Baseball Salaries Make No Sense To Me

zelmo

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 3, 2004
5,490
1
Mac since 7.5
I guess I just don't get it.
Maybe it's because I'm an O's fan (pleasegodhelpme) who watches while they sign past-their-prime players with big contracts (*cough* Sammy Sosa *cough*) who fail to produce, but it seems like every year there are sports figures who get ridiculous contracts based on a decent year (or half year) (*cough* Sidney Ponson *cough*) who then coast on past glory and do nothing productive until it comes time to bear down for that next contract year. Meanwhile, a young player comes up, making the league minimum (which, btw, ain't exactly a bad salary) and performs to a high level for several years before getting a chance for that same big pile o' cash.

I'd love to see a compensation system that rewards players based on their current performance, regardless of what they did last year or last decade. Players at each level of the farm system would get a standard monthly stipend based on the level they are in, and would then receive year-end bonuses based on actual performance. You know, at the major league level they'd get an extra $20,000 per save, or an extra $10,000 per home run. Or get bonuses for achieving significant thresholds (PA, IP, OBP) that point to a consistent and valuable contribution to the team.

Players would sign with the team they wanted to play for because, apart from the obvious impact available playing time would have on their potential pay, the salary structure would be locked in. No team would have as huge an advantage in the market as is possible now just because one owner has more cash to throw at the problem than another. Teams that had lots of superstars would likely draw more fans and get better TV ratings, to help fill the coffers to pay those high bonuses at year end.

I know, I know. I hear you thinking that such a system would place too much control in the manager's hands. He could easily (be told to) sit down a player with 39 homers to avoid the owner having to cough up the next bonus tier, etc. Not that I can imagine Peter Angelos ever getting involved in the team in such a way. :rolleyes: I don't pretend to have all (or any) of the answers. I'm just occasionally frustrated by the stupidity and greed in sports these days, and wondering how it can be fixed in a fair method.

/dumb rant
 

MacDawg

macrumors Core
Mar 20, 2004
19,708
4,274
"Between the Hedges"
The Mets have mastered this concept of overpaying over-the-hill players.

The baseball union is too strong to see massive changes, but it is out of control.

Reports out of ATL say that Leo Mazzone will be going to NYY.
Currently he is paid a reported $200,000
Unbelievable considering the player salaries and how valuable he has been to the Braves' run.

Woof, Woof – Dawg
 

gwuMACaddict

macrumors 68040
Apr 21, 2003
3,124
0
washington dc
Also an O's fan... tough season- did you hear that we signe Leo Mazzone to replace Ray Miller? I have to think that will help...

As for the pay... the O's haven't had a decent farm system in some time, and there are two ways to manage a team.

1. Braves style: Make the team great from the ground up, farm your younger players
2. Yankees style: Buy the proven players that other teams have farmed. This is what the O's have tried to do for the past decade, but they suck at it.

I prefer incentive laden contracts myself, the better you play, the more you earn
 

MacDawg

macrumors Core
Mar 20, 2004
19,708
4,274
"Between the Hedges"
gwuMACaddict said:
Also an O's fan... tough season- did you hear that we signe Leo Mazzone to replace Ray Miller? I have to think that will help...

As for the pay... the O's haven't had a decent farm system in some time, and there are two ways to manage a team.

1. Braves style: Make the team great from the ground up, farm your younger players
2. Yankees style: Buy the proven players that other teams have farmed. This is what the O's have tried to do for the past decade, but they suck at it.

I prefer incentive laden contracts myself, the better you play, the more you earn

You're right about Mazzone and the O's
Story here

Woof, Woof – Dawg
 

grapes911

Moderator emeritus
Jul 28, 2003
6,943
3
Citizens Bank Park
An owner taking control of playing time, especially for a team that is far behind in the standing, hurts everyone. It hurts the fans you want to see that player. It hurst the team by stealing wins from them even if they aren't going to make the playoffs.

And stats can't determine a players worth. Many good but not great players who are seen as overpaid, are not always overpaid by accident. Many of them are great team leaders and are invaluable to the team regardless if they only hit .250 with 65 RBIs and 45 Runs.

