPA thinks Owners are fools, they got another thing coming.
I am going to have to side with Fever here. He presents a valid argument though there are some factors left out in his analysis such as the n for each year and at what age the players were drafted. The simplistic statistics used by Sawchick demonstrate nothing except maybe he doesn’t understand statistical analysis.
Why does the n matter? If there is a change in n (number of cases/ sample size), it could reflect a changes that have nothing to do with money. If n had increased, it could reflect some teams trying out a lot of quad A players to see if any stick. I do not know if there was a change in n or not.
At what age the players were drafted matters. Players signed at sixteen and players drafted out of high school are probably different than players drafted out of college in the age they expect to hit the majors. Don’t know one way or the other as I haven’t analyzed it myself or have seen any quality analysis done. What I do know is comparing averages without knowing anything about the samples, the distributions, etc. is meaningless. Fun game to play, but meaningless.
Fever Pitch Guy
Skeptical you’re 100% correct. Later on I posted about how fewer kids are signing out of high school and more are signing with college experience.
I did the research, the numbers are staggering.
Twenty years ago, 40% of the players selected in the first 40 rounds of the draft came straight from high school. It was basically the same percentage throughout all the 1990’s.
These days, it’s more like 23% high school players and 68% from 4-year colleges. I don’t really understand how any writer can do an in-depth analysis related to MLB player ages and not realize or mention the fact that teams are far more interested in drafting older players than high school players. And then to say players are debuting at an older age because of a conspiracy by all the owners?
I mean c’mon, there’s already plenty of reasons to criticize the owners. Nobody needs to concoct imaginary reasons out of thin air.
The median salary in MLB has declined by over 30 percent during the five year term of the last CBA.
That’s because more players are being paid at or near minimum salary.
That is a HUGE drop and it coincides perfectly with a decline in older players.
Average or median? The Average salary dropped 4%.
Correct, and this should concern the players union more than it seems to be.
When the median is down over 30 percent, but the average is down just 4 percent (AND one extra roster spot, the 26th man is almost always one minimum salaried player that could account for most of that 4%). SOMEONE is getting paid and a whole bunch of players are NOT.
Yes, the fact that salaries have not increased should be a concern, but the shift away from veteran players with 3+ years of service should be a much bigger concern.
Why aren’t the players advocating for a salary floor, or for stricter limits on how revenue sharing dollars are spent? How much will they cave on minimum salaries to protect the players at the top of the pay scale. Will they trade off ANY little bit to benefit the vast majority?
What if the owners offered a $1 million minimum salary in exchange for the 50% CBT tax that they’re currently proposing? Poll all the players and see what they say.
This does not mean that players should not be asking for higher salaries overall. MLB revenues have gone from 6.3 billion to 10.7 billion over the last two CBA’s., through 2019. That’s a 63% increase. Players are entitled to their cut. They want a bigger share of revenue, but not revenue sharing.
It is so tired – to refer to everything and anything that a reader doesn’t agree with – or just simply doesn’t include some other/additional POV that’s important to the reader – as “sad”.
It’s a worn-out, passive-aggressive trope.
Fever Pitch Guy
goob – If you’re referring to me, show me other examples where I’ve used the phrase. Because I know for a fact that I rarely use it.
If there’s a better term to use for those who simply throw out a bunch of statistics without delving behind said statistics, I’m all ears.
My goal is to get people to think, rather than just crunch numbers.
Why service time has declined really doesn’t matter. The fact that service time has changed is the point.
When a fundamental aspect of the game’s economics has diminished, such as service time, it is going to be a salient point in negotiations.
Explaining why the game has changed doesn’t change the fact that players average a year less service time than they did in previous CBAs.
Why would players negotiate under the pretense that they still get close to 5 years of service time?
You raise several Excellent Points, “Fever Pitch Guy.” But you & those who’ve jumped in to say that you’re right & the author is wrong are being myopic in your examination of this issue.
The fact that you’re right in your points, does NOT mean the points raised by the author are invalid or incorrect. You BOTH could be & likely are correct.
To assume that the Owners aren’t trying to manipulate service time to their advantage flies in the face of known facts.
After all, look at the number of great young players (like Vlad) who were amazingly deemed MLB ready just hours or days after their team was Guaranteed an Extra Year of Control.
Is anyone out there naive enough to think all those “timely” call ups were mere happenstance?
So, yes, I’m sure the author’s comments about the Owners manipulating service time to their advantage is just as valid as the Very Insightful issues raised by “Fever Pitch Guy.”
Fever Pitch Guy
Mantle – Fair point, but please note I’ve already acknowledged that owners absolutely do manipulate service time by keeping future star players from being promoted at the start of a season.
I simply don’t believe there’s a vast conspiracy where owners are trying to prematurely end the careers of players just to save a few bucks.
I surmise in reading FPG’s analysis that it is plausible position players are suffering from the same reasoning as pitchers. Hitting has changed significantly over the past twenty years where power is not the major component of the prominent TTO offense. Thus it would explain the “prime age” arrival as the power peaks, but also is recognizably lower as one ages, hence the earlier exits. Faster pitches – older, less powerful hitters – worse hitting.
That said, I don’t discount either theory or a combination of FPG’s statistical analysis & the convenience of saving money with booting post-arb players in their 30s.
FPG, I think you did a fine job detailing a sound reason for the statistical consistency through data usage. Certainly got me thinking.
Fever Pitch Guy
Clipper – Thanks, I appreciate the kind words.
The game has simply changed. With the much shorter bench, there’s less of a chance that a one-tool position player will stay on a team’s active roster all year. Guys like Reggie Jefferson (.869 OPS against RHP, couldn’t hit LHP) and Rajai Davis (blazing speed) wouldn’t be given the opportunity to stick around on a team these days like they did back then.
The heavier reliance on multi-position Zobrist-type players is another factor, if you’re not a great one-position player you have less of a chance of sticking around these days than you did years ago when bench players could fill in at just one or two positions.
Also I believe another reason average service time has gone down is because there’s a much larger international pool of players to draw from these days. The presence of Latin and Asian players was not nearly as prevalent more than 20 years ago as it is today.
So naturally teams no longer have to hang onto players as long as they used to years ago, because they are more easily replaceable.
Mendoza Line 215
In any labor negotiation there is a “give and take”.The relatively low salaries of relatively young players do seem unfair.What does the union offer in return?
Expanded playoffs, for one, which are worth at least $100M per season.
