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Suggesting that they should be part of MLB's compensation system is roughly akin to suggesting that hospitals should pay pre-med students. Will some of them be doctors some day? Sure, but they provide zero current value.
Do you mean medical students? If so, then they might provide some current value, accompanying the doctors on rounds, looking pretty and so forth.
The majority of professional baseball players, youngsters toiling in the minor leagues, “are effectively still bound by the old reserve clause”
No doubt several of Rosenheck’s points are imminently debatable,
If youngsters were free to sign with whoever they wanted the Yankees would still need somewhere to stash all their 400 prospects.
That's actually not an accurate summary of my original article. I was saying that pre-arb MLB players are still bound by the old reserve clause, not minor leaguers.
When disparities such as these exist, it is not evidence of a rational or efficient marketplace
If minor leagues were unionized, we'd also see very hastily organized summer leagues in Mexico, the Dominican, etc.
... where labor rights make 1950s MLB seem like the height of worker empowerment.
Presumably I am not best-suited to judge my own simple-mindedness
Efficient is not the same as optimal.
The peak level, superstar players are so rare that they are worth tens of millions to a team, while utility/backup guys are lucky to get $1-2 million. The problem with salary by WAR is that is isn't a linear relationship - a guy who provides 2 WAR of value over a season is not worth 1/2 of a guy who provides 4, but far less as you can find more guys who can provide 2 WAR than you can find who can provide 4 WAR over a season.
But I think you do have to show that a "natural" system would lead to a similarly restricted supply and movement for it to lead to a similar distribution. I would guess that's unlikely.
The average baseball salary on opening day, based on salary studies by the the Associated Press, and the percentage increase or decrease. Figures were obtained by the AP from management and player sources and include salaries and pro-rated shares of signing bonuses. In some cases, parts of salaries that are deferred are discounted to reflect present-day values (x-adjusted for 25-man rosters from $1,073,579 figure for 28-man post-strike rosters).
Year Average Pct. change
2012 $3,440,000 4.1
2011 $3,305,393 0.2
2010 $3,297,828 1.8
2009 $3,240,206 2.7
2008 $3,154,845 7.1
2007 $2,944,556 2.7
2006 $2,866,544 8.9
2005 $2,632,655 5.9
2004 $2,486,609 (-2.7)
2003 $2,555,476 7.2
2002 $2,383,235 5.2
2001 $2,264,403 13.9
2000 $1,998,034 15.6
1999 $1,720,050 19.3
1998 $1,441,406 4.2
1997 $1,383,578 17.6
1996 $1,176,967 9.9
1995-x $1,071,029 (-9.9)
1994 $1,188,679 6.1
1993 $1,120,254 3.3
1992 $1,084,408 21.7
1991 $ 891,188 53.9
1990 $ 578,930 12.9
1989 $ 512,804 N/A
The highest salary is 10 times that but the highest WAR is only 5 times average. $/WAR might be non-linear but I don't think it's that non-linear. And of course the guy with 10 WAR made the minimum salary (well, 5/6 of it really). And $/WAR is only as high as it is because of all the artificial $/WAR bargains among pre-FA players. ... Really all you need to do is graph the distribution of WAR and the distribution of salary on top of each other. I'm guessing there's a bigger peak in the low salary range than there is in the low WAR range and a longer tail in salary than there is in WAR. But I could be wrong.
In an economics sense, optimal just means that you can't make one party better off without making someone else worse offer. It has no connotation of fairness.
I'll buy that. I'm an engineer, and in our use, it is always "Optimal with respect to..."
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