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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Robothal: A-Rod case a window into future labor strife for MLB

You gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the fillies.

While serious [Collective Bargaining Agreement] talks are likely more than two years away, sources say that the union already is preparing for management to pursue an aggressive, ambitious strategy… The players, to be sure, are more vulnerable than in the past — and both sides know it.

The union is under new, less experienced leadership. It seems willing to relent further on drug testing. It also is facing a management team that has set caps on domestic amateurs, international amateurs and the posting fees for Japanese players, gaining control over labor costs in virtually every area but the final frontier — major-league salaries… Now more than ever, they need to fight for due process and protect their rights…

The “injustice” of his suspension, [Alex] Rodriguez said, was “MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review.’‘

Rodriguez’s concerns are extreme. The clubs might seek to convert guaranteed language to non-guaranteed in the contracts of players who are caught using PEDs, but they will never get away with abolishing guaranteed contracts. They also might seek harsher penalties than the current 50-100-lifetime formula for positive tests, but will never get away with lifetime bans for first-time offenders… The point is, there are battles ahead…

The union lost one of its greatest minds when its executive director, Michael Weiner, died of brain cancer on Nov. 21. Weiner’s replacement, Tony Clark, is the first former player to hold the position — a position once occupied by Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr.

Clark could prove a worthy successor — he is extremely intelligent, a natural leader. Kevin McGuiness, newly appointed as the union’s chief operating officer, is a 30-year veteran of the Washington D.C. lobbying scene, a “serious piece of manpower,” according to one player advocate. But few would dispute that the union, without Weiner, will be weaker initially.

Of course, the owners also will be under different leadership by the next round of labor negotiations — Commissioner Bud Selig has said he will retire when his contract expires in January 2015. The promotion of chief operating officer Rob Manfred, the owners’ longtime labor negotiator, might be the best hope for continuing the peace. A commissioner without Manfred’s background might be more inclined to flex his muscles, and what better way to do it than by taking on the union?

A storm is brewing, all right. And while it will have nothing to do with Rodriguez, it will center around two issues with which he is quite familiar.

Drugs. And money.

The District Attorney Posted: January 12, 2014 at 12:08 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: alex rodriguez, ken rosenthal, labor, mlbpa, ped

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   1. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4636863)
I think this concern is overblown.

MLB is making money hand over fist. Owners are not going to risk a work-stoppage to get a cap, or non-guaranteed contracts. They're already paying out the lowest % of revenue to players of any major sport.

The fact is, the rank and file players just don't give two shits about the users. They will continue to agree to harsher penalties, because, as a group, they actually want them.

As long as there is a sufficient burden of proof, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the union bargaining away harsher penalties on proven PED users (including contract voiding), for, say, a $1M minimum salary, or 5 years of team control instead of 6.

The reality is, if the Yankees could void ARod's entire deal, they'd just turn around and spend that money on other players. So, the other players don't care about ARod's loss, b/c it's probably their gain.
   2. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: January 12, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4636867)
But few would dispute that the union, without Weiner, will be weaker initially.


Everything I've ever seen written about Weiner says he was brilliant and a wonderful human being, and I don't dispute any of that. I'm sure he was, and I'm not saying what follows to in any way suggest that he wasn't. But when I look at his tenure as head of the MLBPA, it's pretty much a period during which the players lost ground to the owners constantly and on virtually every front. I'm sure a case could be made that it might have been worse with someone else running the show, but Weiner's tenure was one in which the union was weaker than it had been at any point since Marvin Miller's early days. I'm not so sure that the union will be weaker now than it was with him, especially during his illness, at the helm.
   3. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: January 12, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4636868)
Owners are not going to risk a work-stoppage to get a cap, or non-guaranteed contracts. They're already paying out the lowest % of revenue to players of any major sport.


You're underselling the ideological hatred of workers by certain cliques of ownership.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4636872)
You're underselling the ideological hatred of workers by certain cliques of ownership.

Rich people love money. They're not going to cost themselves hundreds of millions of dollars out of ideological spite. Nor would Selig let them. You also have too many teams with significant debt burdens.
   5. The District Attorney Posted: January 12, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4636880)
Nor would Selig let them.
Selig (probably) won't be the commissioner.