It’s funny you say that, because the average team’s annual TV revenue is about 100 also. That’s 2/3 of the $$ players are asking for in their most recent CBA proposal. We’re talking about a few million a team at this point when you factor out the added value from TV and expanded playoffs.
Don’t the players get a share of that? Playoff checks
bigjon, they get a cut of the current playoff money, but I haven’t read anything about what percentage of this potential new money they might get. Here’s the current setup:
“According to the MLB, the pot split up by all the post season teams is called the “players pool” and it is made up of a percentage of tickets sales from each of the playoff series. The pool consists of 50% of the Wild Card gate receipts, 60% of the first three games’ gate receipts of the Division Series, 60% of the first four games of the League Championships, and 60% of the first four games of the World Series’ gate receipts.”
The reason players aren’t paid for more games that it takes to win a series is to prevent the possibility of them throwing games or something similar to extend series to get more money.
That is incorrect. TEAMS get a pool of 30% of ticket sales in the playoffs that is called the players pool. That money is split between players, coaches, trainers, and anyone else the players vote to get a share or partial share.
The players get part of a pool that is paid to the teams for the playoffs. It is 30% of the gate for playoff games. You can find the details in the CBA itself. While the pool is paid to the teams involved, by tradition the players get to vote on who gets a share of that pool. Typically all players, even those that have been traded, get a share or a partial share. Most coaches get a share, as do trainers, and sometimes even groundskeepers and broadcasters.
Fever Pitch Guy
Sorry but you’re both wrong, this has been discussed here not too long ago.
Here’s my link, where’s yours?
“The players’ pool is formed from 50 percent of the gate receipts from the Wild Card Games; 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first three games of the Division Series; 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the League Championship Series; and 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the World Series.
Players from each team vote on how many full or partial shares to award to other club personnel.”
Expanded playoffs to 14 teams is worth between $450 million and $500 million to the owners. Players are not paid for the playoffs. TEAMS get a bonus pool based on 30% of ticket sales that is split between players, coaches and other members of the team.
Ticket sales makes up less than 30% of the revenue for playoff games. TV and sponsorships make up more than 70% of which the players get nothing.
Players already agreed to a 12 team playoff, so they have already made a concession on that point. .
The MLBPA already conceded on FA. That was the largest issue on the table in these negotiations. Now its up to the owners to step up to the table with serious offers that are actual concessions.
Higher minimum wage with no locked in salaries. A Mike Trout or a Juan Soto should get paid more than the worst pre-arbitration player on the roster.
AT least a $100 million pool for the 62% of players that are pre-arbitration. That is $3.33 million per team. Entirely reasonable.
Much higher CBT threshold and one that goes up with inflation or with revenue.
Lower penalties for surpassing the CBT threshold, not the higher penalties the owners have proposed. It is not a salary cap so the penalties must be lower.
Language in the CBA that requires teams to spend 100% of any revenue sharing on 40 man roster player salaries.
Those are the minimums that the MLBPA should require. Anything less is not going to make any difference in increasing player share of the rising MLB revenue.
For Love of the Game
Do you think this could get negotiated before the 2023 season begins so that were only talking about one lost season?
Owners are going to find the cheapest sources of production they possibly can, and that’s with delayed service-time younger players. That trend will not reverse as the owners have the sole power to decide who to call up and when in their careers to call them up, In the past, most teams wanted to bring up the “kids” to excite the fans with home-grown talent. Now, they’ve managed to gull the fans into supporting service time manipulation so they can retain the player cheaply for as long as possible, No CBA change is going to meaningly correct that., particularly in an environment where there are no incentives to compete. Many owners would prefer a cheap replacement level player to a veteran 2 WAR type. Harsh, especially from a fan perspective, but true.
When you have teams that make 4 times the revenue small markets make this has risen happen. Value is in the pre 30’s players and over 30 return on capital investment is way off. The mlbpa continues to go about it all wrong they need to fight for payroll expenses as a percentage of total revenue with min and max (max with penalty going back to small markets). Payroll with grow as mlb grows
Highest 3 teams in revenue are between $600 and 650 million. The lowest three are between $250-285 million.
MLBPA isn’t pushing for payroll as a percentage of revenue because the owners won’t open their books. Even if they did, the accounting is complicated. If a team owns their regional sports network, how do you figure that into the calculation? If it is in the calculation, why wouldn’t teams start playing games with shell companies to obfuscate ownership? There’s already a lot of Hollywood accounting going on as is. They really have no reason to trust that the owners would honestly report revenue.
Look half of the revenue small cap teams comes from revenue sharing and large cap teams many use the luxury tax number not to invest more into payroll but MLBPA keeps fighting for less revenue sharing which will imbalance the league further and not good for competition. The only fair way is make to large cap teams spend more as percentage of income so that small cap teams can play up. You don’t see the large markets struggling what so ever getting new stadiums with a stroke of a pen while competitive small cap teams continue to scrape wishing for a viable long term stadium. They have to figure out a way to get all teams spend fairly on players and that can only be achieved as percentage of income. If they want to keep current structure. I can’t see small market team owners ever signing off on the MLBPA offer. It just puts them back further. The good small teams have to get creative using Shifts, Spin rate, RP openers, international scouting, and more just to compete – they do not have the ability to maintain 30+ year contracts on books. The problem is large cap teams not settling with young players too when they have the resources to blow by the luxury cap every year.
Rays and A’s have been for years taking money out of their teams for stadium in the future while large caps stroke 700mm dollar checks for their stadiums
Maybe the answer is pick 5 large and 5 small market teams for playoffs every season – so we have fair competition for post season. Or continue to grow the brand in large markets only n let the small markets just shrink to death.
I said this for the last two CBAs, the MLBPA needs to focus way more on younger player salaries. If you make them less attractive replacements, you help older players too.
“ If you make them less attractive replacements, you help older players too.”
Excellent point, however, one point of caution: that will only incentivize owners to bring them up even later into their “max” prime, and ship the older out younger, closing that age gap even further, imho.
Owners typically find a way not to lose out as it pertains to money.
The year that the Mets have the best roster in baseball… this happens.. wow can’t make this up
To which imagined future year are you referring?
The one where they sign Freeman, Kershaw, Jansen, and trade Cano, Davis, and Smith for Mike Trout obviously.
And in such a season a frustrated backup 1B Pete Alonso will create the DeltanomicronV6.42 covid-19 variant which makes their $300M payroll squad sick for the rest of the year while Kyler Murray leads the payroll depleted Athletics to a World Series Game 7 loss against Joe Brrrrr’s Cincinnati Red Bengals
Breaking: Only the Mets are negatively impacted by the lockout. It’s completely unfair and will be used as an excuse along with injuries and UFOs if the Mets dissapoint during the later portion of the season.
