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Baseball Is Broken (off the field/labor relations etc.)

Discussion in 'MLB Discussion' started by jon abbey, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Right, GMs were smart to mostly stay away, I think that was always obvious to people paying attention, but baseball is broken (in this aspect) because pre-arb players provide so much value these days and are barely paid for it. It wouldn't be that big a deal if Moustakas couldn't get a big FA deal if he'd been paid what he was worth all along.
     
  2. trekfan55

    trekfan55 Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    But what's the solution for this? FA after 3 years? Or charlie Finley's idea (make them all free agents every year)?

    An interesting proposal would be for players to ask for more in arbitration, but when the case gets to that point, there is no middle ground, it's one offer or the other. Something should be done because at this point teams are getting smarter. Not too many teams out there will give these long term deals to players past their prime, and few players will reach FA at 25-27.
     
  3. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    One thing is that a team should only have the rights to a player for a certain length of time after initially acquiring them, a clock shouldn't start once they hit the bigs. At least that would eliminate service time manipulation, which is just one of many issues but at least it's something.
     
  4. trekfan55

    trekfan55 Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    JA I agree with this. Except it takes time to develop players in the minors. That is the particular issue with MLB vs the NFL or the NBA where drafted players go to the major league team right away, even if stapled to the bench or "red shirted".

    In MLB players must go through the system while they learn, and some simply do not make it. So at the end of the day the timing is important. Some players like Bryce Harper and Strasbourg make it right away (and thus become FA much younger). But most do need the time.

    As a middle road, I would propose to shorten the time when they become Rule 5 eligible in order to speed their development or let them go elsewhere. Also, let's eliminate this whole "May something minor league stay adds an extra year of control crap". Once your're up the year counts. Period. Maybe an exception can be made for September callups so young players can get that chance, but otherwise, let's stop the shenanigans.
     
  5. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Yeah, I'm not saying there are easy answers, every change will have ripple effects. Also the reason a simple "once you're up the year counts" won't work is that teams like TB hold down guys a year or two longer than they really should to have control of them for longer, and my suggestion would eliminate those shenanigans also.

    But whatever they are, major changes need to be made as we discussed here earlier, the system as it is now is more lopsided than it's been towards the owners probably since free agency started in the seventies. It's increasingly a young man's sport and Tony Clark chose to completely ignore that in his disastrous negotiations for the current CBA. He thought he was protecting older players, but in reality, he ended up hurting all players.
     
  6. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

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    The solution is to pay them more. Free agency doesn't have much to do with it. Bryce Harper is still under control of the Nationals and he's making $22 million this year. There's nothing that says he couldn't have been making $22 million the last couple of years except artificial arbitration limits. Remove those and the young guys make their money when they're productive.
     
  7. trekfan55

    trekfan55 Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Part of this problem is that they exchange figures and if it goes to arbitration they decide between one and the other with no "in between" alternatives.

    I think there should be a new system to set player salaries and that such system should balance the fact that the players do not have a choice with the fact that they are worth more (advanced metrics now give us more insight into what players are truly worth). Appoint a board of compensation that knows about this and give them the power to truly negotiate, not just choose one figure. When the owner knows he's not negotiating in the open market he will try to offer the least amount feasible.
     
  8. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Just came across a factoid from Joe Sheehan to back up what I wrote in my last post:

    "Just 2.8 percent of plate appearances this year had been taken by players 36 and older; over a full season, that would be the lowest figure since 1977."
     
  9. Infield Infidel

    Infield Infidel teaching korea american SoSH Member

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    Expansion would somewhat alleviate older players not getting jobs. At 20 years and counting, we are 4 years beyond the next-longest stretch without expansion in the expansion era (77-93). It's long overdue. I think there's a glut in talent, with more players coming from Japan, Korea and Latin America, we could easily fill out two more teams. (Expansion is curiously overdue in basketball as well which has an ever larger glut of talent).
     
  10. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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  11. lapa

    lapa lurker

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    Paywalled oh I see you mentioned that already
     
  12. Sampo Gida

    Sampo Gida lurker

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    So here we are on June 13th and in the AL the playoff teams are all but decided apart from some division races that decide who is in the WC. 10 AL teams may wave the white flag and sell, although the Angels may wait for news on Ohtani before doing so. 4 of those teams have a chance for 100+ losses, and 3 of them are pretty much a lock to do so with the Orioles going for 120. Thats below replacement level.

