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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Baseball’s top salaries are declining, as evidenced by smaller qualifying offer

Last offseason was marred by a lack of spending and perceived interest in several of the sport’s biggest stars.

Even beyond the fact that teams weren’t pursuing once-in-a-generation stars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the league’s biggest spenders like the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees were actively trying to get under the competitive balance tax rather than improve their team to win a title.

Now the fruits of the ownerships’ labor to suppress salaries is truly showing, as The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reported on Friday that the qualifying offer will drop — from $17.9 million to $17.8 million — for the first time in its eight years of existence.

Exhibit #591-B in the ongoing trend.

 

QLE Posted: October 12, 2019 at 12:00 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dollah dollah bills, y'all, qualifying offers, salaries

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   1. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: October 12, 2019 at 08:33 AM (#5889694)
once-in-a-generation stars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado


Pedantry is sort of our specialty here, so maybe this is a silly criticism. But really, didn't the author see what's wrong with this?
   2. Jack Sommers Posted: October 12, 2019 at 10:35 AM (#5889700)
It jumps next year

A lot of guys that are on big money deals had much lower salary this year than 2020

Example:

Harper: 11M in 2019, 27M in 2020
Machado: 12M in 2019, 32M in 2020
Arenado: 26M in 2019, 35M in 2020
Goldschmidt: 14M in 2019, 26M in 2020
Corbin: 13M in 2019, 19M in 2020

I think it’s a one year blip. that's 63M right there, divided by 125 =. .5 Million added to the average

A few guys that will fall out of the top 10-15 and be replaced by new deals for some big names this off season.

That avg salary will be up over 18M next year.

   3. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 12, 2019 at 10:58 AM (#5889702)
Pedantry is sort of our specialty here, so maybe this is a silly criticism. But really, didn't the author see what's wrong with this?


The conflict only comes if you put Harper and Machado in the same category ("ballplayer"). Another way of looking at it is that Harper is a once-in-a-generation outfielder and Machado is a once-in-a-generation 3B. Then they can coexist with no contradiction.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: October 12, 2019 at 11:10 AM (#5889703)
yes, if it were true.
:)
   5. Itchy Row Posted: October 12, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5889742)
I prefer the outfielders of Mike Trout’s generation.
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 12, 2019 at 02:18 PM (#5889743)
once-in-a-generation stars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado
Starting up with this again, eh? The "once-in-a-generation" stars who ranked 59th and 112th, respectively, in WAR in the first years of their massive new contracts?
   7. tshipman Posted: October 12, 2019 at 06:22 PM (#5889866)
I think the union needs to push for the next labor deal to be a percentage of baseball-related income, similar to basketball and football.

For years, MLBPA was able to defy gravity by just allowing owners to do stupid stuff, but that strategy clearly has an expiration date.
   8. bbmck Posted: October 12, 2019 at 07:54 PM (#5889918)
The 5 year generation born 1990-1994:

C: Salvador Perez, J.T. Realmuto
2B: Jose Altuve, Anthony Rendon (170 games at 2B and 3B is crowded)
3B: Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado
SS: Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa

1B/DH: Jose Ramirez, Kris Bryant (to get their bats, they can probably handle the position)
LF: Christian Yelich, Yasiel Puig
RF: Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper
CF: Mike Trout, Kevin Kiermaier

Alternates: Alex Bregman, Marcus Semien, Xander Bogaerts, Jean Segura, Marcell Ozuna, Ender Inciarte, Aaron Judge, Matt Chapman, Starlin Castro, Corey Seager and Trevor Story are the players ahead of 27th JT Realmuto in position player WAR the lowest listed above at 17.6. Trout and Altuve are the only ones with a strong claim to best of a five year generation at their position, let alone a 20 year generation that could pit Harper against Vlad and Ichiro and Machado against Beltre and Rolen.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: October 12, 2019 at 08:56 PM (#5889940)
I think it’s a one year blip. that's 63M right there, divided by 125 =. .5 Million added to the average

I'm not sure that's how it works -- not sure it's not either, couldn't find anything that said how that average is calculated. I would have assumed it was based on lux tax AAV numbers, not actual annual salary (otherwise signing bonuses are ignored and deferment structures have unintended effects** in QO calculations and I don't see why the MLBPA would agree to that). But like I said, I can't find that clarified anywhere.

But ... those jumps would presumably be balanced by both expiring contracts and new star FA contracts that have "low" first year salaries. Total payroll*** has gone down the last two years so it's no surprise there hasn't been any real growth in the top quarter. It might very well go up next year but probably not by much. Trout signing his bargain extension isn't going to help.

** For example Strasburg's "salary" this year was $35 M plus he was paid his $10 M signing bonus this year. Or in your terms, Strasburg's salary jumped from $15 to $35 (+$10?) this year. Scherzer's "salary" also went up from $15 to $35 (+ $15 M in signing bonus) -- those "jumps" weren't enough to push up the QO this year.