Also, you are protecting the owners from making a bad deal. Part of the game if to build a team and hopefully a dynasty. Determining a player's salary is part of the strategy.

What incentive do you have of getting players to play for you if you are a bad team? Most players would want to play for the best teams, making if very hard for the bad teams to get quality players. It teams would become even more unbalanced than it already is.

I think your idea, while well-intentioned, it a step in the wrong direction. Yes, something should be done. I'm in favor of a hard salary cap. The NHL hard cap is too new to tell if it is working. The soft cap of the NBA works to an extent, but I believe there are too many loopholes. The hard cap in the NFL is great. Yes, the Pats have dominated the league over the last few years. Yes, the Eagles have dominated the NFC over the last few years. Yes, some teams seemed to have sucked since the dawn of time. But it is common for a good team to fall off the next year. It is common for a couple of bad teams to make the playoffs the next year. Part of this is the fact that there is only 16 games per year. Part of this is that teams have a limit that they can spend and that they can cut the non-producers (with a cap hit of course).
 

Chundles

macrumors G4
Jul 4, 2005
11,981
364
That sort of money should be going to teachers, doctors, nurses, people who help people and make a difference in people's lives.

These people would be more of a role model (well, I don't like baseball, but I do love my cricket and rugby) to me if they weren't paid so much and instead were playing the game because they love to play the game. Now I'm all for making a living out of sport, but seriously, you don't need millions upon millions of dollars to make a living - most of these guys could cut their paycheques in 3 and still make a very comfortable living. People will argue that it's because many of them won't have a skill to fall back on when they quit, well, that's their own fault isn't it for not giving something a go when they had the time.

It just infuriates me that people who have a real influence nurses, teachers, doctors (yeah the doctors earn a lot of money but insurance gobbles that up pretty quickly, my uncle, a surgeon has to earn $100,000 a year before he can cover the cost of insurance because stupid people sue doctors who had to do something unexpected to save their lives) are struggling to get by whilst sports stars are getting stratospheric wages just for chasing a ball around every week.

It really ***** me.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
Location Location Location
powermac666 said:
I guess I just don't get it.
Maybe it's because I'm an O's fan (pleasegodhelpme) who watches while they sign past-their-prime players with big contracts (*cough* Sammy Sosa *cough*) who fail to produce, but it seems like every year there are sports figures who get ridiculous contracts based on a decent year (or half year) (*cough* Sidney Ponson *cough*) who then coast on past glory and do nothing productive until it comes time to bear down for that next contract year. Meanwhile, a young player comes up, making the league minimum (which, btw, ain't exactly a bad salary) and performs to a high level for several years before getting a chance for that same big pile o' cash.

I'd love to see a compensation system that rewards players based on their current performance, regardless of what they did last year or last decade. Players at each level of the farm system would get a standard monthly stipend based on the level they are in, and would then receive year-end bonuses based on actual performance. You know, at the major league level they'd get an extra $20,000 per save, or an extra $10,000 per home run. Or get bonuses for achieving significant thresholds (PA, IP, OBP) that point to a consistent and valuable contribution to the team.

Players would sign with the team they wanted to play for because, apart from the obvious impact available playing time would have on their potential pay, the salary structure would be locked in. No team would have as huge an advantage in the market as is possible now just because one owner has more cash to throw at the problem than another. Teams that had lots of superstars would likely draw more fans and get better TV ratings, to help fill the coffers to pay those high bonuses at year end.

I know, I know. I hear you thinking that such a system would place too much control in the manager's hands. He could easily (be told to) sit down a player with 39 homers to avoid the owner having to cough up the next bonus tier, etc. Not that I can imagine Peter Angelos ever getting involved in the team in such a way. :rolleyes: I don't pretend to have all (or any) of the answers. I'm just occasionally frustrated by the stupidity and greed in sports these days, and wondering how it can be fixed in a fair method.

/dumb rant
Um.....how do you pay players who are there as veteran leaders? How much value do you put into leadership?

