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Monday, January 22, 2018

The MLBPA Is Failing Its Players

The MLBPA has been selling out amateurs and minor leaguers for decades. The acts were incredibly short-sighted. It shouldn’t be shocking that smart front offices want to build using cheap young players instead of more expensive veterans.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2018 at 07:45 PM | 70 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mlbpa

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   1. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: January 22, 2018 at 08:29 PM (#5611375)
conventional wisdom holds that a player reaches his peak at age 27. The average age of a player who made his MLB debut last year was 24.6, which has stayed more or less steady over the past decade. This means that many players won’t hit free agency for the first time until they’ve already played out several of their prime years for relatively cheap.
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: January 22, 2018 at 09:25 PM (#5611412)
It's incredibly short sighted to suggest that it makes sense to alienate the fans by creating a hostile environment between the owners and the players in which it's millionaires fighting billionaires.... the money that pays for those millionaires just might go someplace else.

Could the mlbpa do a better job of focusing on the lower tiered players, sure, but for the most part we are talking about the margins. I mean mlb gives out scholarships for life, free health care and a fairly easy pension plan... this isn't the NFL which treats it's employees like garbage(and pretty much proves the stupidity of a salary cap type of system)
   3. . . . . . . . . . . Posted: January 22, 2018 at 09:34 PM (#5611417)
the money that pays for those millionaires just might go someplace else.

it wont

in which it's millionaires fighting billionaires

most professional baseball players aren't millionaires, and given that most of them are retiring in their early 30s with few (if any professional skills), they better make a few million if they don't want to end up like the sad sack bartender player in The Boys of Summer. God knows what happens to the guys who top out at AAA or even make the minimum for a season or two, then are out of baseball at 30 with no cash and no marketable skills.

It's incredibly short sighted to suggest that it makes sense to alienate the fans


its actually short sighted to get bluffed by the owners into selling the farm because you might 'alienate the fans'. That hurts the owners pockets' as much as the players.

the most part we are talking about the margins. I mean mlb gives out scholarships for life, free health care and a fairly easy pension plan

oh yeah, the retired median players are ROLLING IN IT.

Never change, cardsfanboy. You remain as clueless as the day you started posting.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: January 22, 2018 at 09:35 PM (#5611419)
The MLBPA shouldn't focus on amateurs or first three year players, their focus should be on the guys who actually have peformed in the major leagues. I really don't want a first round pick to get a ton of money, I would much rather see that ton of money go to a three year or four year player who put up a war or two at the major leagues. I do not get this fascination with ensuring kids who have done nothing to prove themselves, arguing for them to get the money because they did well in college....screw that... .the more the league can screw those guys to ensure that a guy like Jon Jay makes money, the happier I am as a fan.

So I'm in favor of any system that could make that happen.
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: January 22, 2018 at 09:38 PM (#5611421)

Never change, cardsfanboy. You remain as clueless as the day you started posting.


Yep, keep arguing for the stupidity of giving massive money to kids who ain't done ####. I just do not get it. I understand some money going to potential of course, but a perfect system in place would reward actual performance and not potential.
   6. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 22, 2018 at 09:43 PM (#5611425)
then are out of baseball at 30 with no cash and no marketable skills.


Pretty much the same thing that happens to graduates of humanities PhD programs, except that high school coaching probably pays more than adjuncting.
   7. Zonk, Genius of the Stables Posted: January 22, 2018 at 09:51 PM (#5611432)
The MLBPA shouldn't focus on amateurs or first three year players, their focus should be on the guys who actually have peformed in the major leagues. I really don't want a first round pick to get a ton of money, I would much rather see that ton of money go to a three year or four year player who put up a war or two at the major leagues. I do not get this fascination with ensuring kids who have done nothing to prove themselves, arguing for them to get the money because they did well in college....screw that... .the more the league can screw those guys to ensure that a guy like Jon Jay makes money, the happier I am as a fan.


Professional athletic unions are unique, I'll grant - and all organized labor tends to take care of its most senior members most; that's just the nature of the beast... but other trade unions do incorporate benefits for apprentices and even prospective members. Even the day laborer gets better pay and better benefits than his/her non-unionized peers. Such things are secured by the union, for which they are not even voting members and may never even become voting members. As with any CBA, such items have costs associated with them when negotiating with the owners. They certainly don't give away the farm nor is any union going to trade a raise for journeyman members for non-members...

It wouldn't cost the MLBPA much to negotiate on behalf on minor leaguers and ensure the owners toss a few bones their way. There wouldn't be any immediate benefits, but strictly from an organized labor perspective - I think it would be both wise and proper for them to do so.
   8. cardsfanboy Posted: January 22, 2018 at 10:05 PM (#5611440)

It wouldn't cost the MLBPA much to negotiate on behalf on minor leaguers and ensure the owners toss a few bones their way. There wouldn't be any immediate benefits, but strictly from an organized labor perspective - I think it would be both wise and proper for them to do so.