I do agree that the players aren't going to flip out over the ideas that contract cancellations are about to become routine, or that Hank Steinbrenner might put steroids in their beer if their contract turns bad. It does seem like the union is fine with frequent testing, and with tough penalties for failed tests.

They'd be crazy, though, not to have any concerns about the scope and methodology of investigations that go beyond testing. What went on here was beyond the pale.

But, if we buy that Selig was so determined about this because he wanted to "secure his legacy" (and BTW, great job -- surely no one will associate your administration with steroid scandals now...), perhaps the new commish will have no interest in pursuing such investigatons anyway.

It'll be interesting to see how Clark does. I have no clue whether you need an actual lawyer in that position, or whether you can essentially separate that job into one egghead who does the nuts and bolts, and one inspirational leader who rallies the troops. The latter approach does seem to make a lot of sense, but I'm not sure.
   6. fra paolo Posted: January 12, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4636890)
But, if we buy that Selig was so determined about this because he wanted to "secure his legacy" (and BTW, great job -- surely no one will associate your administration with steroid scandals now...)

Excluding any of my other opinions about That Man, he has twice succeeded in turning around a mess of his own making. As a labour hardliner, he must be held heavily responsible for the 1994/5 strike, and the collapse in fan interest that followed. He managed to recover from that early in this century. Similarly, his initial want of concern over PEDs was replaced by a dogged pursuit of a regime where drugs of all kinds (remember, he is a veteran of the Cocaine Shame of the 1980s) are clearly not tolerated, and the message is now as plain as the one a previous commissioner instituted against gambling.

That said, it does seem that Captain Ahab is a very good comp, for someone so keen to avenge past wounds. So, to me, henceforth he is Commissioner Ahab.
   7. Bob Tufts Posted: January 12, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4636891)
When Miller left the union in 1982 (and briefly returned and stayed as consigliere), players had a basic knowledge of how far they had come since the pre-1966 days, Flood, Hunter, Messersmith/McNally and the strikes and lockouts. Institutional memory was high.

Fehr continued this, as he had joined the union as local counsel for Messersmith/McNally.

Once Fehr departed, the approach was that it was time to stop the vicious battles and reliving or fighting past ones. Weiner's relationship with Manfred (who is smart, fair but extremely aggressive in negotiations) coincided with strong revenue growth in MLB - MLBAM, attendance, TV, new ballparks, WBC. When the pie is growing, no one wants to jeopardize the income stream - and the union tacitly agreed to take less via luxury taxes and other Rube Goldberg like minor brakes on payroll.

Will someone like Reinsdorf or Glass try to get one last attempt to right a perceived loss? Possibly, but newer ownership is also unfamiliar with strikes, lockouts, collusion and labor strife. The only way this happens is if management really tries to exploit the drug testing/use rift in the union too hard and re-awakens some vestige of player militancy.

My view? For years the players had a unified front - virtually 100% - on each issue ahead during the CBA negotiations or the pension plan. owners that were successful in other fields of business were more individualistic, opinionated and more fractured, which resulted in player victory after victory for decades.

The steroid era exposed fault lines and it is almost impossible to reach a similar consensus on such a hot button issue. It may take ownership's zealous push regarding ARod's suspension (still looking for 211 days or 162 days in the CBA or JDA) to re-create a position of fear and "union solidarity" from which players can solidify their positions.

To avoid this, the union should have an all members closed door PED meeting as they did during the 1980-81 strike era and begin the pursuit of a position on which a supermajority can concur.
   8. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 12, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4636917)
MLB is making money hand over fist. Owners are not going to risk a work-stoppage to get a cap, or non-guaranteed contracts. They're already paying out the lowest % of revenue to players of any major sport.

The fact is, the rank and file players just don't give two shits about the users. They will continue to agree to harsher penalties, because, as a group, they actually want them.

As long as there is a sufficient burden of proof, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the union bargaining away harsher penalties on proven PED users (including contract voiding), for, say, a $1M minimum salary, or 5 years of team control instead of 6.