*** Not entirely sure how this is calculated either.
   10. bbmck Posted: October 12, 2019 at 11:48 PM (#5890035)
https://www.espn.co.uk/mlb/story/_/id/27823266/mlb-free-agent-qualifying-offer-price-drops-first

In addition, large signing bonuses in the contracts of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Mike Trout had an impact on the drop, because the signing bonuses are prorated over the length of the contract rather than the year they were received. The trio had relatively low 2019 salaries, and if their 2020 salaries had been included instead, the qualifying offer figure would have risen to $18.3 million.

Harper's salary increases from $10 million this year to $26 million in 2020, Machado's from $10 million to $30 million and Trout's from $16 million to $36 million.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: October 13, 2019 at 03:56 AM (#5890048)
Thanks bbmck. Still, as I noted, both Strasburg and Scherzer got $20 M raises this year that would have been included. If he doesn't opt out, then Strasburg is down $10 M then another $10 M after that if he still stays. You can't "credit" Harper et al to what it "would have been" without also debiting out the folks who had big raises due just to contract structure.
   12. bobm Posted: October 13, 2019 at 11:05 AM (#5890070)
The mean of Baseball’s top 125 salaries is are declining, as evidenced by smaller qualifying offer


Fixed
   13. Baldrick Posted: October 13, 2019 at 11:29 AM (#5890074)
The conflict only comes if you put Harper and Machado in the same category ("ballplayer"). Another way of looking at it is that Harper is a once-in-a-generation outfielder and Machado is a once-in-a-generation 3B. Then they can coexist with no contradiction.

Harper is a one-in-a-generation Bryce, while Machado is a once-in-a-generation Manny.
   14. bobm Posted: October 13, 2019 at 11:36 AM (#5890075)
MLB CBA Attachment 45

Addendum A

Calculation of Player Salary

General Rule

Player Salary = Base Salary + Pro-rated Signing Bonus + Pro-rated Buyout on First Club or Mutual Option Year + Earned Bonuses (as of conclusion of championship season).

Base Salary

The base salary shall be as stated in the contract for the year at issue (or at the increased base salary figure if an escalator provision had been triggered).

Pro-rated Signing Bonus

Any signing bonus included in a Uniform Player’s Contract (and any other payment determined to be the equivalent of a signing bonus) shall be attributed, pro rata, over the guaranteed years of the Contract. If a Contract contains no guaranteed years, the signing bonus shall be attributed in full to the first year of the Contract. No portion of the signing bonus shall be attributed to any option year. If a Player’s Contract is assigned to another Club, the pro-rated portion of the signing bonus will continue to be included in the Player’s Salary.

Pro-rated Buyout for First Club or Mutual Option Year

The buyout associated with the first Club or Mutual Option Year shall be attributed, pro rata, over the guaranteed years of the Contract. If a Contract contains no guaranteed years, the buyout shall be attributed in full to the first year of the Contract. No portion of the buyout shall be attributed to any option year. If the Player’s Contract is assigned to another Club, the pro-rated portion of the buyout will continue to be included in the Player’s Salary.

If the first Club or Mutual option is exercised, and no buyout is paid by the Club, the full amount of the buyout will be deducted from the base salary of the option year when calculating the Player’s Salary for the option year pursuant to paragraph 2 of the letter agreement. For multiyear contracts that began prior to 2012, only the portion of the buyout that was attributed, pro rata over contract years beginning in 2012 will be deducted from the base salary of the option year.

Extensions

If a Club and Player agree to extend a contract prior to its expiration, any buyout associated with the first Club or Mutual Option year or signing bonus under the new Contract shall be attributed pro rata over the guaranteed years of the new Contract that were not guaranteed years under the prior Contract.

Earned Bonuses

Performance, award, assignment, and other bonuses earned for performing or otherwise providing services under a contract shall be included in a Player’s Salary if those bonuses were earned as of the conclusion of the championship season.

Deferred Compensation

If a Uniform Player’s Contract contains compensation that is payable beyond the guaranteed term of the Contract, such compensation shall be considered “deferred compensation”. All deferred compensation shall be included in a Player’s Salary in the year in which it is earned at an amount equal to the discounted present value of such deferred amount. (Salary that is earned in one year of a contract but paid in a later year of the contract, on the other hand, shall not be considered deferred compensation. Such compensation shall be included in a Player’s Salary at its stated value in the year in which it is earned.) Deferred base salary shall be discounted back to June 30 of the season in which it is earned; a deferred signing bonus shall be discounted back to the date the contract is signed; and a deferred performance, award and other bonus shall be discounted back to the date the bonuses were earned. The deferred compensation shall be discounted using the Article XV(K) rate from the November 1 preceding the season in which the compensation was earned. For discounting purposes, interest shall be compounded on an annual basis.
   15. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 13, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5890077)
The conflict only comes if you put Harper and Machado in the same category ("ballplayer"). Another way of looking at it is that Harper is a once-in-a-generation outfielder and Machado is a once-in-a-generation 3B. Then they can coexist with no contradiction.


That would be true only if Harper were a once in a generation outfielder. But there are several direct age contemporaries who are better. Trout is 1 year older. Betts is the same age. By WAR, Yelich is just as good, and he's but 1 year older.

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