    NL is reasonably competitive this year and lead the AL in interleague play for what seems like the first time this century. Coincidentally or not they outspent the AL in free agency almost 2-1
     
  13. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    You also have 4 teams in the AL on pace to win 102+ games, while there are 0 in the NL. Hell, the Yanks and Redsox are on pace to win 110+. That could be a function of playing bad teams, or the bad teams could be a function of playing 4 super teams.

    The NL also has 2 teams that could lose 100+.

    Having 4 teams win 100+ and having 6 lose 100+ would be something.

    edit: 4 teams would be a record. 3 has been done numerous times. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_League_Baseball_100_win_seasons
     
  14. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    I don't really have the time right now to give this an in-depth answer, but you keep trying to link free agent spending to wins and I think there's increasingly little connection (and I am not the only one who thinks so, as you can read in my sig). I think the NL has more competitive teams than expected right now because more teams there started their youthful rebuilds earlier and some of those are kicking in (ATL, PHI). As I've said a bunch of times, older players are hit with a double whammy these days, not only are they way pricier but they hurt roster flexibility with their inability to be optioned if they are struggling. There are still great additions out there (hello JD Martinez) but there are also plenty of guys who are instant duds and immediate albatrosses (hello Alex Cobb and your 7.23 ERA in the first year of your 4/57 deal).
     
  15. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    So here's a good example of yet another way that the current CBA is insanely imbalanced in favor of ownership. The Yankees right now are stacked with position players, so they have more than a few guys stuck at AAA who really deserve to be in the bigs right now but the guys ahead of them are holding onto their spots. Brandon Drury has over 1000 ABs in the bigs already and is 2nd in the IL in OPS behind only similarly stuck teammate Clint Frazier, but not only is he in AAA instead of the major leagues, this is hurting his service time and possibly delaying his free agency another year. RAB did a roundup of some of these guys:
    • Drury: 50 days (he’s been down 32 days already, so only 18 more to go)
    • Frazier: 109 days (already been down 38 days)
    • Kahnle: 31 days (already been down 10 days)
    • Torreyes: 38 days (spent 13 days in Triple-A before being recalled)
    • Wade: 97 days (already down 54 days)
    Wade doesn't matter until he shows signs of being able to actually play in the bigs, and Frazier is still a few months away from a status change, but Drury and Kahnle are guys who could easily be on NY right now but instead look like they will be under control for an extra season with just a few more weeks in AAA each.
     
  16. mauidano

    mauidano Mai Tais for everyone! SoSH Member

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  17. Infield Infidel

    Infield Infidel teaching korea american SoSH Member

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    Wanted to say thanks for linking this article. I like a lot of it but I would absolutely hate eight divisions of 4 teams each. It would continue the malarkey of the second-best team in the league finishing 2nd in a tough division potentially getting stuck in the wildcard game, all so some mediocre teams can be "division champs" over three crap teams.

    After initially fixing the problem of the second-best team not making the playoffs back when the wildcard was introduced, there's now a decent chance of a the second-best team getting stuck in the wild card. My hope is expansion to 32 teams would be four eight-team divisions. This would mean that the second-best team would never be in the wildcard game.
     
  18. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Here's an example that isn't clearcut bad for the player, but a really unhealthy loophole in general.

    In the rule 5 draft after the 2016 season, NY left 20 year old catcher Luis Torrens unprotected as he wasn't anywhere near ready, he had barely played in low A at that point. So the Padres took him and kept him all season to get his rights, he was a total waste of a roster spot of course (.446 OPS in 139 PAs), but they didn't care.

    So, in a way, good for Torrens, he got a year service time, a $550K salary, and lifetime benefits all at 21, but now this year he is back where he belongs, in high A ball at 22 (and still not really hitting there). Maybe you could argue that the year of major league instruction makes up for the lack of game reps for a year, less than 700 career PAs coming into this season. I guess we'll see but that doesn't seem right.
     
  19. Ford Frick's Asterisk

    Ford Frick's Asterisk Member SoSH Member

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    Are we sure the Rule 5 draft is even a net positive anymore? It was created in 1959, predating the amateur draft and minor league free agency. It made a lot of sense back then when the richest teams could stockpile minor leaguers for perpetuity, but while teams still find loopholes to grab top amateur talent, the problems the Rule 5 was meant to address don't seem to exist today. The short term monetary gain is good for the draftee, but I wonder how many potential major leaguers have their development stunted beyond repair vs. how many had their careers jump started.