I don't have a problem with bones being thrown their way. I have a problem with the silly concept of a 1mi minimum or free agency based upon an age instead of service time etc. I think that a fair system should limit the maximum amount a player gets before ever playing in the majors, and encourage teams to spend for players who have proven themselves. So if I'm arguing for amateur spending, I'm not arguing for players to get more based upon the draft, I'm arguing that they get more as they move up through the system....And I'm arguing for the mlbpa to try to have a system in place that encourages teams to promote players than hold them down for a few weeks for whatever reason. (so in some ways I'm pushing for the mlbpa to push for teams to spend on youth, and others I'm not, ultimately my goal would be for them to spend money on players that they promote to the majors, while also spending money on the players that they feel they need to keep in the minors.....and I ####### literally do not care one whit about the money they spend on draftees...I fully support a hard slot system to be honest. You sign, you don't sign, if you get drafted lower next year, then you will lose money... pretty simple concept... I'll give a little bit of wiggle room for teams to sign over slot to one player per draft, but that is about it. )
   9. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 22, 2018 at 10:16 PM (#5611442)

I understand some money going to potential of course, but a perfect system in place would reward actual performance and not potential.
You are very confused. Wages are not a "reward" for anything. All salaries are prospective, not retrospective.
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: January 22, 2018 at 10:29 PM (#5611450)
nevermind
   11. ptodd Posted: January 22, 2018 at 11:30 PM (#5611471)
Certainly the MLBPA and its members have been weak.

Collusion has been with us since the 2002-2003 season when Manfred rejoined the MLB CBA team. Players filed a complaint and MLB settled for 12 million as part of the 2006 CBA. Its a gentler and softer form of collusion much harder to prove than the collusion in the 80's when Manfred first joined MLB

This gentler/softer form of collusion continued under Bud Selig who was one of the collusion owners busted for 280 million. That required MLB to set up a couple of expansion teams to raise money.

Now Manfred took over in the 2015-2016 offseason. The FA signings were almost done by then and recorded a robust 2.4 billion in contracts. That dropped to 1.4 billion last year and 700 million this year so far. Its not a coincidence. Not the CBA either, not all of it.


Now MLBPA was not unaware of the soft collusion which has seen their share of the revenues plummet from 52% in 2003 to 38% in 2017. They did nothing. This is because MLB revenues were so robust that payroll inflation was still robust. MLB revenues are still robust, but payroll inflation is dropping to CPI levels and may be deflating soon.

Players were willing to look the other way because they could still get paid. People could pretend it was due to other factors. Players were willing to make concessions in the CBA's as life was still good. They had a deal with owners that the young would subsidize the old. That deal seems to be gone.

Now Manfred has taken an in your face approach and dared MLBPA to challenge him. Whats the end game? Its simple, Manfred wants to bust the union.

Tony C finally fired that crooked arbitrator who was Manfreds right hand man so they may have a chance in arbitration, but collusion is hard to prove in an age when its is basically accepted in other industries.. Manfred was probably not happy about Horowitz being gone either.

My bet is Manfred is hoping for a future strike with a court system loaded with anti-labor judges to break the union and end Free Agency. The orange twit may help out

If the players simply concede to a harder collusion out of fear and unwillingness to sacrifice what they have, even if it kills the next generation of players, then that works for Manfred too.

Manfred has declared war on the MLBPA. They can fight or raise the white flag. Stay tuned.
   12. Michael Paulionis Posted: January 22, 2018 at 11:40 PM (#5611476)
cardsfanboy,

How would you feel about a 2-ways of pay system? I know performance-based pay leads to all kinds of usage problems and incentivizing individual performance versus team performance, but I feel like there should be some kind of opportunity for players to feel in more control of their current value. I would love to see an additional form of payment to players based on their current performance even though I certainly understand the point-of-view of David Nieportent in that salaries should not be seen as some sort of reward given based on whether or not a player lived up to expectations.

My point of view is that the system is completely inadequate at correctly valuing players who lack the bargaining power that only comes after 5+ years of service. This extreme difference in $$ being adequately tied to performance is what I believe will ultimately be MLB's next great battle between owners and players. When you can effectively run a team like the Marlins are looking to (i.e. every single player is making the minimum or as close to the minimum as possible), I think it signals a bigger issue than baseball is willing to admit. And the Marlins are not the only franchise to bottom out in this way. Houston ran some ridiculously low payrolls during their down years. My belief is that any teams that wish to go below a certain payroll level (set at $60 million for active roster salaries) should have to distribute that money to the salaries of those cheap, young players they choose to employ. Say Miami gets their payroll down to $30 million for 2018. I don't think it would be unreasonable to distribute a significant portion of the $30 million that they didn't use to get to the salary floor to those low paid players regardless of performance. Instead, baseball has a system that doesn't punish those owners in any way and you get owners like Jeffrey Loria that run their teams like a business investment instead of something that means more to the owner than just $$. Let's be honest, if a billionaire really just wants to make a lot of money there are certainly better ways of doing so than with a sports franchise. I'm not trying to say sports franchises aren't good investments, just that the emotional cost of running a franchise doesn't justify the investment if the number 1 goal is ROI.

