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Saturday, October 05, 2019

MLBPA chief Tony Clark calls out owners for announcing intentions to slash payroll

As has become a tradition the last few years: Several MLB owners have publicly announced that they either cannot add payroll in the future or will have to cut back from where they currently stand.

The Houston Astros may not re-sign one of the best pitchers on the planet, while Boston Red Sox owner Tom Werner wants to slash payroll by about $40 million. With teams acting like the competitive balance tax is a hard salary cap — with no matching salary floor — that’s rubbing MLB Players Association union chief Tony Clark the wrong way yet again.

“After another year of declining attendance, it seems odd that several clubs rushed to announce that they plan to sit out the free-agent market before the first pitch of the postseason had even been thrown,” Clark said, via The Athletic.

“The Hot Stove season has traditionally been about ticket sales and fan engagement. Yet several clubs are laying the groundwork for more of the same, even as franchise values skyrocket and central revenues continue to increase. These blanket proclamations send precisely the wrong message to fans, and undermine the competitive landscape that fuels interest in the game from Day 1 of spring training through the final game of the World Series.”

The Tony Clarke who sang “The Entertainer” knew this faster than this Tony Clark- and he hasn’t been with us for almost a half-century!

QLE Posted: October 05, 2019 at 12:01 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dollah dollah bills, y'all, mlbpa, payrolls, tony clark

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   1. Bug Selig Posted: October 05, 2019 at 07:35 AM (#5886741)
That'll teach 'em.
   2. Captain Supporter Posted: October 05, 2019 at 09:52 AM (#5886753)
These blanket proclamations send precisely the wrong message to fans, and undermine the competitive landscape that fuels interest in the game


This notion that spending is good for baseball is union rhetoric which has absolutely no correlation with reality. Pretty much the same 600 players who will begin the year on team rosters next year will be on the rosters whether the teams spend more or less. The only difference will be that their salaries will be somewhat higher or lower. I suppose that some marginal older players might not find jobs because they can be replaced by younger, cheaper players, but that might in fact be be a competitive plus, not a minus. And even those marginal players can elect to work for lower salaries if that is the thing that is keeping teams from signing them.
   3. Bote Man Posted: October 05, 2019 at 12:35 PM (#5886801)
Would Tony prefer that the owners do this quietly?

I suppose that some marginal older players might not find jobs because they can be replaced by younger, cheaper players

Fine, then pay those younger, better players for the value they bring to the team *WHILE THEY ARE YOUNGER AND BETTER* don't wait for them to become older, marginal, expensive veterans.

The system used to be: the teams got the young players for cheap and would pay them for those great years later, when they became free agents. If the teams don't want to pay free agents, then they don't get a free ride during the younger years of the players. The teams have no problem plastering the faces of Juan Soto, Cody Bellinger, et al on public relations campaigns so they must value such players; OK, then pay them what they're worth to you.

But of course the newer owners won't do this since they have huge debt to pay down from buying the team and whatever other ventures they're mired in. Winning baseball games and putting butts in seats are no longer the priorities, gathering up every last red cent occupies at least the first 10 priorities on the list.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 05, 2019 at 01:14 PM (#5886807)
Fine, then pay those younger, better players for the value they bring to the team *WHILE THEY ARE YOUNGER AND BETTER* don't wait for them to become older, marginal, expensive veterans.

The system used to be: the teams got the young players for cheap and would pay them for those great years later, when they became free agents. If the teams don't want to pay free agents, then they don't get a free ride during the younger years of the players. The teams have no problem plastering the faces of Juan Soto, Cody Bellinger, et al on public relations campaigns so they must value such players; OK, then pay them what they're worth to you.

But of course the newer owners won't do this since they have huge debt to pay down from buying the team and whatever other ventures they're mired in. Winning baseball games and putting butts in seats are no longer the priorities, gathering up every last red cent occupies at least the first 10 priorities on the list.


Couldn't have said it better.
   5. Rennie's Tenet Posted: October 05, 2019 at 02:51 PM (#5886831)
There's never been anything to stop players from putting money into a pool, with productive, underpaid ones taking money out, has there? Owners couldn't stop that if they wanted to.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 05, 2019 at 03:19 PM (#5886842)
There's never been anything to stop players from putting money into a pool, with productive, underpaid ones taking money out, has there? Owners couldn't stop that if they wanted to.
I’m sure the owners would be happy to have the players take over some of their responsibility for paying players during their pre-arbitration years. The owners are already making out like bandits for those years, but I doubt they’d miss an opportunity to lower their labor costs.
   7. DL from MN Posted: October 05, 2019 at 03:27 PM (#5886847)
There's never been anything to stop players from putting money into a pool, with productive, underpaid ones taking money out, has there? Owners couldn't stop that if they wanted to.


Pretty sure that describes the MLB pension.
   8. Bote Man Posted: October 05, 2019 at 04:50 PM (#5886875)
Idea: players play merely for The Love of the Game™ while the owners collect all the money.
   9. Captain Supporter Posted: October 05, 2019 at 05:03 PM (#5886883)
Fine, then pay those younger, better players for the value they bring to the team *WHILE THEY ARE YOUNGER AND BETTER* don't wait for them to become older, marginal, expensive veterans.
The system used to be: the teams got the young players for cheap and would pay them for those great years later, when they became free agents. If the teams don't want to pay free agents, then they don't get a free ride during the younger years of the players. The teams have no problem plastering the faces of Juan Soto, Cody Bellinger, et al on public relations campaigns so they must value such players; OK, then pay them what they're worth to you.


The pay system is a collective bargaining issue. The players led by Clark agreed to a system that provided every incentive to use younger players, particularly since there is ample evidence that performance wanes with age. Clark should be focused on this, not on trying to get owners to overpay aging veterans.

But of course the newer owners won't do this since they have huge debt to pay down from buying the team and whatever other ventures they're mired in. Winning baseball games and putting butts in seats are no longer the priorities, gathering up every last red cent occupies at least the first 10 priorities on the list.


The article is talking about teams like the Red Sox and the Astros, not the Marlins. In any case, a cursory look at the history of baseball will tell you that owners have always prioritized money over winning. The thing that has changed is that team valuations have become so high that newer owners are saddled with huge debts that have to be paid down. Unless you can figure out a way to allow owners to acquire teams for less (or to get really, really rich people like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates to buy teams for cash), the focus on cash flow is not going to go away.
   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 05, 2019 at 05:42 PM (#5886895)
#9 I think the causation goes both ways. Team valuations are so high because the owners can get a lot of cheap debt.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: October 05, 2019 at 06:08 PM (#5886905)
Would Tony prefer that the owners do this quietly?

Yes. This is essentially a form of tampering/collusion/sharing info. Every team bidding for an FA now knows they don't have to worry about beating a Red Sox offer. Clark also knows teams do this as sort of a pre-emptive strike against fan pressure over the offseason and it primes the pump for limited spending in future years.

It is of course trivial in impact. Such info would always be leaked and it would quickly become obvious that the Red Sox weren't being major players. But appearances matter and if you don't call the owners on stuff like this then they'll just push the envelope farther.
   12. Bote Man Posted: October 05, 2019 at 07:23 PM (#5886953)
The pay system is a collective bargaining issue.

Which will no doubt be a key issue of contention in the upcoming work stoppage after the current C.B.A. expires.

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