This Seattle Mariners fan completely understands Metsfan22’s sentiment-
The M’s weren’t ‘supposed to’ win 90g in the 3rd yr of our rebuild last yr. Now that the M’s have decided to add to their young roster the fan base cant wait to see who will join Robbie Ray and Adam Frazier. If any MLB franchise fan can empathize with that Mets fans feelings its an M’s fan!
When you’re the fan of a franchise that has been ridiculed, a team thats best known as the team with the longest playoff drought in American Sports! Just when things start to pick up for us it now looks like the season will be delayed- I completely understand his sentiment.
The Mets will finish 79-83…assuming that they play a full season. Don’t worry though. They will defeat the Astros in the 2049 World Series.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Maybe our G-men will be better by then?
Ducky Buckin Fent
I miss Eli.
Mendoza Line 215
One thing that can be done to eliminate the Kris Bryant situation is to rule that any player called up before the All Star game gets a full year of service time.
Ok. Let’s do that. And in return, the players give up fully guaranteed contracts. Fair trade off
Mendoza Line 215
That would be too much give back.
But I think that any year after three the contract could be optional to the team.
This way no one including the eight large market teams who have won 17 of the last 29 WS would not be saddled with under performing ex superstars.
How many players with long term, guaranteed contracts (5-10 years) really produce throughout the entire length of their contracts? No wonder teams are RE-evaluating those kind of contracts and mega dollars.
It seems production drops off significantly later in their contracts. But, they’re still getting paid premium dollars. You certainly don’t see players giving back money for lack of production.
Most long term contracts provide surplus value for the teams. That is because early in the deal players provide massive surplus value and then at the end the team has to eat a few years where its even or below even.
If the teams were not earning surplus value, they would not continue to sign those deals.
No baseball until Memorial Day
Dutch Vander Linde
The season is going to be canceled. Players are not going to want to start the season in June again.
In nurse follars
Game day tickets on sale now. I usually travel to two or three cities (last year saw games in Houston, Baltimore and Cleveland) but this year I’m not buying tickets, airfare or booking hotels until this is all resolved. So, I may not go much at all. Could drive to DC and Baltimore, closest to North Carolina, but it’s a miserable drive. Maybe Pittsburg.
NC still needs a team. An expansion team in Charlotte/Raleigh would finish ahead of the Mets in year one.
Fever Pitch Guy
nurse – Go with Pittsburgh, it’s a great city with arguably the best park in MLB and some great, safe places to visit around the area.
You don’t want to be walking outside the ballparks in DC and Baltimore after dark, ain’t worth it.
Fever Pitch Guy
Pax – That’s my belief too, opening weekend will be Memorial Day weekend.
The higher the price for a commodity the fewer units will be sold. This is basic economics. The more free agents charge the fewer expensive, free agent ballplayers there will be. Teams are replacing older, expensive players with younger cheaper players. Good for them. There are a fixed number of jobs in MLB. At the end of the day all shortstops are the same. There isn’t millions of dollars worth of difference between one and the next. MLB could field a team of all AAA players and few customers would care. Product quality has been diminishing in many industries for a long time. The DR is providing a steady stream of young, controllable assets to use in building a team.
This is exactly correct. Also of note: MLB is a government recognized monopoly. The imbalance between labor and employers is exactly why unions exist and, particularly in the absence of competition, are the only way for employees to get a fair and equitable slice of the profits from their work.
According to the 1998 Federal law, the anti-trust exemption applies to franchise shifts and not labor.
Max Scherzer, is making more from baseball than most of the owners. Unions were useful when employees were underpaid. That is no longer the case in the US. Only the minor leaguers are abused and the players union refuses to help. Today a unions only purpose is to enrich their leadership which results in jobs going overseas or in the case of baseball to younger, cheaper players.
In nurse follars
It’s really not a union. It’s a cartel. It is more like opec oil producers than the teamsters or the UAW. The players association is trying to set rules of engagement like oil prices and production limits but each player represented ultimately is an independent contractor once arbitration kicks in.
How are most American workers overpaid? In every industry? Come on, man. What does it even mean to be overpaid? Overall, American companies are experiencing record profits. Sure doesn’t sound like employees being “overpaid” is meaningfully eating into how much money investors are making. They’re making more than ever before.
You have no idea whether or not Scherzer is making more than any of the owners because the owners won’t open up their books. Even so, baseball owners treat their franchises as investments, and just based on just the appreciation of the MLB franchises you are wrong. Even if it were true, I don’t understand why it is wrong for Scherzer to make so much money rather than the owners.
Who is being hurt by Scherzer making so much money? It surely isn’t fans. Owners charge admission based on the maximum of what fans will pay, not what the players make. If fans are willing to pay, why wouldn’t owners charge as much as they can? That’s just good business.
Scherzer makes more than the owners? Any owner can sit on their hands and watch their franchise go up in value by tens of millions — often hundreds of millions — each year. When Scherzer won his first act Young in 2013, the Marlins were valued at about $500M. A few years later they sold for $1.2B and are valued at $1B as of a year ago (despite that valuation coming right after the pandemic-shortened season).
Even if Scherzer somehow made as much money off of baseball as any owner in a given year, he’s a generational talent who’s career has about 10 years of big earning potential before he’s too old to cash in on his unique abilities; anyone with a pulse and enough capital to be an owner can sit on their butt and cash in for decades until they croak.
Typo: “Cy Young” not “act Young”
My guess is Scherzer isn’t paying his Mexican housekeeper $10 million per year. What a cheap F&&K he is. He has the money. He should sell his house and his boat to pay his housekeeper.
See, the owner’s net worth or franchise value has no correlation to payroll. In every business payroll becomes a function of the businesses operating income not the owners worth or franchise value. The business will be declared bankrupt long before the owner files for personal bankruptcy. It is a separate legal entity from the owners estate.
Is Scherzer’s housekeeper providing $10 million of value? Owners, MLBPA or not, are making billions in revenue every year. Without players, there are no billions. Without Scherzer’s housekeeper, he’s still making hundreds of millions, right? Owners could field AAA players, but ultimately someone is doing the work that generates them revenue. Why shouldn’t the people doing the work get fairly paid for it?
Payroll is absolutely not based solely upon operating income. See: companies like Amazon who for years had very highly paid employees yet were turning no or negative profits. They were able to do that because the value of the company kept going up. They also, funny enough, paid the employees significantly in equity. The value of the company absolutely figures into how every company pays their employees.