The reality is, if the Yankees could void ARod's entire deal, they'd just turn around and spend that money on other players. So, the other players don't care about ARod's loss, b/c it's probably their gain.


Well said.

Everything I've ever seen written about Weiner says he was brilliant and a wonderful human being, and I don't dispute any of that. I'm sure he was, and I'm not saying what follows to in any way suggest that he wasn't. But when I look at his tenure as head of the MLBPA, it's pretty much a period during which the players lost ground to the owners constantly and on virtually every front. I'm sure a case could be made that it might have been worse with someone else running the show, but Weiner's tenure was one in which the union was weaker than it had been at any point since Marvin Miller's early days. I'm not so sure that the union will be weaker now than it was with him, especially during his illness, at the helm.


Agree with this as well. The union essentially never had a loss until the Wiener era, and it seems like the era of civility has been paid for with slower growth in salaries and less individual liberty.

You're underselling the ideological hatred of workers by certain cliques of ownership


Ideological hatred is mostly a hobby for both the disenfranchised and the rich, when it comes time to make a living or a profit ideology is tossed to the curb.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4636919)
To avoid this, the union should have an all members closed door PED meeting as they did during the 1980-81 strike era and begin the pursuit of a position on which a supermajority can concur.

Not saying you're wrong Bob, but, wow, trying to get 900 guys in one room, including a lot of big egos, and reaching that level of consensus. That's a tough row to hoe.

Probably need to start with a smaller, influential, group and spread the consensus.

My view? For years the players had a unified front - virtually 100% - on each issue ahead during the CBA negotiations or the pension plan. owners that were successful in other fields of business were more individualistic, opinionated and more fractured, which resulted in player victory after victory for decades.

The steroid era exposed fault lines and it is almost impossible to reach a similar consensus on such a hot button issue. It may take ownership's zealous push regarding ARod's suspension (still looking for 211 days or 162 days in the CBA or JDA) to re-create a position of fear and "union solidarity" from which players can solidify their positions.


You won't get the militancy until the league goes after someone who is perceived by his peers to be innocent.
   10. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: January 12, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4636925)
Not saying you're wrong Bob, but, wow, trying to get 900 guys in one room, including a lot of big egos, and reaching that level of consensus. That's a tough row to hoe.


That's the size of a TED conference. It's not a massive undertaking. Any major hotel conference space can accommodate.

You won't get the militancy until the league goes after someone who is perceived by his peers to be innocent.


This may be true, but if it is, it's a problem to be addressed with the membership, not something to fester and metastasize. This is the same way of thinking that leads to "if you didn't do anything wrong, you have nothing to hide" which allows universal surveillance states to grow unchecked. This is your classic "when they came for X I did nothing, for I was not X" logic.
   11. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: January 12, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4636927)
Rich people love money. They're not going to cost themselves hundreds of millions of dollars out of ideological spite. Nor would Selig let them. You also have too many teams with significant debt burdens.


No, but they'll cost themselves hundreds of millions if they think it means breaking the union and making billions more later on.
   12. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: January 12, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4636940)
Everyone is a big-mouthed tough guy when he's not the one being investigated by Congress and various federal law enforcement agencies.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4636960)
That's the size of a TED conference. It's not a massive undertaking. Any major hotel conference space can accommodate.


I'm not talking the logistics, I'm talking about getting consensus, much less a super-majority consensus.
   14. bobm Posted: January 12, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4636967)
Tony Clark doesn't seem to view PED testing or discipline as some stalking horse for union busting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/04/sports/baseball/for-the-first-time-a-former-player-tony-clark-will-lead-the-baseball-players-union.html

Clark, 41, said the most important lesson he would take from Weiner was the need to be patient, yet vigilant, in protecting the players’ interests. Lately, some players have expressed public frustration that others have violated the drug policy and then cashed in almost immediately with lucrative contracts. [...] Clark noted that the drug agreement between the players and the owners, which provides for penalties of 50 games for a first positive test, 100 for a second, and a lifetime ban for a third, could be re-evaluated at any time.