Anyways, as a lifelong baseball fan, I encourage players, owners, and fans alike to voice their opinions. I, in no way, am trying to say I have the answers.
   13. Michael Paulionis Posted: January 22, 2018 at 11:53 PM (#5611482)
ptodd, that's a really nice breakdown. I think you've painted things accurately. I really hope Tony Clark and the players wake up. Unfortunately with owners like that of my own favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, you are probably right in thinking that the owners believe if a labor battle begins in baseball, the president will love to attack the greedy players wanting a fair share of the profits. I'm sure Trump wouldn't be too far from saying "how players in the old days had to work jobs in the offseason to make ends meet". Players should be playing for "the love of the game". Kinda like how the members of our military are sacrificing for our country. I know this a little off topic, but I hope baseball players and fans don't delude themselves from thinking they are different from football/basketball.
   14. Stevey Posted: January 23, 2018 at 01:48 AM (#5611506)
they better make a few million if they don't want to end up like the sad sack bartender player in The Boys of Summer. God knows what happens to the guys who top out at AAA or even make the minimum for a season or two, then are out of baseball at 30 with no cash and no marketable skills.


This is not to say that MLB doesn't need to do any more - they most definitely should, but anyone who makes the majors, even for just one day, receives lifetime healthcare coverage, and 43 days in the bigs gets you a lifetime pension of $34K. That isn't much, but to tack it onto another job, even a low-skill one, should provide one comfortable living. Anyone who made the bigs gets enough to provide shelter, food, and medical care for the rest of their life. Not that we should celebrate them getting the bare minimum, but there should be no more cases like the bartender.

Your guy who tops out in AAA, though? Yeah, completely and thoroughly effed over. I'm not sure exactly how, but minors leaguers need some representation in the MLBPA.
   15. zachtoma Posted: January 23, 2018 at 03:51 AM (#5611515)
I think the salary scale for top-tier players is appropriate or maybe even too high. The players have lost revenue share over the past decade and a half, about 10%, a big chunk. If they were to recover it, it should go to the pre-arb and minor leaguers first. Raise the minimum salary to $1,500,000. Have arb-eligibility start after two years for all players, not 3. I feel strongly that shortening the Free Agent window to less than 6 years service time would not be good for the sport, it would make it very difficult to build a team in any conventional sense, and would reduce fan engagement. Plus, most of these players were developed by their organization for years in the minors before they provided any value at the ML level, 6 years is a fair number, any lower would be a mistake. Instead make sure these players get paid more while they're under team control.

I propose the following salaries for minor leaguers: AAA-$150k, AA-$120k, Adv.A-$90k, Lo-A: $75k, Rookie ball: $60k. This would have the effect of turning being a minor league baseball player into a viable career path for players in their 20's and 30's. The way the minors are structured now, it's a really #### deal for players unless they got a big bonus or they are one of the lucky few who makes the majors. These salaries are spare change for their parent organizations, and it's borderline criminal what low-level minor leaguers are being paid now. I mean, they'd be spending $3.75 million on their entire AAA roster, that's the cost of like a sub 1-win bench player, I think having good players at the upper levels is more than worth that price purely in baseball terms. Plus, you should want your minor leaguers to be focused on baseball year-round as their full-time job. Ideally the caps on draftees and international signing bonuses would be scrapped too. The veteran free agents can have whatever's left of any revenue gains to the players, but they should be the lowest priority. They have been feasting even when it meant that others were going hungry.
   16. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 07:23 AM (#5611519)
You don't get your pension the day after you leave the majors. So the 34k wouldn't kick in for decades. Other than that I don't have an issue with what you said. A guy who washes out after 5 years of professional baseball shouldn't be set for life. Just like the guy who washes out of accounting or being a stockbroker for 5 years shouldn't be set for life.
   17. Robert S. Posted: January 23, 2018 at 08:07 AM (#5611525)
You don't get your pension the day after you leave the majors. So the 34k wouldn't kick in for decades. Other than that I don't have an issue with what you said. A guy who washes out after 5 years of professional baseball shouldn't be set for life. Just like the guy who washes out of accounting or being a stockbroker for 5 years shouldn't be set for life.

An accountant or stockbroker still has some skills that can reasonably be transferred to other industries as well as the ability to resume work as an accountant or stockbroker. All things being equal, an ex-ballplayer has nowhere near their options for post-career employment. The opportunity cost of pursuing professional baseball is much higher than “normal” occupations. I'd far prefer to see those risks rewarded than to give billionaires who bought into a legal cartel more ivory backscratchers.
   18. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 23, 2018 at 08:31 AM (#5611534)
#11 is a must-read. The Budshoviks sold you suckers a bill of goods by making you think it would only screw the Yankees but help out the “little guy”, the poor beaten down Lorias and Pohlads and Glasses of the league who weren’t really selfish cheapskates and couldn’t wait to lavish all that unearned free money on their fresh-faced homegrown boys. Like any other rube you’ll never admit you were fleeced, that you whole-heartedly demanded a system that created this very obvious and predictable result. Now you’ll tut-tut and say it just needs a few mild tweaks around the edges rather than admit to yourself and the world that you got played. You’re just a couple of steps away from discarding the hat of your favorite team and replacing it with a Chinese-made “Make Baseball Great Again”. Suckers.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 23, 2018 at 08:52 AM (#5611543)
most professional baseball players aren't millionaires, and given that most of them are retiring in their early 30s with few (if any professional skills), they better make a few million if they don't want to end up like the sad sack bartender player in The Boys of Summer.