Generally speaking, the price of labor upon the labor market. In baseball in particular, there is no free labor market because the league effectively acts a monopoly. That’s why the players should and do have a strong labor union. And just as an aside, there are no perfectly free labor markets because employers have such an outsized amount of power in negotiating compared to employees.
You can’t seriously suggest that employees are (generally) properly paid in the current U.S. economy. I’m not too worried about MLB players since they average $4.8M annually, but American workers in general are being gouged.
The inequitable distribution of wealth in this country is a disaster.
“At the end of the day all shortstops are the same” Guess you really are an alien, because you make some of the most asinine comments.
I am sure the Dodgers would rather have Mike Freeman at SS than Trea Turner and the Padres would rather have Rengifo at SS instead of Tatis. Truly hilarious.
So what? It’s the same case in all businesses. Unless your a super star performer who is irreplaceable(very few), you can always be replaced with someone who can do an equal job for less money. That’s just good business
bigjonliljon – Which s why—though I lean toward the Union position—I do not feel sorry for the aging players who are now finding less roster spots. I don’t need to name names here, because as baseball fans we know that there are a number of players who are making obscene money for diminished production.
I can’t blame the owners for trying to cut the hangers-on. I DO blame them for squeezing the minor leaguers and the younger players. They are the only ones in this fight that have my sympathy.
I also think the big long-term FA contracts—even if the players are superstars—do more damage to the average player. But these are strange times and strange business decisions that the current set of owners subscribe to.
In nurse follars
This is not surprising. It’s capitalism. The market at work. The top 150 players (roughly 5 per roster) get paid the most because they are the best. The next 150 are decent mlb players who have longer careers and become rich. The bottom 500 or so are interchangeable parts. Why pay Kevin pillar $5 million when you can get the same performance or better for much less. And yes, there are outliers. Some top players are underpaid relative to their performance. That needs to be addressed. But these old players who are hanging on? No sympathy from me. It’s a business. They are all independent contractors and no one owes them a living.
You make great points and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
Its not capitalism because MLB has a government protected monopoly. If a free market was allowed then players would be get a much larger percentage of revenue and owners would have to open their books like they do in every other major sport.
In nurse follars
Maybe but the player’s cartel really isn’t a union now is it? If it were players would be paid union scale and that would invariably drive salaries down. No this is a cartel of independent contractors who negotiate for their own self interest. I’m sure the $35 million $350 million guys are not thinking about Mike ford when they sign their deals. You can argue otherwise all you want but in the end as snell snarked “I want mine”.
Union scale? What? You’re fundamentally confused about what a union is. Unions are just collections of workers that join together to negotiate with their employer. Some unions may have things like union scale, but there is no requirement that all do.
As far as I know, MLB players aren’t independent contractors. They are employees. Employees can’t form a cartel. You’re abusing the term beyond recognition.
In nurse follars
Contracts are signed between the player and the team. These are not employees at will. They are all independent contractors just like the pga and actors. No player is an employee. You think baseball players have workers comp benefits or team provided 401k or pensions? Do they get unemployment benefits?
Actually, they do. Maybe not all of these, but healthcare for certain. In at least some states they would also qualify for unemployment insurance.
If it was a free market, it would invariably drive salaries up.
SAG/AFTRA is a union. Unions don’t set a prevailing wage, they set a minimum wage for members. Employers are free in nearly every CBA to pay employees more. Players absolutely have workers comp benefits and every team pays into the pension plan for players. Yes, they do get unemployment benefits.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
@jim. I’ve worked several union jobs and at ZERO of them was there a disparity of one union member making 66 times the amount of another. Such as the 40 million Scherzer to the rookie just called up. Some made you wait a few years to make top rate but after that the 3 year employee made the same as the 20-40 year employee. MLBPA is more of a mafia than a union.
there is no such thing… Adam smith wrote about a system where the ” Marketplace” rules … except … The MLB isn’t a market place.. its a Monopoly… not everyone can come and ply their wares nor build and play a team in the league… and its Funny that people don’t get that Corporations like all the MLB teams are another government subsidy.. shielding the stock holders from Liability… or that the reason the MLB exists as we know it is because of government subsidized stadiums… what we need is the removal of their Anti-trust exemption… and BTW.. the idea of a market place is really a social construct… a society ( government) protected place where people could ply their wares without fear of the economic wolves stealing from them… imagine the MLB with no special government protection…. or subsidies.. I’d bet that those 30 teams wouldn’t be worth over a Billion dollars each..
In nurse follars
Anyone can start a competitive league if they want to. Nothing is stopping that. In fact there are lots of independent league teams. Any player can play in Montana if they make the team. Nothing keeping them from trying.
Wow. This a NOT capitalism. MLB is literally a government granted monopoly and therefore not subject to the market.
Name some where in the market that you are drafted into the company–meaning you have no choice of where you work.
Name some where in the market that the company that does draft you, retains 6 years of control of you.
Name some where in the market where the place of business is paid for and subsidized/maintained via taxes.
I’m not really following the point some of the sources in this article are trying to make. Comparing the average age of players to the steroid era seems so obviously short sided. Average age of debut is up a year from a decade ago when there was often criticism that organizations would “rush” prospects to the big leagues. Also, shouldn’t teams want to avoid growing pains to allow for the best possible roster on the field? Service time manipulation is subject to a small subset of prospects that is not addressed in any of this data. For the middle class of minor leagues there are already rules allowing players to seek other organizations if they are not allowed opportunities in their current one. Unless there is a claim of collusion, this article seems baseless to me. im pro union but the fight is for more pay earlier in their major league career, not to force teams to field subpar rosters by rushing AAAA players or making sure veterans get 10 years of service.
Wake up boys…… you are losing your audience……..not much sympathy for the owners and players……the last people your crap on are your paying customers
The two moves that solve almost everything:
$200M salary floor for all MLB teams 40 man roster.
$70K a year for anyone who appears in a MiLB game, paid out either split over 12 months if they were in org at end of season, or in a lump sum if signed midseason. All players are eligible for one of these payments a year, no matter how many orgs they belong to.
25 man rosters x 4 MiLB teams = 100 players making $70,000 = $7 million = nothing to a billionaire MLB team owner.
Do those, almost all problems with the game go away. Period.
Every player gets a five year contract with a guaranteed base pay and life long benefits and the rest of the money is pay for performance. Players can’t be traded unless they give permission and players can request to be traded and the team must trade them within one year and the remaining contract is passed to the new team. The pay for performance would obviously be a large pool of money that would be determined by the performance of the team as a whole. After five years, the player decides where to go next if the team accepts them. Then the five year contract resets. Hire a bunch of independent quants to figure it all out. There you go MLB.