“It being a topic of discussion that has resonated for any number of reasons, we find ourselves here at the board meeting taking an opportunity to do just that,” Clark said. “So rest assured on any topic, but particularly the joint drug agreement and every facet contained therein, we will have a discussion and inevitably, the players will decide what direction we want to go.”


http://i.stuff.co.nz/sport/2394376/Baseball-superstar-fails-drugs-test

Baseball superstar fails drugs test [AP]
Last updated 08:57 08/05/2009

"Our game has been run through the mud with a number of difficult accusations and actual situations, such that when you have somebody like Manny find himself in a situation like this it's just disheartening," Tony Clark(notes) of the Arizona Diamondbacks said.


Players want steroid problem solved
By Mel Antonen, USA TODAY
12/9/2004

Tony Clark, who played with the New York Yankees in 2004, said the game's credibility has taken a hit, but he doesn't think there will be long-term damage: "Am I worried? No. I believe that we have extremely talented people that are more than capable of putting quality and integrity on the field."


http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2004-12-09-players-steroids-policy_x.htm#Baseball players and owners forge new steroid agreement to include penalty for first-time offenders

Published: Thursday, January 13, 2005
RONALD BLUM AP Sports Writer

http://lubbockonline.com/stories/011305/upd_075-4497.shtml

Tony Clark, a senior union leader, said public questions about steroid use had caused players to think about a tougher agreement.

"The integrity of our game was beginning to come under fire, and there are too many great players, past and present, that deserve to be celebrated for their ability to play this game at a very high level," the free-agent first baseman said in an e-mail to the AP. "If a stricter drug policy brings that level of appreciation back, we felt that it was worth pursuing."
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4636972)
No, but they'll cost themselves hundreds of millions if they think it means breaking the union and making billions more later on.

Again, they already have the smallest % of revenue being paid to the players of any sport. There just isn't that much to gain from a cap.

Also, there are lots of owners (Wilpon's, Crane in Houston, etc.) that will default on their debt if you miss a season. I'm not sure if the Steinbrenners can service their Stadium debt without a season; they have no other source of wealth beyond the Yankees/YES.

Throw in all the teams that just signed lucrative cable deals (LA, TEX, PHI) and want to see that revenue, the teams already spending very little, plus, the massive pressure from the networks themselves to play. I just don't see the constituency for a super-hardline position.

5 of 6 militant mid-market owners won't be driving the bus for the owners.

   16. Bob Tufts Posted: January 12, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4636973)
Go back and re-read "Lords of the Realm". During strikes and before them, large meetings happened where everyone got their say and the result was that after much back and forth the players had solidified around a specific position that they were willing to defend at all costs.

Executive board meetings of 32 people plus union leadership will not serve the purpose. Some "hardliners" will want to stick with either the "I have nothing to hide" or "absolutist 4th amendment" positions and some for of common ground has to be reached.

For something as nuanced as steroid usage, banned lists and testing, the MLBPA has to educate, be proactive and describe potential issues, strategies and outcomes beforehand to the membership.
   17. McCoy Posted: January 12, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4636980)
Perhaps Bob will have a more accurate memory on this but the MLBPA rarely ever got all union members together in one room. Generally they would work the Spring Training areas which means they would get the Florida people together and then get the Arizona people together. They would also work the players of each team separately to get a feel as to where the players stood. I recall them calling some general meetings but again I believe they were geography based and you'd have a couple hundred people together at one time with others via conference call.
   18. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 12, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4636981)
I fully expect a work stoppage when the current CBA expires. Snapper's points about the money out there are 100% valid but a bigger slice of that money pie is going to be awfully appealing to both sides. Selig for whatever we all think of him seems pretty good at building consensus and getting things done. A scenario where both Manfred and Clark (or whoever are the relevant leaders at that point) try to prove themselves and cut off their nose to spite their face would not surprise me one bit.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4636991)
I fully expect a work stoppage when the current CBA expires.

I'd bet heavily against it. Both sides have to realize the connection between labor peace and the immense revenue growth they've seen over the last 15 years.

Snapper's points about the money out there are 100% valid but a bigger slice of that money pie is going to be awfully appealing to both sides.

When the pie is growing 10-15%+ pa, no one needs to get greedy.