Yes, God forbid some athlete not end up a millionaire, and have to actually work after he retire. Oh the humanity!

It's absurd to think that everybody who accumulates 500 crappy MLB PAs should be a millionaire. Those guys should have to get a job.
   20. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 08:58 AM (#5611550)
And a 23 year old that washed out can go to college and have MLB pay for it or if you were drafted out of college you have a degree to fall back on. Sure you might be behind other 25 year olds or possibly ahead of them since you’ve might have earned north of 500k so far.
   21. Rally Posted: January 23, 2018 at 09:01 AM (#5611552)
I'm not in favor of sending massive amounts of money to minor league ballplayers, nor am I in favor of "the more the league can screw those guys to ensure that a guy like Jon Jay makes money". There's got to be some medium in there.

I would like players at all levels of the minors to receive wages that don't make stocking shelves at WalMart look like a better option.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 23, 2018 at 09:04 AM (#5611554)
but anyone who makes the majors, even for just one day, receives lifetime healthcare coverage, and 43 days in the bigs gets you a lifetime pension of $34K. That isn't much,

What do you mean that isn't much? That's well over $1M worth of benefits.
   23. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5611565)
Plenty of apprenticeships pay poorly or not at all for the possibility of getting a job that doesn’t even come close to paying what the majors pay. If these guys don’t want to do it then they don’t have to. Nobody forcing to try and make it in a field in which the guys we’re talking have less than 1% chance of making it.
   24. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 23, 2018 at 09:41 AM (#5611573)
Plenty of apprenticeships pay poorly or not at all for the possibility of getting a job that doesn’t even come close to paying what the majors pay


Do they have their compensation artificially suppressed well below what the actual value is through a labyrinthine combination of mandatory draft, pay tied to sloting, and arbitrary spending pools? What’s the going rate for a non-plumber to fix your plumbing anyways?

If these guys don’t want to do it then they don’t have to.


“If you don’t like it, lump it” is the defense of a tyrant.



   25. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5611578)
First part. Yes. Most profession make you jump through hoops to earn a decent living and for damn sure it is incredibly hard for a 21 year old to get paid amazingly well.

Second part. We’re talking about 700 odd jobs in which realistically about 400 slots will be available during some schlubs talent arc in he minors. Those with talent in the minors get compensated via draft or signing bonus or get moved up to the majors. Those that don’t are filler so that the talent have someone to play with and against. The idea that some 19 year old 22nd round draft should be well compensated and setup for a successful life simply because he hit .330 in high school is absurd.
   26. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 23, 2018 at 09:55 AM (#5611581)
Plenty of apprenticeships pay poorly or not at all for the possibility of getting a job that doesn’t even come close to paying what the majors pay.


This is true, but that doesn't make it right. We need to quit enslaving young people in the business world under the sham of internships, too.

Personally I think a minimum minor league salary of $30,000 or so is reasonable and feasible. The vast majority of minor league players are going to blow every last cent on stupid #### whether they get $5,000 or $500,000, but that's on them.

However--it's not that hard for an ex-major leaguer to find work. Even if he only played a few months in the majors, in almost every town in America there are some rich guys who will employ them just because they like telling people a Major Leaguer works for them. There's always a high school or small college that will hire them to coach. Etc.

Ex-minor leaguers, not so much, of course.
   27. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 23, 2018 at 09:55 AM (#5611583)
You have to include the nookie.
   28. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5611588)
Business does a ton to deflate salaries and it isn’t just done at the entry level. I’ve worked for the two biggest hotel companies in the world and both of them largely remove salary negotiations. Well, that is not entirely true. If you’re a bad negotiator or did poor research they’ll certainly pay you less they were willing to pay. But they have a salary range and they aren’t going over it regardless of how much you can do for them. If you prove that you are significantly underpaid that is largely an oh well moment. Their response is mostly get a promotion otherwise you’re getting the standard 2.5% raise. In one company you only get that raise for three years after that the only way to get more money is to get a promotion.
   29. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5611589)
Do they have their compensation artificially suppressed well below what the actual value is through a labyrinthine combination of mandatory draft, pay tied to sloting, and arbitrary spending pools?

First part. Yes


Prove it.
   30. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:08 AM (#5611592)
Business does a ton to deflate salaries and it isn’t just done at the entry level. I’ve worked for the two biggest hotel companies in the world and both of them largely remove salary negotiations. Well, that is not entirely true. If you’re a bad negotiator or did poor research they’ll certainly pay you less they were willing to pay. But they have a salary range and they aren’t going over it regardless of how much you can do for them. If you prove that you are significantly underpaid that is largely an oh well moment. Their response is mostly get a promotion otherwise you’re getting the standard 2.5% raise. In one company you only get that raise for three years after that the only way to get more money is to get a promotion.


