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Friday, April 16, 2021

MLB salary down 4.8% in 2 years; top 100 earn half

The average major league salary dropped 4.8% to just under $4.17 million on opening day from the start of the previous full season in 2019.

The average has fallen 6.4% since the start of the 2017 season, when it peaked at $4.45 million, according to a study of major league contracts by The Associated Press. The salary downturn is yet another sign baseball could be headed toward labor strife and a possible work stoppage in 2022.

Baseball’s middle class has borne the brunt of the drop. The median salary — the point at which an equal number of players are above and below — is $1.15 million, down 18% from $1.4 million two years ago and a drop of 30% from the $1.65 million record high at the start of 2015.

Of 902 players on opening-day rosters, 417 (62%) had salaries under $1 million, including 316 (35%) under $600,000.

The 50 highest-paid players are getting 33.4% of all salaries, up from 28.6% in 2017, and the 100 highest-paid are receiving 52.4%, an increase from 42.5% in 2017.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2021 at 03:19 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: salaries

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   1. Mayor Blomberg Posted: April 16, 2021 at 07:11 PM (#6013897)
It's the national pastime because it mirrors us so well.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 16, 2021 at 07:23 PM (#6013900)
This year’s average was depressed by the opening-day absence of Houston pitcher Jake Odorizzi, who was left off the initial roster, and infielder Rougned Odor, who had been designated for assignment by Texas and later was traded to the New York Yankees. Their presence on opening day would have increased by average by roughly $24,000, cutting the drop over two years to 4.2%.

The numbers are skewed somewhat by the unique circumstances of the surprisingly influential Players Whose Names Start with Odor caucus.
   3. Rough Carrigan Posted: April 16, 2021 at 07:49 PM (#6013903)
Not a word in that article about the union's reaction to this. If the majority of your union membership does worse under your stewardship of the union, shouldn't it be hard to be re-elected to head the union?
   4. The Duke Posted: April 16, 2021 at 09:08 PM (#6013915)
Why the players don’t demand revenue sharing is beyond me. The whole structure is set up to benefit about 100 players. The next 550 players scuffle by and then the next 2000 in the minor leagues dont even earn minimum wage. Why the majority of the membership supports this distribution of spoils is weird - do they even understand this?
   5. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 16, 2021 at 10:09 PM (#6013925)
The union membership supports this because each of those individual players (the 550 + 2000) believe that they will be the next top 100 players to earn incredible salaries.

   6. John Northey Posted: April 16, 2021 at 10:37 PM (#6013929)
It is the American problem - those at the bottom think they will get to the top so they want the top to be as high as possible. In reality very, very few get anywhere near the top. I remember years ago the Jays 2B Orlando Hudson was talking about the upcoming contract talks at the time and was all enthused about a minimum salary hike because of what a big difference it would make for him and others who were in the first 2 years of their ML time. He eventually peaked around $5.5 mil near the end of his career, but early on going from $313k to $365k was a big deal.

IMO the union should be pushing for a $1 mil minimum salary so each teams floor would then be $26 mil. Maybe push for $1.5 to start, then come down to $1 mil if needed. Make it so there isn't as big an incentive to keep rookies around vs vets so much. That would have a far, far bigger impact on players than anything else.
   7. The Duke Posted: April 16, 2021 at 10:58 PM (#6013932)
The higher minimum would wreck clubs ability to buy out free agent years. A guy like Albies would never do the deal he did. Better yet, bring the AAA and AA guys into the union and jack their pay up to 250K a year. It would shave a bit off of a lindor deal but it would guarantee everyone actually hits the jackpot if they make the major leagues.

Instead, they will get a post-game shrimp platter and more free tickets for their family.
   8. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 16, 2021 at 11:28 PM (#6013939)
This country ####### loves handing 25% of all money to like 10 people.
   9. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: April 17, 2021 at 12:20 AM (#6013942)
   10. sanny manguillen Posted: April 17, 2021 at 08:56 AM (#6013949)
I don't think the 550, who are starting over half a million per year, are "scuffling". A lot of fringe major leaguers make a very good living, too.