Owner militancy in all the big-4 sports has been triggered by payrolls getting well north of 50% of revenue. IIRC, MLB is around 40%.
   20. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 12, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4636992)
They're not going to cost themselves hundreds of millions of dollars out of ideological spite.

Except that we're talking about a group who have done exactly this more than once in the past.
   21. McCoy Posted: January 12, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4637010)
Well, they did it in the past because they viewed the future gloomily. Baseball ownership during the labor wars was in transition and now it isn't.
   22. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 12, 2014 at 03:45 PM (#4637050)
When the pie is growing 10-15%+ pa, no one needs to get greedy.


Just because they don't need to be greedy doesn't mean they won't be.
   23. Bob Tufts Posted: January 12, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4637052)
McCoy:

Yes, the meetings were regional, but located near enough where a significant number of players could participate. My point is that this is something that can't be handled well via phone or email.

You can have player reps survey their membership and report, but the dynamics of a large gathering and the education process would produce better results and less dissent after the fact.

Funny how MLB is surviving without a hard player or team salary cap.....
   24. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: January 12, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4637071)
Again, they already have the smallest % of revenue being paid to the players of any sport. There just isn't that much to gain from a cap.


Who's talking about a cap? If the MLBPA were to be truly broken the way, say the NFL players' union has been broken, they could start going after things like guaranteed contracts.. especially if they tie it in with the PED issue, where the union is clearly vulnerable. We're not talking about people who got where they are by thinking small. If they decide that they've truly got the union on the run, they'll try to completely break it.
   25. Srul Itza At Home Posted: January 12, 2014 at 04:16 PM (#4637081)
The arguments against the owners fomenting another work stoppage boil down to the belief that they are making so much money they won't be stupid or unreasonably greedy.

I know which way I'm betting.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4637091)
The arguments against the owners fomenting another work stoppage boil down to the belief that they are making so much money they won't be stupid or unreasonably greedy.

I know which way I'm betting.


They've gone almost 20 years with labor peace. Why would they change their approach now, while the money is rolling in more than ever?

Who's talking about a cap? If the MLBPA were to be truly broken the way, say the NFL players' union has been broken, they could start going after things like guaranteed contracts.. especially if they tie it in with the PED issue, where the union is clearly vulnerable. We're not talking about people who got where they are by thinking small. If they decide that they've truly got the union on the run, they'll try to completely break it.

Not a chance in hell. The NFLPA was a neutered rump of a union since the 1990's. Breaking that union was a Sunday stroll in the park for the NFL.

You guys act like the owners are some Simon Legree caricatures of 19th century robber-barons. "Breaking the union" has no particular value to these guys. They care about making money. The last 20 years show they can make obscene amounts of money through labor peace.

Shutting down a season and costing themselves $7B in revenue immediately, plus probably a 20-30% revenue reduction for the next 10 years, so they can move the players' share of revenue from 42% to 35% just doesn't make any sense.

The revenue loss from a missed season would be so large, that the owners would have to drive salaries 50%+ to break even. It ain't happening.
   27. JRVJ Posted: January 12, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4637098)
I strongly disagree with this column and its supporters.

The problem that I've always had with unions (and their supporters) who complain about their rights (or benefits or sinecures - "conquistas", in Panamanian Spanish), is that they seem to think that what has been achieved by the union is intrinsicately great and / or that it is the beginning of the end to forego those rights (*)

In this case, it is pretty clear that MLBPA 2014 is not very aggressive in defending players in re: PED convictions. There's solid anecdotical evidence that MLBPA's MEMBERS prefer to have roiders sanctioned than defending abstract (though very real) rights to which they are entitled.

IF and when actual non-PED carve outs occur, then this column makes sense. Until then, I think this is a case of Rosenthal putting his preferences ahead of the facts (Joe Sheehan, who I follow religiously, frequently fall down the same rabbit hole).

(*) There's two very well-known cases here in Panama of unions basically running the employer to the ground due to their intransigence. The most famous one is the Chiriqui 1998 strike against Chiquita Banana. Chiquita were certainly no angels, but the union ticked them off so much with an insane multi-month strike that Chiquita uprooted and left that once very profitable division (Chiquita's Panama operations were divided into a Bocas del Toro or Caribbean division - Bocas is where Fernando Seguignol and Orlando Miller hail from and a Chiriquí division, which is where Carlos Ruiz is from).