This amounts to a conscious decision not to employ anyone worth employing for very long. It'll be spectacularly destructive in the long run.

The problem there is that, unlike MLB, the two big hotel chains aren't (quite) (yet) a monopolistic cartel; good employees' options aren't "work for us or don't work in this industry." Refusing to pay good people what they're worth is a good way to leave yourself vulnerable to smaller competitors who might sweep up the best people.
   31. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:12 AM (#5611595)
Can I just become a plumber? An electrician? A doctor? Can I just go to Med school or law school? Can I just perform heart surgery? Can I just build a house for you? Can I open a firefighting business? Can I simply turn my house into a bar?
   32. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5611599)
Re 30. Sure but unfortunately smaller companies pay worse and have less jobs. Not to mention that in most places it is only the two biggest companies that have multiple options available. I worked for a third hotel company that had about 70 hotels so they only had 1 hotel in my city and through their decisions I ended being at the highest level for my department which was as a #2 in most other hotels. If I wanted to get paid more I would have had to wait for an opening in one of the 69 other hotels, been willing to move, and beat out anyone else interested in the job. Not surprisingly they had a talent problem. They had very few managers that could take the next step to assistant director and director level.
   33. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:44 AM (#5611623)
There's always a high school or small college that will hire them to coach. Etc.


Not sure what it's like everywhere, but in Florida, a head coach has to be a full time employee of the school or school district. Which means he has to have other skills than just being really good at baseball. In my county, the head coach's stipend is ~ $3,000. So even if the requirement to be employed by the school district is waived, $3,000 to be a HS baseball coach. It's not a job, it's a hobby.
   34. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:46 AM (#5611625)
The idea that some 19 year old 22nd round draft should be well compensated and setup for a successful life simply because he hit .330 in high school is absurd.


Maybe it's just me, but it seems like there is something in between being set for life and making below minimum wage for doing an important (from the MLB standpoint) job.
   35. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5611626)
What do you mean that isn't much? That's well over $1M worth of benefits.


What is the NPV of a lifetime $34,000 pension that kicks in in 35 years?
   36. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:55 AM (#5611634)
If it was important they would get paid more. Being filler in the low minors is not an important job, especially when there is thousands of people willing to take that spot at the price the team is offering.
   37. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5611636)
I think you also have to factor in the health care and possibly tuition along with the NPV of the pension.
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5611637)
What is the NPV of a lifetime $34,000 pension that kicks in in 35 years?

Well, it won't be $34,000 in 35 years, it will go up.

But, it's the health benefits that are huge. Individual coverage can easily run $15,000 per year.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like there is something in between being set for life and making below minimum wage for doing an important (from the MLB standpoint) job.

But the thing is, 70% of minor elaguers aren't important for MLB. The non-prospects are totally fungible.

That's why miLB is over 50% Latin American. The $1500/month is attractive if you're from Venezuela. Not if you're from Virginia.

If MLB had to pay every minor leaguer $30,000 per year, there would be a lot fewer minor league teams.
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 23, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5611639)
I think you also have to factor in the health care and possibly tuition along with the NPV of the pension.

Yes. The pension is small potatos. The health benefits alone are probably worth $1M.
   40. DL from MN Posted: January 23, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5611655)
The players have lost revenue share over the past decade and a half, about 10%, a big chunk. If they were to recover it, it should go to the pre-arb and minor leaguers first. Raise the minimum salary to $1,500,000.


Raising the floor will raise the top end also. The cheapest players are holding down free agent contracts at the top end. I am on board with a $1M minimum salary.

I propose the following salaries for minor leaguers: AAA-$150k, AA-$120k, Adv.A-$90k, Lo-A: $75k, Rookie ball: $60k.


I think that's the right wage rate if it was a yearly job but prorate it for the 6 months they actually play. The current rates are $1100 a month for rookie ball and $2200 for AAA. MLB has taken a TON of money out of the system in front-end bonuses. They can afford to pay a fraction of it back as wages for minor leaguers. I think the union should definitely ask to double the pay for minor leaguers and the minimum salary major leaguers.
   41. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 23, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5611686)
You have to include the nookie.

That's a good point, but how do you put a value on that? I guess you would have to analyze each player's various nookie partners and find similarly situated, er, professionals in terms of attractiveness, ability, creativity, etc. Then you would multiply the amount of nookie gained by the player per partner by the going rate for the similar professional, and then total it up across all the player's partners. Maybe you could incorporate some sort of VORP (Value Over Replacement Prostitute) component as well.

But then you would also have to consider the present value of future nookie - depending on level of success, many former players can parlay their background into nookie for at least some years after their career is over. This would of course have to be discounted both to account for the time value of money and, presumably, the declining quality of both partner and nookie the further the former player gets from his heyday.