I don't think that raising the minimum will result in many roster decisions in favor of veterans. What they should do is take a big piece of the common funds that currently get paid out to the teams, and instead put it into a pot for veteran players. If the Pirates want to pay $3 million for five bench players they can do that, but they might see things differently if they paying another $3 million to subsidize veteran bench players who are playing against them.
   11. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 17, 2021 at 08:57 AM (#6013950)

This is a pretty important sentence:

In addition, the average likely was lowered slightly by the expansion of active rosters to 26, which probably caused teams to add 30 players making near the $570,500 minimum.

If you assume the 30 new players are all making the minimum, that accounts for more than half the decline in average salary from 2019. (2.8% of the 4.8% decline)
   12. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 17, 2021 at 09:01 AM (#6013951)
Anyway, baseball players did extremely well under some semblance of the current system for over 40 years. I don’t think it’s crazy that they’re slow to demand major changes after a few years of things moving in the wrong direction, although they probably should be more concerned.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 17, 2021 at 02:15 PM (#6013989)
I expect the players will seek to raise the minimum salary and shorten the path to arbitration & free agency, as well as adding an age aspect to the formula. That will make younger players somewhat more expensive, and reduce the spreadsheet penalty veteran players face.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2021 at 05:41 PM (#6014039)
Union issues aside -- only a 5% drop in a pandemic with an historic economic collapse and a huge reduction in MLB revenues last year and this year? Compared with some of the predictions, the players did great. Most of the "surprise" non-tendered players did just fine. I assume it's an historically large drop but, in context, no worse and maybe better than the last few years. (which gets back to the CBA issues.)

The average salary is not a great way to track the trend given the guaranteed multi-year salaries. If (WAG) 80% of total payroll** carries over from one year to the next, it's probably better to track the percentage of gains/losses relative to what could have been lost. Extensions keep that from being a perfectly clean number but somebody can come up with something sensible for handling those.

** between big contracts, arb contracts and a typical number of min salary players.
   15. The Duke Posted: April 17, 2021 at 11:50 PM (#6014100)
How the players did won’t become apparent until after the CBA . My team, the cardinals, had all its salary tied up in players they couldn’t do anything with. So they non-tendered Wong and gave away Fowler for 2 million. It was all they could do. This offseason Fowler is gone, carpenter is gone they won’t pick up Martinez option, let Miller go and may seek to trade Mikolas. Wainwright and Molina are special cases who aren’t costing them that much. I think most teams have similar situations and will all be jettisoning salary.

Perhaps non-tendered did ok but lots of guys ended up with 1/10 when they might have gotten 3/24 in prior years. MLB is moving to one year deals (albeit with higher pay), for everyone but the Lindors of the world. This offseason will see more of the same. That can’t be good for players. The combination of non-tenders and super short deals is not where the union should want things to be headed.

It makes more economic sense because after the top 100 guys, players tend to be fungible or under team control.
   16. John Northey Posted: April 18, 2021 at 05:01 PM (#6014156)
I'm thinking an age version for free agency should be the unions goal. I'm sure they'd love 25 for free agency, but 28 is more likely with a 6 years or age 28, whichever comes first method.
   17. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: April 19, 2021 at 10:15 AM (#6014235)
I'm thinking an age version for free agency should be the unions goal. I'm sure they'd love 25 for free agency, but 28 is more likely with a 6 years or age 28, whichever comes first method.

I think you have to be careful with the age thing. 28 probably works, but despite the glut of young phenoms coming up most players don't find their way on MLB rosters until 22 or later. If players are going to literally spend more time in the minors than on the major league roster you've just convinced every team in baseball to kill their player development budget.
   18. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 19, 2021 at 06:22 PM (#6014306)
If players are going to literally spend more time in the minors than on the major league roster you've just convinced every team in baseball to kill their player development budget.

But MLB has already contracted the minor leagues drastically. So isnt this just them anticipating your argument and have already done the math and responded in a way that makes sense.
   19. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: April 20, 2021 at 10:49 AM (#6014412)
But MLB has already contracted the minor leagues drastically. So isnt this just them anticipating your argument and have already done the math and responded in a way that makes sense.

To a degree, but people have been arguing for quality of life improvements to the minor leagues forever. Better food, counseling for nutrition, better training facilities. I've also learned never to underestimate the ability of MLB owners to find a penny to pinch.

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