That area of Panama has been severely economically depressed since then, though that's neither for here nor there.
   28. McCoy Posted: January 12, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4637134)
I don't think you want to use Chiquita Banana as proof of anything against labor and saying something like "Chiquita were certainly no angels" way oversimplifies just how terrible Chiquita is/was.
   29. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 12, 2014 at 05:00 PM (#4637146)
They've gone almost 20 years with labor peace. Why would they change their approach now, while the money is rolling in more than ever?


I agree with Snapper on this one. This isn't the NHL where teams were truly losing money and in dire financial straits. The worst-off teams in MLB are still very healthy financially, even the Wilpons are holding on despite a string of bad teams and severe financial issues. I don't see them doing something crazy and forcing a labor stoppage, there's nothing important enough for them on the line right now and there's too much of a chance of great resistance by the players. The NHL locked out its players because it needed to, the NFL locked out its players because it knew it would win. Neither of these applies to MLB at this point.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4637176)
The guaranteed contracts thing is not a big deal. There is no real difference between NFL and MLB contracts, it's just a difference of deferred vs. upfront payments. And how they are reported in the press.

Drew Brees signed a "5-year" "$100 M" contract with the Saints a couple years back. This included $60 M guaranteed (although another story suggests the guaranteed portion was $50 M). Of that $60 M, $37 M was an upfront signing bonus. I repeat, he got 60% of his guaranteed money upfront. His first year "salary" was just $3 M, followed by guaranteed salaries of $10 and $11 M (it's the last year where the stories seem to differ) followed by two option years at about $20 M. I'm sure nobody expects the Saints to exercise those options.

In MLB, that would be reported as a 3/$60 contract with 2/$40 in options. Except in MLB you never see $37 M signing bonuses. I'll let somebody else figure out the NPVs but I'm guessing that in MLB that becomes 4/$80 with a 1/$20 option, no signing bonus.

To my knowledge there is nothing stopping MLB teams from offering NFL style contracts except at the 1-year veteran contract level. You would just see contracts being front-loaded. Instead of 10/240 guaranteed, paid out in roughly equal installments, the Ms sign Cano for 10/240 with a $150 M signing bonus paid out over 5 years, 3-5 guaranteed years at $6 M per and 5/$90 in options. Cano gets $180 M in his first 5 years rather than $120 ... or whatever the necessary NPV is to offset the fact that he probably ain't getting the 5/$90.

We talk all the time about how teams offer extra years at the end rather than a higher AAV. In the NFL, you offer higher AAV rather than the guaranteed extra years -- in the NFL the signing bonus gets pro-rated out over the 5 years rather than the 3 guaranteed ones so there are cap advantages. In MLB, I assume it would be pro-rated only over the guaranteed years so deferred payments are preferred. The Ms don't want Cano treated like a 5/$180 player for lux tax purposes and they don't want to pay out all that money upfront -- so he becomes 10/$240.
   31. zack Posted: January 12, 2014 at 06:35 PM (#4637220)
The NHL locked out its players because it needed to, the NFL locked out its players because it knew it would win. Neither of these applies to MLB at this point.


The first time, maybe! The most recent lockout was pure greed.
   32. McCoy Posted: January 12, 2014 at 07:08 PM (#4637255)
The guaranteed contracts thing is not a big deal. There is no real difference between NFL and MLB contracts, it's just a difference of deferred vs. upfront payments. And how they are reported in the press.

Actually there is a big difference between the two and your Drew Brees signing highlights the difference. Nobody in baseball would be able to sign an ace pitcher to a 3 year deal unless they were throwing something like 30 to 40 million at the player a year. The NFL doesn't have to hand out as long of contracts as the MLB and they are able to restrict the movement of players much more effectively than MLB. In order for the Saints to not have Brees they basically have to decide to not sign him. In baseball the only way you keep your ace is buying signing him for a ton of years when he is still on the clock and then outbidding everyone else for his services when he hits free agency.
   33. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 11:11 PM (#4637511)
The fact is, the rank and file players just don't give two shits about the users. They will continue to agree to harsher penalties, because, as a group, they actually want them.