    There are maybe about a half-dozen Rule 5 draftees currently who have established MLB careers, but Odubel Herrera is the only star level player. Was Herrera really blocked in Texas, or would he be having similar success with the Rangers right now? The Rangers are actually starting fellow 2014 Rule 5 draftee Delino DeShields at the same position. DeShields can be pointed to as a success as far as that he stuck with the drafting team and is now in his 4th MLB season, but he's also a guy who could very well be a better player today if he'd had the more traditional development process.

    But yes, there's also the specific eligibility rule that only addresses a single year age difference between international free agent teenagers and everyone else. I get it that one year is the technical difference between when most Dominicans and most Americans can start their minor league careers. However, the reality of most developmental curves is far greater than one year between someone who first signed a contract at 16, and someone who played some D1 college ball, or even high school kids coming from top travel teams. In this case, I think a simple minimum age requirement might make more sense, particularly since the teenager is going to reach minor league free agency at a younger age anyway.

    *
     
  20. AB in DC

    AB in DC OG Football Writing Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    According to Sportac, this year's World Series participants are #1 and #3 in payroll, It's the second straight year that the #1 payroll has made the World Series.

    Is the competitive imbalance monster rearing its ugly head again?
     
  21. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Well, current baseball economics are so screwed up that it might actually be healthy for the sport for GMs to see more of a connection between spending money and winning.

    Along those lines, I was watching last night and thinking about how unlikely it was that Josh Hader would still be healthy and dominant when he gets to free agency after 2023.
     
  22. terrynever

    terrynever Member SoSH Member

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    Baseball has always broken young pitchers, especially back in the old days when pitch counts were a point of pride instead of a cautionary sign post. Just among Yankee pitchers from the late 1950s, these pitchers had short careers after impactful beginnings: Bob Turley, Tommy Byrne, Johnny Kucks and Ryne Duren. The only difference is nobody kept track back then.
    Pawtucket’s Chet Nichols, who broke in with the Boston Braves, developed elbow trouble after finishing second to Willie Mays in the 1951 ROY voting. Chet stuck around for 10 years as a lefty reliever because, as he once told me with a twinkle in his eyes, “I learned how to make the ball go down.”
     
  23. Patek's 3 Dingers

    Patek's 3 Dingers lurker

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    Why do minor league players need to be paid more? Whatever they are receiving now, seems to be enough as there hundreds of them.

    The players that don't receive bonuses have to weigh possible MLB riches against the opportunity cost of a 3-5 year commitment. Athletes in other sports have to make the same decision and so do young people who move out to L.A. hoping to be movie stars
     
  24. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    "Most players in the minor leagues are paid less than $7500 for the entire year," said one critical advocate for the Minor League players that wished to remain anonymous. "Even in Double-A--two steps from the major leagues--most guys are making wages that put them below the federal poverty guidelines. And regardless of the level, players are not paid during spring training; in essence they are required to work for 50+ hours per week for free. That should not happen in any industry, much less a $12 billion industry."

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/mauryb...-and-the-minimum-wage-exemption/#58185e9a3c21
     
  25. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    NBA G league salaries just increased to $35k a year with some special cases getting upwards of $125k.
    In the NFL, practice squad players get paid a minimum of $7600 per week.
    An AHL player makes a minimum of $45,000 a year.
    An AAA player in his first year makes $2150 a month and a rookie level player makes about $1100. As Jon Abbey noted, most players make less than $7500 for the year.

    One of those things is not like the other.
     
  26. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Bumping this with the actual salary numbers for 2018, down a collective $115M from 2017, so just doing very rough math, around $4M per team or 160K for each of 25 players, meaning the average player's salary went down maybe $150K last year. That is crazy and confirms a lot of what we have talked about here the last year in more concrete terms (and the two GM statements in my sig). I am not sure if we know the equivalent revenue numbers for both years now, but I bet those did not go down.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/mauryb...cond-largest-decline-since-2004/#af75724e474a

    This is so unhealthy for the sport, drives me nuts.
     