How do you pay great defensive players? Lets say a great defensive player happens to not win a Gold Glove that year. Does he get paid as little as any other crap player because his strong suit is defense and yet he didn't win a Gold Glove?

How do you pay good middle-relief pitchers?

What about a player who is amazing, but plays for one of the worst teams? How does he get the RBIs and such?

What about a pitcher who plays for one of the worst defensive teams in the league, and seems to have bad numbers, but would be great on any team?


Oops, you shoulda gave it more thought. :p
 

zelmo

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 3, 2004
5,490
1
Mac since 7.5
grapes911 said:
An owner taking control of playing time, especially for a team that is far behind in the standing, hurts everyone. It hurts the fans you want to see that player. It hurst the team by stealing wins from them even if they aren't going to make the playoffs.
Agreed, and I'm not sure there is a way past this. Probably the dealbreaker, and a point I acknowledged/kinda conceded in the OP.
grapes911 said:
And stats can't determine a players worth. Many good but not great players who are seen as overpaid, are not always overpaid by accident. Many of them are great team leaders and are invaluable to the team regardless if they only hit .250 with 65 RBIs and 45 Runs.
True, stats don't tell the whole story. Just compare the dugout demeanor of Tejada and Palmeiro this year. I mean, before the steroids scandal. regardless of whether it should be considered or not, I don't think team chemistry has really been a factor in salary negotiations to date, so I don't see this as a step backwards. You could always haave a sliding base scale that trends upward the longer a player remains with a single team. Not exactly addressing your point, though.
grapes911 said:
Also, you are protecting the owners from making a bad deal. Part of the game if to build a team and hopefully a dynasty. Determining a player's salary is part of the strategy.
As opposed to a player who gets a "protected" $10,000,000 deal and only hits .240 with 16 HR to earn it? don't forget that this deal would also cost the owners by rewarding what would have been under-priced young talent with big bonuses to match big performances. It's not all rosy upside for the owners.
grapes911 said:
What incentive do you have of getting players to play for you if you are a bad team? Most players would want to play for the best teams, making if very hard for the bad teams to get quality players. It teams would become even more unbalanced than it already is.
If all the best players sign with all the best teams, how will they all get enough playing time to earn those big paychecks? I see what you're saying, but I also think players will go with lesser teams to get more time to shine (and earn), and that might start levelling out the playing field for the small market guys.
grapes911 said:
I think your idea, while well-intentioned, it a step in the wrong direction. Yes, something should be done. I'm in favor of a hard salary cap. The NHL hard cap is too new to tell if it is working. The soft cap of the NBA works to an extent, but I believe there are too many loopholes. The hard cap in the NFL is great. Yes, the Pats have dominated the league over the last few years. Yes, the Eagles have dominated the NFC over the last few years. Yes, some teams seemed to have sucked since the dawn of time. But it is common for a good team to fall off the next year. It is common for a couple of bad teams to make the playoffs the next year. Part of this is the fact that there is only 16 games per year. Part of this is that teams have a limit that they can spend and that they can cut the non-producers (with a cap hit of course).
Definitely well-intentioned, and most likely a step in the wrong direction. Just looking to shake things up a bit, and I don't see a model that works in any major US professional league. The NFL comes closest, though, as far as promoting parity. I defintely agree with you there.
Good dialogue, grapes911! :)
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,819
41
Andover, MA
My grandfather was signed to play for the Cardinals, then couldn't because he hurt his back at his job. Because back then, baseball was played by people who loved it, not cocky jocks looking for big bucks.

I say pay 'em $100/hour - which is certainly livable - and see who really wants to play.
 

grapes911

Moderator emeritus
Jul 28, 2003
6,943
3
Citizens Bank Park
Chundles said:
That sort of money should be going to teachers, doctors, nurses, people who help people and make a difference in people's lives...
It comes down to what the masses are willing to pay for. Teachers are generally paid for by the government and obviously the government wants to pay out as little as possible. Doctors are mostly paid by the insurance companies. They don't make much more than that because people can't afford the expensive procedures as it.