As long as there is a sufficient burden of proof, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the union bargaining away harsher penalties on proven PED users (including contract voiding), for, say, a $1M minimum salary, or 5 years of team control instead of 6.

The reality is, if the Yankees could void ARod's entire deal, they'd just turn around and spend that money on other players. So, the other players don't care about ARod's loss, b/c it's probably their gain.


And then they came for me.
   34. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 11:12 PM (#4637513)
Everything I've ever seen written about Weiner says he was brilliant and a wonderful human being, and I don't dispute any of that. I'm sure he was, and I'm not saying what follows to in any way suggest that he wasn't. But when I look at his tenure as head of the MLBPA, it's pretty much a period during which the players lost ground to the owners constantly and on virtually every front. I'm sure a case could be made that it might have been worse with someone else running the show, but Weiner's tenure was one in which the union was weaker than it had been at any point since Marvin Miller's early days. I'm not so sure that the union will be weaker now than it was with him, especially during his illness, at the helm.


Wiener by all accounts was a good man, but, sadly, the above is true.
   35. Squash Posted: January 12, 2014 at 11:56 PM (#4637526)
The NFL is also a fundamentally different situation given the nature of the game. Because so many players have such limited windows age-wise to be effective, they really don't have much in the way of teeth when it comes to threatening a work stoppage. While these guys are healthy enough and young enough they have to get theirs - different situation than in baseball for the most part.
   36. base ball chick Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:05 AM (#4637554)
snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 12, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4636972)

No, but they'll cost themselves hundreds of millions if they think it means breaking the union and making billions more later on.

Again, they already have the smallest % of revenue being paid to the players of any sport. There just isn't that much to gain from a cap.


= then why wouldn't they want to keep even more?

they want to go to non-guaranteed contracts they can cut any ol time they want to. the NFL can cut anyone any time and not have to pay them. the fans LIKE this.

you agree to give up your own very important freedoms to get someone you don't like, you will be sorry.

you drug haters are fools to think that if the union agrees to cancel contracts if someone has a "non-analytical positive" on testimony from various drug dealing pieces of shtt whose "testimony" is bought and paid for by MLB, that MLB won't immediately and happily frame any9one they want gone due to poor performance, personality of just wanting someone cheaper and/or better. too damm easy to slip a long acting steroid into someone's bath oil - it absolrbs through the skin. or put it in his food. or any toiletry. he's gone, boom - reputation ruined and no one will believe that he was framed. (well, except for andy pettitte because That Evulllll Roger Clemens forced him to shoot drugs)
   37. bobm Posted: January 13, 2014 at 08:08 AM (#4637581)
too damm easy to slip a long acting steroid into someone's bath oil - it absolrbs through the skin. or put it in his food. or any toiletry

Or fire a micro-engineered pellet containing PEDs into a player's leg while he waits for the team bus via a pneumatic T-shirt launcher wielded by someone wearing the opposing team's mascot suit. :-)
   38. eddieot Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4637633)
But when I look at his tenure as head of the MLBPA, it's pretty much a period during which the players lost ground to the owners constantly and on virtually every front. I'm sure a case could be made that it might have been worse with someone else running the show, but Weiner's tenure was one in which the union was weaker than it had been at any point since Marvin Miller's early days. I'm not so sure that the union will be weaker now than it was with him, especially during his illness, at the helm.

Besides the PED issue, which really is a loser on its face, where else was ground lost? Average salaries continued to rise, more playoff revenue was created and earned, the players made huge gains in things like health insurance, pension and life insurance benefits in the new CBA, a higher arbitration ceiling and the end of the stupid rating system freed up the market for mid-tier free agents, more Super Twos. The players made gains where it really counted, in the wallet and in life-long security.

I guess you could argue that the changes in draft rules and international spending hurt some amateur players but the PA doesn't represent them. If you are talented enough to make it to MLB, you are more financially set than at any time ever.
   39. FrankM Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4637649)
Completely agree with #38.

I believe the players feel, in all probability correctly, that the caps on draft and international bonuses create savings that will be spent on major league players instead.

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