When would this start? Would players under current contracts be involved? How would injuries factor in? What happens the next time the CBA comes up.
I’m not saying what you have is not worth looking at, but I do wonder how it would even begin to come together.
I’m not sure of the phase in mechanics. Plus, I’m not sold on continuing the five year deals after the first or maybe second one. Injured players would sadly get low salaries. Or there could be a stipend based on prior performance.
Performance of the team as a whole? Since when is individual performance dependent on how the team does?
A rising tide lifts all boats
Except the Titanic
Except the Titanic
MLB is like a monopoly. I sense that there is an opportunity right now to start a competitor league, like the USFL was for football. In this competitor league, I’d have things like a fixed pay scale for all players on say a 30 man roster between ages 16 and 24 ($1 Mil per player). Players 25 to 33 get $2Mil per year.
Performance incentive is this: a bonus pool that is 25 percent of the gate will be split up amongst the best 10 players or so at the end of the season.
We could lower the mound, or take the mound away, adjust other things to make baseball how it was in 1910 or so, and watch the game catch fire internationally like it did here.
there are many competitor leagues, they just aren’t nearly the same level of quality. exactly the same story as football there’s just overall more money to be had in the market for that sport.
MLB had higher revenue than the NFL.
MLB literally is a government granted monopoly. It was granted an antitrust exemption back in the 1920’s.
Here is a good article on it: https://theweek.com/articles/774406/how-mlb-gamed-way-into-baseball-monopoly
True, but almost nobody understands what antitrust means, so they don’t follow the significance of baseball being absurdly treated by the law as if it isn’t even a business.
The one thing that frustrates me is that the MLBPA already has, by far, the most favorable player rights of all 4 major sports. There is no salary cap and there are no restrictions on the length of deals a player can sign. No other league allows 10 year+ deals. The NHL used to but not any more. Plus MLB contracts are fully guaranteed too and MLB is the only sport that allows opt outs prior to the last year of their contract term (I believe).
Sure, the MLB owners are finding loopholes in the existing agreement to curb spending and protect players for a longer period and they will continue to do so under any new agreement they sign too. It’s called smart business. To me, it seems like the sides are closer to a deal than everyone thinks. If the owners concede on (3) items, the MLBPA should accept their proposal:
1) Increase the player pre-Arb bonus pool to $50M. $100M is too much given the small number of players who will be eligible to receive these bonuses. If MLB increases their current offer from $15M to $50M, the MLBPA would be stupid not to accept that.
2) Increase the league minimum salaries as follows: Year 1 – $650K, Year 2 – $700K, Year 3 – $750K. There is no way the owners are going to agree to a year 1, starting salary of $775K, so the players should accept this fair compromise, especially with the bonus pool mentioned in #1 above.
3) CBT Thresholds – Since there is no salary cap in MLB, increasing the CBT thresholds really doesn’t impact the league as teams can chose how much they want to spend every season and stick to it. I’m sure some of the lower budget teams won’t like seeing the CBT thresholds raised as it could further increase the talent divide between the haves and the have nots, but smartly run organizations like Tampa, Cleveland and even Oakland have figured out how to more with less. It’s on each team/owner to maximize their fan attendance and their television contracts, rather than to wait hat in hand for revenue sharing. Start 2021 with a CBT cap of $220M and increase it $5M per year, so it would end at $240M after this 5?year CBA expires. This seems like a very fair compromise.
I’d also like to see service time addressed where if a player is on the active roster for more than 1/2 the season (82 games), they get a full season credit. This will stop the gamesmanship currently going on with high end prospects as teams can’t afford to keep their best prospects down in AA/AAA for more than 1/2 a season. Let’s face it, the service time issue really only impacts the best prospects in baseball (the Kris Bryant’s of the world). No one is complaining about the 20th round pick not getting called up to start the season even if they have a great spring training. I’m not sure the league needs to make any changes to service time to get a deal signed but it would certainly show significant good faith by the owners should they agree to do this, along with the already agreed to proposal of getting extra draft picks by having young prospects on the roster for a full 162 game season.
Address the 3 issues above and we should have a deal. The lack of common sense in these negotiations is maddening.
The problem is the owners are not trying to meet in the middle in any way they have shown throughout this whole process they are full bent to winning there 3rd straight CBA no matter what, even though the players gave up a lot the lost 2 CBAs and got nothing back in there favor
Removing the clauses in the luxury cap threshold was a huge give. As far as this offer, it’s light years better than what the players had. The players want more, the players are not moving. The owners have moved a lot. . Maybe the players are right not to give, but no one can say the owners are not giving.
@halo What clauses? The owners are demanding increases to the penalties in the CBT from starting at 20% to starting at 50% in order to give up draft pick losses for players with a QO.
The only thing they offered was no draft pick lost for signing a player that has a QO. Superstars sign anyway regardless of draft pick compensation, so that only effects 1-2 players per offseason.
Its fluff while they get a hard cap by increasing the penalties
The owners actually GAIN money from that “proposal”.
I think a more accurate way to frame it would be to say – that the owners are, overall, only willing (so far) to accept a modest/incremental “win” for the players – while the players are, overall, only willing (so far) to accept a fairly large “win”.
These are subjective characterizations, of course, but I think they are, arguably, closer to the truth.
all in the suit that you wear
Good post, Dorothy. I am against increasing the talent divide between the haves and the have nots as you put it. I think that would be bad for baseball. I don’t want to see the same few teams in the World Series every year.
Dorothy – 62.3% of the players are pre-arbitration. That is not a small number of players. $100 million in $3.33 million per team. Considering every team just gt a $70 million increase in revenue from national TV deals, that is an entirely reasonable ask by the MLBPA.
The tiered system the owners proposed also locks in salaries at that level. Its not a minimum anymore. Its an absolute. It would actually save the owners an average of $5 million per team because guys like Trout and Soto that were paid more than the minimum while still pre-arbitration eligible, would now not get salaries commensurate with their performance on the field. It doesn’t go up each year of the CBA. Considering the fact that MLB revenue increased a minimum 30% during the last CBA, minimum salary should jump accordingly. $775k is already a $225k concession by the MLBPA.