There are also a lot of other variables such as risk of paternity suits, stalkers, visits to the clinic when things start to itch and burn, Hooters tabs, etc. that would offset at least some part of the value. Some of these could be amortized over the years, I suppose, but it's still a highly uncertain, complicated calculation.
   42. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5611719)
How many 19 year olds have 60k a year jobs?
   43. zachtoma Posted: January 23, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5611805)
I think that's the right wage rate if it was a yearly job but prorate it for the 6 months they actually play. The current rates are $1100 a month for rookie ball and $2200 for AAA. MLB has taken a TON of money out of the system in front-end bonuses. They can afford to pay a fraction of it back as wages for minor leaguers. I think the union should definitely ask to double the pay for minor leaguers and the minimum salary major leaguers.


They should be paid a yearly salary. If I'm a major league team, I don't want my players taking other jobs in the off-season to make ends meet. I want them to be able to focus on their training & baseball full-time, there are obvious benefits to that.
   44. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 23, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5611825)
The idea that some 19 year old 22nd round draft should be well compensated and setup for a successful life simply because he hit .330 in high school is absurd.


Not as absurd as the idea that just hitting .330 in HS gets you drafted, even in the 22nd round. Hell, I hit .330 in HS. My kid hit .360 in HS. I know guys who hit .550 in HS and never got scouted. So if the 22nd round draft pick won't sign and play for peanuts, there are literally thousands of guys who hit .330 in HS who will happily take his place. Which means that there is approximately zero chance that 22nd round draft picks will ever be "well compensated and set up for a successful life" until they accomplish a little bit more.
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 23, 2018 at 02:27 PM (#5611840)
They should be paid a yearly salary. If I'm a major league team, I don't want my players taking other jobs in the off-season to make ends meet. I want them to be able to focus on their training & baseball full-time, there are obvious benefits to that.

The teams just don't care about the guys who don't get significant draft bonuses. They're cannon fodder. They only exist to give the prospects someone to play with.

If teams had to pay rookie ball players $30K a year, you'd see the number of minor league teams shrink my half.
   46. zachtoma Posted: January 23, 2018 at 02:32 PM (#5611853)

If teams had to pay rookie ball players $30K a year, you'd see the number of minor league teams shrink my half.


If teams had to pay $750k to field a rookie league team, they'd just shut it down? I really don't think so, that's barely more than the cost of a single major league at league minimum.
   47. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 02:47 PM (#5611879)
We always get to the point where someone points out that pay raises would be peanuts. Yeah, sure but when was the last time a company handed out money like it was candy? The idea some business is going to double, triple, quadruple a line item cost just because it might give some people the feels is absurd.
   48. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5611884)
Most minor leaguers already are devoted to baseball full time. Most go back to their country and play there. While the Americans will workout and train in the offseason with the occasional one playing winter ball.
   49. Zonk, Genius of the Stables Posted: January 23, 2018 at 02:53 PM (#5611888)
I'd tend to agree that the scales mentioned here -- even 6 month pro-rated -- are too high.

Without putting too much thought into it, something more like 10-15K for the rookie leagues seems about right and scale up from there.
   50. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 23, 2018 at 02:55 PM (#5611890)
We always get to the point where someone points out that pay raises would be peanuts. Yeah, sure but when was the last time a company handed out money like it was candy?

Well, now that you put it that way, it seems like there would be an easy and delicious solution.
   51. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 03:00 PM (#5611896)
I would probably keep the rookie rate but movie the AA and AA rate up with there being no ceiling for any minor leaguer that has played for at least 6 seasons. Those guys if a team wants them around should be paid a good rate since for whatever reason the team wants them around.
   52. Rally Posted: January 23, 2018 at 03:00 PM (#5611897)
But the thing is, 70% of minor elaguers aren't important for MLB. The non-prospects are totally fungible.


You could save a lot of time if you knew which group was which. Just field one minor league team since it's going to be rare that one organization has more than 25 future big leaguers at any given time. But since you don't know, you would be missing out on the chance that your 62nd round pick turns into a HOF catcher.
   53. Rally Posted: January 23, 2018 at 03:16 PM (#5611930)
I compared the minimum expenses for a minor league system using the proposed amounts in #15, to what are actually mandated. Factoring in that not all players make the minimum, and there are more players than roster spots due to players on the DL, teams are probably paying around 2 million per year for 4 full season team, one short season A team, and two rookie league teams.

That increases to at least 15.375 million using the amounts in #15, but with injuries and higher priced minor league free agents maybe that's closer to 20 million.

Would teams reduce the number of minor league teams? They certainly would if they worked together as a league and agreed to do so. Maybe we'd be down to one upper minor league which serves as a reserve roster for the big league team, one league with younger prospects, and one short season league with recent draftees.

But if you could enforce an anti-trust environment, and allow teams to field as many minor leagues as they can, would they cut down to 3 teams while their competitors are fielding 6 or 7? I would be very hesitant to do so, because the amount you save on minor league contracts may not justify your decreased chances of finding a major league contributor among the players you didn't think were prospects.
   54. Walt Davis Posted: January 23, 2018 at 03:34 PM (#5611954)
#51 -- I don't think there is any limit on what minor-league FAs can sign for. Realistically, if they aren't good enough for the majors, obviously teams aren't going to pay them as much as the minimum but I don't think there's any actual rule keeping Eddie Butler from signing for 10/$290 M. Some of those guys do make pretty good money ($100+ K) to be 6th starters not on the 40-man roster (until needed).