Baseball, and sport in general, is something people are willing to pay for. Going to a baseball game is very cheep entertainment. I can go to a Phillies game and get a $10 ticket for standing room only. My friends and I stand in the outfield and have a great time.

Sports make their money because of quantity. Many people pay relatively small amounts to go to games. Teams also make money on advertising. Big companies are willing to pay anything for good advertising. TV contracts also add to the wealth of teams.

Now, teams have all this money so what do they do with it? They do what any capitalist business would do--they spend money to make money. Buy outbidding other teams for good players, they can build a more competitive team and make more money in advertisements, TV, and ticket sales.

Would you rather have the teams keep the half billion they gross (totally an estimate, I have no idea what a MLB teams grosses)? Maybe they can no charge so much for services:
1. They can lower ticket prices - Well, tickets could always be lower, but they aren't ridiculous in price.
2. They could charge less in advertisements - does it matter if a baseball player makes an extra few million or of Coke cuts their marketing expense by half? Not in my opinion.
3. They could cut TV deals - So the TV station keeps more money. Much like the advertising.

In conclusion, it would be nice if people were paid by their wealth to society. But that is a little closer to socialism than capitalism. In capitalism businesses can spend and charge what they want.
 

zelmo

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 3, 2004
5,490
1
Mac since 7.5
Abstract said:
Um.....how do you pay players who are there as veteran leaders? How much value do you put into leadership?
In my reply to grapes911 I suggested a sliding base pay scale that trends upwards to reward tenure with a team.
Abstract said:
How do you pay great defensive players? Lets say a great defensive player happens to not win a Gold Glove that year. Does he get paid as little as any other crap player because his strong suit is defense and yet he didn't win a Gold Glove?
Fielding percentage is a statistical category. Maybe with a sliding scale based on total chances or total errors.
Abstract said:
How do you pay good middle-relief pitchers?
H+BB/IP ratio, or % of inheritied runners allowed to score.
Abstract said:
What about a player who is amazing, but plays for one of the worst teams? How does he get the RBIs and such?
SLG
Abstract said:
What about a pitcher who plays for one of the worst defensive teams in the league, and seems to have bad numbers, but would be great on any team?
maybe he should just ask to be traded. :p

Abstract said:
Oops, you shoulda gave it more thought. :p
Probably. ;) Never said I had all the answers.

Do you think the system works well as it is? What would you do to improve it?
 

grapes911

Moderator emeritus
Jul 28, 2003
6,943
3
Citizens Bank Park
jsw said:
My grandfather was signed to play for the Cardinals, then couldn't because he hurt his back at his job. Because back then, baseball was played by people who loved it, not cocky jocks looking for big bucks.

I say pay 'em $100/hour - which is certainly livable - and see who really wants to play.
I don't think any of them would stop playing. Where are they going to make more money than that?

Plus, they may be cocky jocks (actually many of them are, that is not even debatable), but don't underestimate the human desire for competition. I'd bet that most guys in the league would cut their salary for the year if it guaranteed them a championship (and I mean guaranteed them a championship, not just the chance to go to a better team). That $5,000 ring is worth much more than a couple million dollars to many of them.
 

emw

macrumors G4
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
Part of the problem with limiting players' salaries is that baseball as a business earns billions of dollars in revenue from TV, advertising, radio, etc. While I'd like to think that cutting player salaries would result in lower-cost tickets, etc., it's more likely to result in more dollars going to the ownership of the teams, since the likelihood of a "price cut" is probably minimal.

Like any other business, people are paid what the market will bear. I've worked with consultants making 1000s of dollars per day that didn't know any more than the people within the company, but had a perceived value because, well, they didn't work within the company. If people are willing to spend $100s of dollars on tickets to baseball (football, basketball, ...) games and Budweiser continues to spend millions on sponsorship, then salaries will continue to grow because we're willing to pay for it.