The CBT threshold the owners are proposing not only does not keep up with revenue increases, it increases penalties for teams that go over. The previous CBT acted as a defacto cap since teams would not go over in multiple years even though they could clearly afford it based on revenue. $245 million is already a compromise by the players. Their initial proposal was realistic in that it was much higher than the $210 and exactly a 30% increase (same as the MLB revenue increase) from the 2017 CBT threshold.
None of the three numbered things you proposed would be enough. Not close.
The increased CBT penalties offered by the owners are continually glossed over. It’s a very radical ask with no rationality behind it. If you go through all the major player asks there is a clear, logical reason behind each. Owners need to lie to justify their asks of trying to force inflation-adjusted paycuts(in CBT and min salary) on the players despite rising team revenues, “Owning a baseball team is a bad investment, it doesn’t beat the S&P, etc”
It’s very frustrating that so many people approach this as a “meet in the middle” to get a deal done here when the owner’s negotiating strategy has been to propose unserious deals that are so far off what’s palatable. Maybe the players should have done the same. $300 million CBT, not yet drop the FA after 5th year ask, go for arb after a year of service time, etc.
all in the suit that you wear
AnonPlayer5: Thanks for posting. Is there anything the owners have proposed so far that the players like?
This is a very, very qualified statement but it’s good that they’ve accepted the need to remedy the pre-arb situation with the idea of a bonus pool but their proposed contribution along with it is frankly pathetic and a long way from addressing the issue it’s supposed to remedy. And additional small, but very underwhelming changes on a draft lottery+service time manipulation. They understand all of these are issues but are only trying to work 1/10th of the way towards an actual solution to them. What sense does that make? It only makes sense when the negotiating strategy is to squeeze the other side as opposed to a goal of fair agreement.
Unfortunately, it’s also the equivalent of giving $2 with one hand and asking for $6 back with the other where they make these tiny gives and at the same time push for major CBT penalty increases, inflation-adjusted pay cuts in the CBT threshold and min-salary all the while team revenues grow to record levels every year
all in the suit that you wear
Thanks. You seem pretty fair minded.
Dorothy — Have to agree:
“The one thing that frustrates me is that the MLBPA already has, by far, the most favorable player rights of all 4 major sports”
But it’s the minor league players and the youngest MLB players who get screwed.
Fever Pitch Guy
Pete – I certainly agree the minor league players should have a higher minimum salary, but the youngest MLB players getting screwed?
You call a minimum salary of $571K “getting screwed”?
And what about the countless young players who have signed huge guaranteed contracts despite little or no ML service time?
Fernando Tatis Jr – $365M at Age 21 after just 84 games
Wander Franco – $182M at Age 20 after just 104 days in MLB
Bumgarner – $35M at Age 20 after just 1 year 127 days in MLB
Simmons – $58M at Age 24 after just 1 year 125 days in MLB
Albies – $35M at Age 22 after just 1 year 77 days in MLB
Yelich – $49.5M at Age 23 after just 1 year 69 days in MLB
Goldschmidt – $32M at Age 25 after just 1 year 59 days in MLB
Rizzo – $41M at Age 23 after just 1 year 40 days in MLB
Tulowitzki – $134M at Age 23 after just 1 year 33 days in MLB
Braun – $45M at Age 24 after just 1 year 8 days in MLB
Acuna – $100M at Age 21 after just 165 days in MLB
Archer – $25.5M at Age 25 after just 156 days in MLB
DeJong – $26M at Age 24 after just 124 days in MLB.
Tim Anderson – $25M at Age 24 after just 115 days in MLB
Brandon Lowe – $24M at Age 24 after just 58 days in MLB
Salvador Perez – $7M at Age 21 after just 50 days in MLB
Evan Longoria – $17.5M at Age 22 after just 24 days in MLB
Matt Moore – $14M at Age 22 after just 17 days in MLB
And these players got massive contracts despite not playing any MLB games:
Jon Singleton – $10M at Age 22
Scott Kingery – $24M at Age 23
Eloy Jimenez – $43M at Age 22
Evan White – $24M at Age 23
Luis Robert – $50M at Age 22
We can easily count those players. 23. Out of thousands that have come up to the majors in that 15 year time frame.
Part of what you don’t seem to understand is that under what the owners are proposing those players could not sign those deals. They would be locked into those tiers. They could not make one penny more. So its not a minimum they are proposing. Its a maximum as well.
all in the suit that you wear
Good post, Fever. $571K per year sounds like a very good salary to me.
Fever Pitch Guy
Suit – Same here, it’s six times what I make and I’ve worked my way up to the top over many years.
$571K in your first year of employment is ridiculously good.
Fever Pitch Guy
Pads – That’s a partial list, it’s not every player.
I’ve been in a union long ago, and quickly decided one of the things I didn’t like about unions is that everything is based on seniority.
Doesn’t matter if I did a phenomenal job in my first year, or if my coworker did an awful job in her first year, we both got paid a previously determined minimum and maximum amount.
I think that concept stinks.
23 players out of how many 1,000’s over that time frame… they are not the statistical norm.. they are what baseball would call outliers..
yes many prefer the good old boys network where its who you know and who you ..bj… that counts on your paycheck.. if they were paying for quality… then the MLB should be paying by the stat… If your 1st year you light up.. you get paid for being a top player… but the MLB won’t do that… they lock in 6 years of service… 7 when they cheat the players… so they don’t pay for production… surely you can see that..
Fever Pitch Guy
oldguy – Not a complete list, but regardless … wouldn’t you agree that the best players should get the most money?
There’s a ton of players in the minors that don’t really have a snowball’s chance of becoming an everyday ML player, they are just filler to keep the minor league teams playing and to be available for emergency callups like the Red Sox did so many times last year because of their Covid outbreak.
That is pretty much the entire list. Maybe 3-4 more. You were very thorough. The owners are proposing exactly that kind of system where regardless of performance, all new players make a set amount for 3 years.
@dorothy Your basic premise is wrong, so everything you said after that is also incorrect.
In the other 3 major sports players get a certain percentage of the revenue.
In the NFL player salaries are currently 48.8% of total revenue which is more than 10% higher than it is in MLB.
Dorothy- I’m not a fan of the pre arb bonus pool, but the two sides are half way down that path, even if there is a huge gap in the numbers. I think the final number will be on the under side of $50 M, but it’s a poor substitute for moving the arbitration cutoff back from 2.116 (this year’s curoff) to 2.5 seasons, or 2.086. Maybe it’s what the players can get.
The owners won’t go up to $775 K, but a three tiered proposal has some appeal. I think higher than your numbers on this one, based on revenue increasing by 63% over the past 10 years and the minimum not keeping pace, plus new TV contracts, plus a new deal with Nike for jerseys, plus expanded playoffs plus patches on uniforms. The players deserve a more significant cut of revenue and this is where it should go. At least 700K to start, which is about the mid point.