$34,000 pension -- I wish folks would stop sneezing at that. That's roughly what you get today as a 30-year Fed employee whose job topped out around $115,000 per year. That's a well-paying job and a nice pension. Given the short-time MLBers get to add the pension/401k/retirement savings from the other 35 years of their working careers then, assuming their mortgage is paid off and given their healthcare costs are covered, that's a pretty comfy retired life.
   55. DL from MN Posted: January 23, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5611964)
$12/hr full time for a month is $1920. That's less than a gas station manager makes. I think rookie ball players should get at least what they post for the help wanted at my local gas station.

I'm going to guess the slot bonus system instituted for the draft and international free agency is saving teams at least $10M a year.
   56. McCoy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 03:55 PM (#5611969)
How many meals do the gas station pay for? How often does the gas station pay to clean their uniforms? Does the gas station provide a weight room and training facilities so that the gas pumper can advance in his career? Does the gas station give a pumper a signing bonus?
   57. DL from MN Posted: January 23, 2018 at 04:00 PM (#5611976)
How many meals do the gas station pay for? How often does the gas station pay to clean their uniforms? Does the gas station provide a weight room and training facilities so that the gas pumper can advance in his career? Does the gas station give a pumper a signing bonus?


How much travel is required of a gas station employee? Does the gas station employee have to sign autographs or do press interviews after work? Is there a group collectively bargaining away the gas station employee's signing bonus?
   58. Zach Posted: January 23, 2018 at 04:14 PM (#5612001)
Factoring in that not all players make the minimum, and there are more players than roster spots due to players on the DL, teams are probably paying around 2 million per year for 4 full season team, one short season A team, and two rookie league teams.

That increases to at least 15.375 million using the amounts in #15, but with injuries and higher priced minor league free agents maybe that's closer to 20 million.


So costs would go up by a factor of 10? I can see how that would be a hard sell.
   59. zachtoma Posted: January 23, 2018 at 04:15 PM (#5612002)
You know, that I think about it, a lot people would play in the major leagues for free if they could...so why should MLB players get paid at all? Makes you think....
   60. zachtoma Posted: January 23, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5612003)
So costs would go up by a factor of 10? I can see how that would be a hard sell.


I'd be all for a hard cap on free agent salaries at the upper end, there's no reason any individual player should be making more than $25-30million.
   61. Rally Posted: January 23, 2018 at 04:19 PM (#5612008)
How many meals do the gas station pay for? How often does the gas station pay to clean their uniforms? Does the gas station provide a weight room and training facilities so that the gas pumper can advance in his career? Does the gas station give a pumper a signing bonus?


1. They might be allowed to eat the hot dogs that last too long on the roller. I would not recommend, but it's probably competitive with the diet of a minor league ballplayer.

2. If they are uniformed full serve attendants, or work in the repair shop, uniform cleaning is probably provided.

3. Depending on job, there could be a decent amount of heaving lifting at the gas station. Especially if there is a repair shop, most tires are not light.

4. Not likely to get a bonus. Most minor leaguers don't get much of a bonus either.
   62. Rally Posted: January 23, 2018 at 04:20 PM (#5612010)
I'd be all for a hard cap on free agent salaries at the upper end, there's no reason any individual player should be making more than $25-30million.


I can think of 30 billionaires who would totally agree with you.
   63. Zach Posted: January 23, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5612018)
The real problem is that the minor leagues don't generate any money. Thus, there's no such thing as a career minor leaguer except for a few guys in AAA who are major league depth.

If you look at Rookie Ball as a pit stop for the real prospects and a one-year lark for the scrubs, you can see why the salaries are low. Nobody's hanging around long enough to care.
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 23, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5612019)
I'd be all for a hard cap on free agent salaries at the upper end, there's no reason any individual player should be making more than $25-30million.

Beacuse they're worth it in terms of value on the baseball field.
   65. cardsfanboy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 05:02 PM (#5612053)

How would you feel about a 2-ways of pay system? I know performance-based pay leads to all kinds of usage problems and incentivizing individual performance versus team performance, but I feel like there should be some kind of opportunity for players to feel in more control of their current value. I would love to see an additional form of payment to players based on their current performance even though I certainly understand the point-of-view of David Nieportent in that salaries should not be seen as some sort of reward given based on whether or not a player lived up to expectations.

My point of view is that the system is completely inadequate at correctly valuing players who lack the bargaining power that only comes after 5+ years of service. This extreme difference in $$ being adequately tied to performance is what I believe will ultimately be MLB's next great battle between owners and players. When you can effectively run a team like the Marlins are looking to (i.e. every single player is making the minimum or as close to the minimum as possible), I think it signals a bigger issue than baseball is willing to admit. And the Marlins are not the only franchise to bottom out in this way. Houston ran some ridiculously low payrolls during their down years. My belief is that any teams that wish to go below a certain payroll level (set at $60 million for active roster salaries) should have to distribute that money to the salaries of those cheap, young players they choose to employ. Say Miami gets their payroll down to $30 million for 2018. I don't think it would be unreasonable to distribute a significant portion of the $30 million that they didn't use to get to the salary floor to those low paid players regardless of performance. Instead, baseball has a system that doesn't punish those owners in any way and you get owners like Jeffrey Loria that run their teams like a business investment instead of something that means more to the owner than just $$. Let's be honest, if a billionaire really just wants to make a lot of money there are certainly better ways of doing so than with a sports franchise. I'm not trying to say sports franchises aren't good investments, just that the emotional cost of running a franchise doesn't justify the investment if the number 1 goal is ROI.