    #176 jon abbey, Dec 18, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  27. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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  28. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    Young people who move to LA hoping to be movie stars aren’t drafted by a movie studio and then prevented from negotiating with anyone else for at least 6 years and potentially as many as 10. You can’t be a minor league free agent until you have 6 years in, but at that point the team can put you on the 40 man roster and control you for 3 more option years, and if you were drafted before your 18th birthday they get a 4th option year. 10 years of basically being an indentured servant—in America—in the 21at century.

    The minor league system in baseball really, really needs to be destroyed.
     
  29. nvalvo

    nvalvo Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Not anymore.
     
  30. keninten

    keninten lurker

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    I`ve always liked an out of the box discussion especially at this slowest time of the off season. This may get shot down pretty quick but what about players get paid for play. Players would still negotiate a deal with teams but on top of that salary every team would pay into a fund that would be distributed to the players on a set of stats such as PA and IP. The biggest problems with are if the players would go for something like this. If a player misses time it would effect his pay but the player picking up his stats would be rewarded. This is why I propose a negotiated salary and stat compensation. Their are alot of complications especially with the more stats that are in play. Defense would be hard. Would Mookie want to be in CF if they are compensated for putouts. Putouts would also make a 1B rich. That`s why I`m keeping it simple and just discussing PA and IP (or something to measure pitching). If each team contributed $50 mil that would be $1.5 bil to be distributed. Each team gets about 6200 PA a year that would figure to $4032.25 per PA (at half of the $1.5 bil). For 600 PA a year that is $2,419,350. IP would be very hard to figure. SP can get 200 IP but an elite closer maybe 80. So why would anyone want to close? A 6th or 7th SP could get more IP. There are about 1450 IP per team. IP might not be the way to go. I`ve always thought maybe each individual inning could get a different value but their are to many flaws with that. Anyways I`d like to hear some ideas and criticisms on this. Merry Christmas SOSH.
     
    #180 keninten, Dec 27, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  31. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    Well, in the AL in 2017, the range of putouts by first basemen by teams ranged from 1166 to 1410, which is almost a 21% difference. That is a matter of luck and pitching staff and it wouldn't be exactly fair to pay fielders for for putouts and giving a bonus for Gold Gloves I also don't think is a fair idea as their has been a tendency to keep awarding the same player (see Rafael Palmirez, who won at first base in 1997 and 1998, then again in 1999 when he only played 28 games at that position; Jim Kaat won 16 consecutive as a pitcher with his 8th coming in a season when he had an .826 FA and his last when he had an .897 FA). If position players are paid by plate appearance then some will get upset if they are removed for a pinch hitter, and things like that.
     
  32. keninten

    keninten lurker

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    That`s why I said I`d keep it simple with just PA and IP(or something to measure pitching). Yeah players could get upset about being PH for but that happens anyway along with pitchers being taken out. I don`t know how the PH would react either to the hitter being pissed off. He`s on the team to get paid also. Maybe it couldn`t work nowadays because of entitlement.
     
  33. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    I don’t know all the answers either but a good start would be giving teams one less year of team control on players.
     
  34. Apisith

    Apisith Member SoSH Member

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    Either that or all players become a FA after their age 28 season, for example. It leaves around 2-3 prime years and then they decline. This will help them get bigger contracts. Teams are just gaming the system right now and hoarding young talent.
     
  35. Apisith

    Apisith Member SoSH Member

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    I have no idea how Tony Clark still has a job. By the end of this CBA, he’ll have cost the players something like $1bn.
     
  36. Fred not Lynn

    Fred not Lynn Dick Button Jr. SoSH Member

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    I think how you view is depends on the lens you’re seeing it through. The reality is that the low minors aren’t where you actually start getting paid to play baseball - they’re more where you stop paying to play baseball...it’s more like a free travel-ball program than it is a job.
     
  37. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    I know we're all replying to a 2 month old post, but by that logic there shouldn't be a minimum wage for anyone, because someone would take a job at a lower price.
     
  38. Fred not Lynn

    Fred not Lynn Dick Button Jr. SoSH Member

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    But it isn’t a “job”, per se. Not only would people do it for less, most people in the world who do it PAY for the privilege.

    Sport (and the arts, too) doesn’t fit neatly into the realm of gainful employment.

    Another piece to note; it’s a legit thing that some players’ financial reward for a minor league career isn’t the pay they get for playing, but rather the credential it gives you towards a future career in coaching/instruction as a cog in the youth sports industrial complex.