The CBT threshold would be 225 K just being adjusted for inflation.
5 K per year is a 2.2 percent increase. It needs to be more. Even if the terms are based on a COLA or inflation adjustment. Start with that. More importantly, get rid of the draconian tax rates and penalties that MLB is demanding.
Whether the owners drop this proposal could determine how long this lockout continues. The players should never, ever give on this point. It’s about having a salary cap.
Just as the players won’t give on increasing penalties for the CBT, owners won’t budge on service time. No matter how good the idea is, It’s a brick wall. So is the players demand to reduce total revenue sharing (although $50 M from the central revenue fund would have that effect also)
The real pity is that nothing on the table really addresses service time manipulation or teams refusing to spend. Players should be demanding that revenue sharing dollars be spent on salaries- and not minimum salaries.
Part of the problem is that many comment writers are conflating between what they articulate as a right to a baseball position/salary and a more equitable distribution of tons of money.
The reality is that both sides have confounded so many issues there’s no easy answer to this – which is what tends to happen when there’s so much money literally every single action is a chargeable service and every single action is assigned some value. That’s not a judgement, it’s an observation. Neither side wants to be taken advantage of, both sides want more money, and neither is concerned with their stakeholder (fans).
My opinion is that the longer the lockout continues, the more the long-term effects hurt the game (financially, in posterity, etc). Will it recover – yeah. But, throw a pandemic on top of a downturn from a very ugly, unpopular labor dispute and baseball (owners & future players) lose.
Good points, especially about the monetizing of every aspect of baseball. This is one of the major downside effects of analytics that maybe most fans would not have expected, but this is exactly what it was intended to do. This didn’t make a great deal of difference when it was only the budget-conscious teams making data-driven, cost-benefit analysis personnel decisions, but when every team is doing it, the impact is what we should have always expected. Players are getting less and the owners are keeping more. It’s a massive hairball but at least we should understand why the players are making their demands. They’ve been handed the fuzzy end of analytics. Ownership should recognize that they have to give some meaningful ground or they are going to snuff the golden goose.
Players will no longer be paid unless they perform. The umpires will carry cash at all times. Every time a player reaches a base safely then the umpire at that base hands them a $100 bill. There will be a 2x multiplier for runs scored after the first run in each game. They will get the usual $100 for scoring their first run of the game but the second run they score in that game will increase that to $200 and then it will double for every run scored after that in the same game…$400 for the third run, $800 for the fourth run and so on.
Obviously pitchers will have a completely different system since they won’t be batting much if they even bat at all.
New plan. Team owners are only paid if their team wins. If they lose a game, all the money from TV and tickets and even sponsorships goes back to the fans.
My plan is no dumber than yours and both are incredibly stupid.
Did you actually take this post seriously? That’s sad.
Why are you trolling? That is pathetic.
48-team MLB — Can’t they also get toaster ovens, hair dryers and cat-eye clocks, like the banks used to give out?
Strike until the MLB goes bust… Enough is enough…
MLB is already bust. The competition from the NFL, NBA, MLS, NCAA, WWE, concerts and numerous other sports leagues and entertainment opportunities has cut into the dominance of baseball. While these other sporting events are drawing more and more fans, MLB stadiums are getting smaller. Fans have voted with their feet. They aren’t coming and they aren’t watching. The MLBPA business model of more and more each year is unrealistic in a declining market.
MLB had a 30% increase in revenue during the last CBA and its guaranteed to go up for 2022.. The value of teams is skyrocketing. MLB is far from bust. Its a money tree for owners.
In 2019 more people watched a live game than in any year in history.
In 2021, WITH COVID restrictions early in the season, more people attended a baseball game in person than in 1980. I didn’t use 1981 because there was a strike that year. In 2019 over 50% more people attended a baseball game in person than in 1979.
Baseball is alive and well.
You failed to mention in 1980 there were only 26 teams. So, the attendance per team fell over that time. It did not increase. Attendance fell from 20,434 per game to 18,651.
Home values are increasing too. It has nothing to do with baseball the quality of construction or any other controllable feature.
UH? cost of construction?
*yawn* will gladly watch college and minor league baseball.
No you won’t. If you would, you would already be doing it. Considering the attendance at both D1 college and minor league games, you are not going.
Owners continue to be cheap and forget us real fans come to watch the players and not them, I hope at this point the players don’t play this season until they get a deal they want , the owners have won the last 2 CBAs and want to make it a 3rd, us real fans will continue to support the players because they make this sport what it is
I’m a real fan and don’t support the players. When the players own their own business, then they get to call the shots. Until then, realize what they have is really good, better than most sports. They are the employee. The employee will never have the bargaining power that the owners have. Some of you people act like they are playing for poverty wages, which is not close to being the case.
When there is a CBA, owners have to negotiate the terms. They do not get to call the shots.
You may have noticed this thing called the Great Resignation. 4 million people a month are quitting their jobs and finding better jobs and better pay. Labor calls the shots.
If the owners in MLB did not have a government protected monopoly, they would not even be getting the terms they are now.
Alright I see your one of those fake fans that pays to go see the owners , have a good day
Beldar J. Conehead
Kill not the goose that lays the golden eggs, fools!
The average service time has fallen because teams play 40+ players a season and many of those should never have basemen in the major leagues.
It’s a meaningless stat.
It’s pretty obvious that there’s a certain amount of collusion between the leadership of the PA and owners. If they REALLY wanted to solve the service time dilemma, they’d just start the clock with 40-man placement, and not this highly arbitrary “calling the player up”.
Guaranteed minimum should also start with 40-man placement; no more split contracts, which just leads to more and more manipulation.
While they’re add it, the PA should take back their biggest “give back”, allowing teams an extra year to keep players off the 40. It used to be 3 years for a college player; now it’s 4, since two CBAs ago; a tragic error (if it WAS an error) by the PA.
Lots and lots of bed sharing between the PA and ownership. The same as with other unions, a paradigm that’s outlived its utility.
While I generally side with the players, especially in this particular CBA drama, I will say that it’s not the owners responsibility to make the average length of a baseball player’s career longer. It’s just not. That’s solely on the individual player to be good enough that he’s worth having on the roster.
The days when players outlived their actual usefulness is going away, and I for one am happy to see it. MLB is not obligated to overpay for performance if the same level of performance can be had in a younger player, who may grow and become much better than the one they are replacing.