Anyways, as a lifelong baseball fan, I encourage players, owners, and fans alike to voice their opinions. I, in no way, am trying to say I have the answers.


There is no best way that is going to satisfy every type of fan or every player or every owner, but I wouldn't mind some extreme options that do reward performance retroactively. I mean MLB could agree on a system to value players, and instead of the revenue sharing money going 100% directly to the teams, it could be split 50% between the teams and a player reward pool, which would pay out based upon war(or whatever measurement that they can agree upon) in the same way as licensing fees does. Mind you all the rest of the salary system in place, would still be in place, so a guy like Kershaw could sign for 20 mil a year, and then earn another 5 mil bonus (or whatever the amount ends up being.) One slight advantage to this type of system is that it would make signing to be a starting player on a last place team, more valuable than signing to be a bench player on a first place team. (and no, I haven't thought this type of system through to all the possible ramifications or potential tweaks to make it most fair, nor the many objections that the A's and Marlins would have to this type of system)


(some tweaks could be that the player reward pool only pays out to players on teams deemed "small market" (although that would probably never pass a vote as the players and half the owners would hate this, even though it's reducing the amount of money that the small market owners are pocketing) (although the more I think about that option, the more I like it....) )
   66. cardsfanboy Posted: January 23, 2018 at 05:13 PM (#5612058)
I'd be all for a hard cap on free agent salaries at the upper end, there's no reason any individual player should be making more than $25-30million.

Beacuse they're worth it in terms of value on the baseball field.


Agree, there really is no way to have a hard cap and still pretend to be fair and "free market". At that point in time, it's not about a fan's team willingness to sign a free agent, but instead, simply about where a free agent is willing to work. In practice a hard cap would mean that usually only about 8 or so teams would ever sign an elite free agent (nobody is going to WANT to go to Clevelad....type of thing) The only small advantage I could see for a hard cap is that it makes it a little more likely for a team with a good environment to keep their elite free agents.

About the only thing I like from other league payroll systems, is what the NBA had(or used to have..and I don't know the specifics, just the basics) where if a team signs one of their own players, they take a smaller revenue hit. Of course that matters little for a system without a hard cap, and nobody really wants to see the teams that are pushing the mlb soft cap, have any benefits to signing their own elite free agents, so that doesn't work in MLB, but there are ways to tweak the system, that would encourage teams to spend on their own free agents(say if you sign a guy to a multi-year deal in his 5th or 6th year, and you are classified as a small market, then 10% of his salary is covered by revenue sharing beyond the revenue sharing you are already getting. (or something silly like that)
   67. eddieot Posted: January 23, 2018 at 07:25 PM (#5612132)
The real problem is that the minor leagues don't generate any money. Thus, there's no such thing as a career minor leaguer except for a few guys in AAA who are major league depth.

That's certainly news to me. And Forbes.


   68. winnipegwhip Posted: January 23, 2018 at 07:31 PM (#5612138)
You want competition? Have all players make a guaranteed minimum salary (it could be greater than it is now.) There could also be different minimums based upon MLB experience.

Take the rest of the money and pool it and base it upon how teams finish. The money for the playoff teams would be overwhelming. Even teams that don't make the postseason get some money. Therefore you have teams fighting for wins in September to get third or fourth place. But everyone in the clubhouse would be pulling their oars in the same direction.
   69. Zach Posted: January 23, 2018 at 08:12 PM (#5612148)
The real problem is that the minor leagues don't generate any money. Thus, there's no such thing as a career minor leaguer except for a few guys in AAA who are major league depth.

That's certainly news to me. And Forbes.


That's a AAA team, and the oldest player is 29 (a catcher). The most common year of birth is 1992, which would make 2017 their age 25 year. Somebody said earlier in the thread that the average age to reach the majors is 24.6.

By career minor leaguer, I mean somebody who expects to play their entire career in a minor league, including the decline phase, and expects to get paid from the revenues he generates for the teams he plays on -- like the old Pacific Coast League. All of the River Cats players are being paid by the major league team and are sufficiently close to the majors that getting at least a short major league tryout is a realistic expectation.
   70. Zach Posted: January 23, 2018 at 08:21 PM (#5612153)
Imagine a world where all minor leaguers were free agents, with no ties to a major league club. Minor league teams could only pay salaries out of their own revenues, with no development deals or parent organizations.

In such a world, I would expect salaries to be very low. Some players would make a lot of money, but they'd make it on the back end, when they signed with a major league team. I don't think you would have any career AA players, because AA teams don't generate enough revenue to keep players around -- they would either move up or read the writing on the wall and retire.

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