If people stop attending or watching games on TV, then revenue drops, and salaries will have to drop, and/or teams will start to go away because cities won't get enough tax revenue to warrant having them around.
 

mkubal

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2002
557
0
Tampa
Ok, don't give me this crap about the Orioles signing old fogies. :) The Tampa Bay D-Rays are the absolute best example of this in the entire league. To name a few: Wade Boggs, Fred McGriff, Jose Canseco, and Tino Martinez. I'm just waiting for them to trade away Carl Crawford or Rocco Baldelli for Bernie Williams and a couple fungo bats.

I cry for the Orioles, but I cry for the D-Rays more. What's the hope when you play in the same division with two teams who spend an obscene amount money on the best players in the league. :(

Although the D-Rays do own the Yankees. :D
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,819
41
Andover, MA
grapes911 said:
I don't think any of them would stop playing. Where are they going to make more money than that?

Plus, they may be cocky jocks (actually many of them are, that is not even debatable), but don't underestimate the human desire for competition. I'd bet that most guys in the league would cut their salary for the year if it guaranteed them a championship (and I mean guaranteed them a championship, not just the chance to go to a better team). That $5,000 ring is worth much more than a couple million dollars to many of them.
It'd be nice to try that just to see. It's sad just how rare it is to see the real love for the game on the player's faces when they play.
 

Chundles

macrumors G4
Jul 4, 2005
11,981
364
grapes911 said:
It comes down to what the masses are willing to pay for. Teachers are generally paid for by the government and obviously the government wants to pay out as little as possible. Doctors are mostly paid by the insurance companies. They don't make much more than that because people can't afford the expensive procedures as it.

Baseball, and sport in general, is something people are willing to pay for. Going to a baseball game is very cheep entertainment. I can go to a Phillies game and get a $10 ticket for standing room only. My friends and I stand in the outfield and have a great time.

Sports make their money because of quantity. Many people pay relatively small amounts to go to games. Teams also make money on advertising. Big companies are willing to pay anything for good advertising. TV contracts also add to the wealth of teams.

Now, teams have all this money so what do they do with it? They do what any capitalist business would do--they spend money to make money. Buy outbidding other teams for good players, they can build a more competitive team and make more money in advertisements, TV, and ticket sales.

Would you rather have the teams keep the half billion they gross (totally an estimate, I have no idea what a MLB teams grosses)? Maybe they can no charge so much for services:
1. They can lower ticket prices - Well, tickets could always be lower, but they aren't ridiculous in price.
2. They could charge less in advertisements - does it matter if a baseball player makes an extra few million or of Coke cuts their marketing expense by half? Not in my opinion.
3. They could cut TV deals - So the TV station keeps more money. Much like the advertising.

In conclusion, it would be nice if people were paid by their wealth to society. But that is a little closer to socialism than capitalism. In capitalism businesses can spend and charge what they want.

Yeah I know how the world works, I can still have the odd idealistic view of things.

All I'm saying is that it WOULD be better if the people who really make a big difference in the world were paid their fair share. I don't care how it could be done or what the consequences would be, I don't care if that's not capiitalism (I'm not a bare-knuckled capitalist but I'm no socialist either, hell, I'm using a Mac, I likes my material possessions...). All I'm doing is expressing an ideal that I think would be nice.
 

MacDawg

macrumors Core
Mar 20, 2004
19,708
4,274
"Between the Hedges"
Baseball has tried to change the salary structure on occasion, but they get taken to court for collusion. And, there is always a Steinbrenner who is willing to pay.

Woof, Woof – Dawg
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,819
41
Andover, MA
Chundles said:
Yeah I know how the world works, I can still have the odd idealistic view of things.

All I'm saying is that it WOULD be better if the people who really make a big difference in the world were paid their fair share. I don't care how it could be done or what the consequences would be, I don't care if that's not capiitalism (I'm not a bare-knuckled capitalist but I'm no socialist either, hell, I'm using a Mac, I likes my material possessions...). All I'm doing is expressing an ideal that I think would be nice.
So... we'll just pass a law saying that only people who've taught or been police officers, etc., for five years can play pro sports. Then they'd've paid their dues to society.