    The people making real money in baseball other than actual major league players are the people in the travel team, tournament and showcase racket...
     
    #188 Fred not Lynn, Dec 28, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  39. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

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    Of course it's a job. They have contracts that mandate what they do and when. The product of their labor is sold for their employer's benefit. They are prohibited from plying their trade for a different employer.

    Some people design video games for fun, but you'd better bet Blizzard's employees are governed by the same employment laws as (almost) everyone else.
     
  40. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

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    Or you simply remove the artificial arbitration limits. You can maintain 6 years of control, but you have to pay someone what they're worth as soon as they prove it. Rookie salaries would still be league minimum, but starting in the second year they can get up to whatever the market rate would be for that player.

    I recognize this would totally screw the Red Sox over the last few years with Betts, Benintendi, Bogaerts, and Bradley making a whole lot more. But maybe they wouldn't have signed Hanley and Pablo at all if that were the case. Or they would have been signed for much, much less since it was clear the team is buying the decline years.
     
  41. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Straw Man

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    Why not a free market? No draft. No team control or salary arbitration. Every player a free agent when they’re not on a contract. Like nearly all other jobs.
     
  42. NDame616

    NDame616 will bailey SoSH Member

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    Because no owner, team, or the MLBPA would agree to anything like that?

    Also, it is a free market. You can start up dhappy's baseball league and try to get HS/college/international talent to play for you instead of MLB.
     
  43. Apisith

    Apisith Member SoSH Member

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    How do you define market rate if the team is guaranteed control? Market rate means what the market would pay but how would you know what that was if it was guaranteed that the team still has control?

    Baseball’s economics can’t change so much that low payroll teams can’t compete, so the years of control have to be there. Either that or much more revenue sharing to create NFL-like parity.
     
  44. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

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    How do players in their last year of arbitration end up making $20+ million a year? Just move that process up to year two. They probably won't be getting quite that much since their track record of performance is only one year, but it should scale up much more quickly.


    There's already a lot of revenue sharing in MLB. No team needs to go full Marlins to break even. But yes, there will be a big change for low payroll teams. If young players make a lot more money, older players on the downside of their careers will make less, so maybe more of them end up with the Rays and Brewers than the Angels and Giants.

    If the goal is to make sure players get their share of the revenue generated by the league and teams have figured out that free agents are never worth what you pay them, then the only option is to pay the players more when they're more productive.
     
  45. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Exactly, and veteran players have to realize this system isn't working for them either, here is an Olney tweet from earlier today:

    "Eight weeks into this offseason, there are about 200 unsigned free agents. Six players have signed contracts of three years or more."
     
  46. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    Major League Baseball is exempt from anti trust laws that would apply to any startup. Plus, for people who’ve taken more than one economics course, you know that network externalities are very real for professional sports. Not a competitive market at all.
     
  47. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Straw Man

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    Not only hypothetical alt-MLB startups, but most other businesses. Imagine if Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and two dozen other tech companies could “draft” college engineering talent, obtain exclusive bargaining rights for services and impose a more-or-less fixed below-market salary structure (subject to arbitration under certain circumstances) for the first six-to-10 years of employment.

    Or if law firms could draft the top law school students and had exclusive bargaining rights with graduates...

    I’m not saying it’s a good thing or a bad thing that MLB does not operate under free-market principles, especially with regard to labor, i.e. players. Or rather, most players.
     
    #197 dhappy42, Dec 28, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  48. Fred not Lynn

    Fred not Lynn Dick Button Jr. SoSH Member

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    These leagues literally do exist, though...and in some ways are able to eke out an existence...for the most part in markets MLB and MiLB aren’t in, with players MLB and MiLB don’t want.
     
  49. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Sorry, I just saw this...

    But the reason it's a business is because these guys are the 750 or so in the world who are the best at it, and people want to pay to watch them. That's where the revenues are generated from that the players should get their fair share of, ideally at least a few notches more closely connecting to actual production.

    One way to test would be quietly replacing Betts with Brentz next season and see if it hurts attendance at all. The names are really similar... :)
     
  50. Fred not Lynn

    Fred not Lynn Dick Button Jr. SoSH Member

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    I didn’t say it wasn’t a business, I said it wasn’t a traditional “job”...and I wasn’t really taking about the 750 well paid players, I more meant the legions of MiLB, Indy, and sundry other “professional” players whose income barely covers what it costs for them to play.
     

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