Once again, the only losers here are the fans. We pay both sides bills. WE are the ones suffering, not them. Well, maybe the minor leaguers are too
The real losers are the sportswriters from the old-boy network who believe they’re entitled to baseball because “it’s always been that way”.
Canada didn’t wither and die when the National Hockey League locked out its players’ union for an entire season.
“…we all get a little older.”
You had to remind me!!??
A few players at the top of the pay scale, a whole lot at the bottom, and increasingly few making it to the middle. Overall, downward mobility. So there’s another way baseball resembles America. Let’s hear some more theories about how it’s okay for people to get screwed so long as it’s done scientifically, with finance. Because we haven’t heard that enough already.
Management has no interest in negotiating or compromising, which is why we’re going nowhere fast.
The average length of a MLB career is 3 seasons, which, coincidentally or not, is the same length of pre-arbitration-control years teams hold over players. Teams have been pushing more playing time toward younger, meaning cheaper, players. Add in that the high-revenue teams are treating the luxury tax thresholds as caps that they must regularly retreat under, and that smaller market teams are taking the revenue sharing dollars and constructing their payrolls around it, not particularly caring about attendance. The Rays have turned that into an art form. Ditto the A’s. The Guardians are following.
Let’s begin with a simple solution: Transparency. MLB has an anti-trust exemption and most parks have been built with public financing or tax breaks. It’s not too much to ask for MLB to open their books since they’re receiving government assistance. We know what the players make, but we don’t know MLB’s overall finances. Once everyone’s dealing with the same information, deals will be easier to make. There’s a reason MLB doesn’t open their books. They’d have to cease crying poverty.
This is the natural result of moneyball, which was never about making baseball teams better, but more cost-effective and profitable for ownership. Once analytics was adopted by most if not all of the teams, the inevitable result was declining payroll costs as a share of revenue. In effect the teams have conspired to promote players later and to give them fewer and less lucrative free agency opportunities and shorter careers during which their salaries are artificially capped. They’ve also conspired to agree that spending on the top free agents should be artificially constrained in the name of “competitive balance,” a total smokescreen concept they really care nothing about.
Phenomenal points RobM & BlueSkies. Both of you guys wrote excellent descriptions of how I perceive the trends of MLB.
Uh…..PED testing with suspensions? PEDs added 5 years to careers.
” There’s a reason MLB doesn’t open their books. They’d have to cease crying poverty.”
It is really shocking to me that anyone takes the owners at their word on this. The number of outright lies Manfred told in his press conference last week was mind blowing. He lied so blatantly in his last press conference that the league spokesperson actually had to correct him on some of it after it was over. And of course other lies went uncorrected, such as owning a team is a worse return than investing in the S&P. It’s not even close to being the case and anyone can see that with a quick google search. But Manfred insults the players, media, and fan’s intelligence by saying it anyway.
Manfred is simply bad for baseball. He’s a bad representative, he’s not very eloquent, he’s not convincing, and he’s abrasive even when trying not to be. I’m shocked that he’s their guy; but then again, as long as he keeps saying, “yes,” they really don’t care how he’s perceived.
College baseball is getting ready to start and MILB will be here in less than 2 months. I feel at that level the players put in far more effort. I can live with or without MLB and still enjoy quality baseball.
Hope they don’t play and ruin the sport once and for all, they deserve it
They should just start a new Hawaiian League.
Until the elephant in the room is addressed and somehow resolved nothing is going to be agreed upon. Players want to eliminate service time manipulation and won’t settle til its somehow fixed or they get something more out of it
and the MLB will continue to sign foreign born players on the cheap at 16… which should be outlawed.. until they reach the age of consent… no one should sell their futures.. and many potential players who could have quality careers will choose careers with more longevity denying the game some who may have been the best … and the quality of the game will continue to sag because learning to play the game takes years in the Majors and we are not seeing those years… the average length of time it takes a player to become a MLB quality hitter about 1000 ABs… this has been known for many years.. the amount of time it takes a ML pitcher to be developed is about the same in terms of year pitching at the ML level… 2 years… so if it take the average player 2 years… the slow developing players are being swept aside… and I’d bet a lot of money we would find a lot of ALL Star and even HOF hitters.. who didn’t hit well in their 1st 2 years.. and now we’ll never see those stars shine… because stats are not the future… they tell the past.. they can’t tell you who will have the light turn on and BOOM become the Next HOFer…. This is Why the game is degenerating… it doesn’t understand its future isn’t looking at a few past stats and weeding out players… it letting player blossom… imagine never having seen The Big Unit ( Randy Johnson).. or Big Papi ( AKA David Oritz..)..
I hope people see that most of the complaints of players are valid.
Where is the OUTRAGE? The Super Bowl MVP is WHITE! Both QBs are WHITE! THIS IS AN OUTRAGE.
I just wonder if the average age of the rookies in 2021 had anything to do with the lost minor league season of 2020. Prospects lost a full year of on field development.
Fever Pitch Guy
Cubneck – That’s an excellent point and one with which I agree.
Along the same lines, is it possible players are debuting at an older age because of college? Are there less players getting drafted straight out of high school? Are there more players who refuse to sign after being drafted, and therefore get drafted again later on?
I haven’t done the research on it, but I wouldn’t be surprised as I tend to think college is more of a priority these days than immediately going pro and it gives the players more time to build their value and get drafted higher.
Player careers decline between 2003 and today. Players can’t take PEDs without testing. Correlation? absolutely..
Fever Pitch Guy
SCarton – That’s another great point, twenty years ago it was easier to extend your career by using PED’s.
I SUPPORT THE OWNERS!
PA says “ready to negotiate” then two days later absolute silence with NFL season done and players initially reporting to spring training tomorrow. No good sides on this one just an FU to the fans.
Steve Phillips, The Leadoff Spot this morning said the MLBPA may have been unimpressed with the MLB proposal but MLBPA is “shooting for the moon. They are being unrealistic.
Harold Reynolds, Hot Stove said this morning it’s beyond time for MLBPA to get serious about negotiating a new CBA. MLBPA needs to lock themselves in a room with MLB and Commissioner and not come out until the agreement is finished. Face-to-face meetings need to happen now. Zoom meetings are a waste of time and taking a week between each proposal is not negotiating.
They also said on Hot Stove this segment took 13 minutes to talk about Saturday’s meeting; that’s about how long MLBPA took to exit the meeting and say they were unimpressed.
MLBPA needs to get serious. If not, and the longer it takes to reach an agreement the more they will alienate fans.