Yeah... that'll happen. ;)
 

grapes911

Moderator emeritus
Jul 28, 2003
6,943
3
Citizens Bank Park
Abstract said:
What about a player who is amazing, but plays for one of the worst teams? How does he get the RBIs and such?
This is a really good point that I missed on my first read through. A players salary is based on the other players on that team.

If player-x sets the all time hit record at 300 hits, he bats 4rd in the lineup, many of his hits are extra base his. He is on a terrible team. He only scores 40 runs and 40 RBIs because no one else can hit or even get on. His only production comes from home runs. Everyone knows that he is the best player in the league, hands down. How does he get paid? Does a lesser player get paid more because he is on a good team and put up better numbers?

I know this is an extreme example.


PS: I'm really loving this thread. :D
 

emw

macrumors G4
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
Chundles said:
All I'm saying is that it WOULD be better if the people who really make a big difference in the world were paid their fair share.
Wouldn't that be nice. Of course, that would mean I'd be living on the streets. :eek:

They've attempted to privatize schools, with only limited success. Given that we'd really have to completely revamp how schools are "fed" students and how parents can choose schools, there are a number of problems with trying to changing the funding.

Of course, even privatization would result in similar stratification of salaries. Inner city schools in Chicago don't have the tax base to support higher teacher salaries. In Schaumburg, where I live, the tax base from businesses and homes supports average teacher salaries of over $100,000 per year, with some topping out closer to $200,000 per year.

What kills me about this is that so many people without kids (either those that don't have them yet, or that have them but they are grown) won't support school budget increases to maintain services, etc. Sure, those increases need to be budgeted, but it's as if people who don't "use" the schools feel no responsibility to pay for them. Forget the fact that these schools are grooming the future leaders of our world.
 

Chundles

macrumors G4
Jul 4, 2005
11,981
364
jsw said:
So... we'll just pass a law saying that only people who've taught or been police officers, etc., for five years can play pro sports. Then they'd've paid their dues to society.

Yeah... that'll happen. ;)
Um, what? That's not what I said.

I said that pro sports players should be paid less and people who work hard to help people should be paid more.

You for to be not making none of the sense. ;)
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,819
41
Andover, MA
Chundles said:
Um, what? That's not what I said.

I said that pro sports players should be paid less and people who work hard to help people should be paid more.

You for to be not making none of the sense. ;)
No, I was actually agreeing with you with a twist of too-bad-that's-not-the-way-the-world-works thrown in.

It would be nice if you had to do a "valuable" job before being given the opportunity to make millions playing games. That's all I meant. It would reward people who actually did something useful first.
 

Chundles

macrumors G4
Jul 4, 2005
11,981
364
emw said:
Wouldn't that be nice. Of course, that would mean I'd be living on the streets. :eek:

They've attempted to privatize schools, with only limited success. Given that we'd really have to completely revamp how schools are "fed" students and how parents can choose schools, there are a number of problems with trying to changing the funding.

Of course, even privatization would result in similar stratification of salaries. Inner city schools in Chicago don't have the tax base to support higher teacher salaries. In Schaumburg, where I live, the tax base from businesses and homes supports average teacher salaries of over $100,000 per year, with some topping out closer to $200,000 per year.

What kills me about this is that so many people without kids (either those that don't have them yet, or that have them but they are grown) won't support school budget increases to maintain services, etc. Sure, those increases need to be budgeted, but it's as if people who don't "use" the schools feel no responsibility to pay for them. Forget the fact that these schools are grooming the future leaders of our world.
Yeah, budgets and stuff suck, but what I'm saying is "it would be nice" similar in vein to "it would be nice if I didn't have to ever pay rent again" never going to happen of course but that can't stop me thinking it.
 

grapes911

Moderator emeritus
Jul 28, 2003
6,943
3
Citizens Bank Park
MacDawg said:
Does the name Andy Messersmith ring a bell with anyone??
Curt Flood??

Woof, Woof – Dawg
Dawg,
Refresh my memory, it was before my time. That was the guy who challenged baseball and started free agency, right?

EDIT: ah, google. Looks like I was on the right track. I'm going to read a little more about Messersmith.