How Many Hundreds of Millions are Enough for MLB Players and Owners?
How much is too much? How long is too long? Are analytics killing the era of elite Free Agency in Baseball? All good questions and all questions that Major League Baseball and the game's best players are going to have to answer a lot sooner than they thought they would.
Why? Blame Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Or better yet blame the Scott Boras effect. Or even better, advanced analytics that show how players performance erodes as they age.
Heck, you could easily blame the owner of the Los Angeles Angels and Albert Pujols who arguably began the era of questioning "Lifetime" deals.
You'll recall Pujols got a 10-year, $210 million deal (w/$30 million deferred) back in 2012...at the age of 32.
Pujols had put up astronomical numbers, won 3-MVP awards and helped lead the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series in the late 2000's and early 2010's.
His production hasn't come close since.
While he may have been the one of the first to fail with a "Mega-Contract", he's not entirely the root of the issue.
You can also blame advanced analytics that show the decline of a baseball players production as they approach their mid to late 30's.
Mind you neither Machado or Harper are at that point in their respective careers, they're both 26 and in the prime productive years of their careers. Both are talented enough to be the best player on whatever team they end up playing for.
But are they worth the 10-year, 9-figure contracts their agents are holding them out for?
Mind you, it's not that either player haven't gotten ANY offer, it's the offers they got, weren't what the agents were looking for.
And that's the point of contention here.
Players have been whining all winter about the reluctance of MLB Owners, sitting on tons and tons of revenue, to fork over that money to players.
The team owners have not helped. Baseball has a luxury tax that only a few teams are approaching.
The Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees all are either over or near that threshold and possibly paying more money as a penalty for going over it.
Commissioner Rob Manfred says the idea of teams having to spend money to win a World Series is a myth.
Baseball for all of its warts is not the NBA. Though arguably MLB is heading in that direction as there are maybe a dozen or so teams who can seriously contend for a Playoff or World Series berth.
Wheras the NBA, where most teams make the playoffs, has maybe four who can legitimately be considered Championship Caliber.
Both leagues are saddled with teams tanking to rebuild, something that is difficult to sell to fans. Some dot it successfully--at least in baseball. Some don't.
A good baseball example would be the Atlanta Braves who essentially gutted their roster in 2014 and rebuilt from the ground up. The Braves are still a franchise unwilling to spend big bucks, but their young roster surprised the baseball world by winning the National League East in 2018, getting to the playoffs.
No, I don't defend owners trying to save more millions just to improve their profit margins, it's an inherent flaw in the Capatlistic economic system in which we live. Though I also can't fault someone for not wanting to spend hundreds of millions for someone who may not be worth it by the time the end of the contract happens.
For generations, Professional Sports ownership has been its own worst enemy, saying they want to not overspend on players yet doing exactly that.
Maybe this is just a market correction, maybe its collusion to keep more money in the pocket---who knows. And honestly---who cares.....
I for one don't have any sympathy for people arguing over 9-figure contracts or 9-figure profits. It's a different world.
For the life of me, I've never totally understood the idea of whining about how many Millions of dollars are enough. It's not like any of these people are going to be forced to live on the salary you and I make at our jobs.
What's the difference between $15 million a year and $20 million a year? Is it going to impact someone's life so badly that they'll have to go to McDonalds instead of The Capital Grille? Is it the difference between 1 Ferrari and 5 Ferrari's? Please explain why anyone should be outraged by that. I really want to know.