“Baseball Agents-Good & Bad”
Day two of the Winter Baseball Meetings in Las Vegas, and all anyone wants to talk about are the marquee free agents, Bryce Harper and Many Machado.
Sure there have been some big trades, the Paul Goldschmidt deal to St-Louis, and there have been some mid-level free agent deals.
And there will be some more trades, talent for prospects in all likelihood.
And though this is a fun time for fans and maybe the media, it’s not a fun time for GMs, especially if your club is facing the tough decision, keep a quality player, or move him a year early before you lose him to free agency.
That’s what Goldschmidt to St-Louis was all about, and it happens in lots of major league cities on the US map.
The landscape of the game has changed to the point that hi powered player agents call a lot of the shots, and the all powerful baseball union carries clout too, with what they’ve negotiated thru the collective bargaining agreement.
Agents are good, helping shape deals, repping players, giving them advice, finding them pay-days.
The Union has done a phenomenal job with its clients, especially in terms of escalating salaries, termination fees, no trade clauses, health care and pensions.
But the power on their street corner has caused problems for clubs.
Now across the baseball landscape, teams hands are being forced. Move a key player before he becomes a free agent.
Trade a guy in his walk year with the hope you can get a bundle of young controllable prospects you can hang onto for a group of years to come, and hope they can play..
It’s happening everywhere. Teams say goodbye to players they really don’t want to part with, knowing the salary structure in the game won’t allow them to keep them going forward.
Baltimore had to move Machado. Pittsburgh did the same for cornerstone star Andrew McCutchen.
Cleveland is about to tear up its great young pitching staff. Arizona is being forced to purge its roster.
Of course you can scream at your local owners, you’re making money, you have a great TV contract, there is blissful revenue sharing checks you get, so ante up the money and keep your players. And there is some truth in that.
But in baseball, where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado’s agents are asking for 10Y-300M deals, the stars get paid well. But it drags up the salary structure of virtually every other player on the roster.
Do you know the average salary this year of players was 4.8M, a big jump from 4.1M in 2017 and 3.96M in 2016.
The bare bones minimum in baseball, the starting salary is 545,000 per player the first time he is on a roster.
It’s amazing how many mid-level players make 10-to-15M a year. It’s stunning utility men get 7M.
Everything in baseball keeps going up, including ticket prices. And there seems to be no end to it.
Fun time to see which players your teams GM will get. Sad times too, especially in a bunch of smaller markets, knowing your team can no longer afford to keep young talent.
Pittsburgh-Kansas City-Minnesota, even the Padres historically have said good bye to talent yearly. Not so much the Red Sox-Yankees-Dodgers, where they sign them, trade them, pay the luxury tax for them.
Agents and the Union are good, no doubt about it. But this money-contract issue has gotten so out of hand, it hurts lots of teams and hurts the fans, who follow the teams too.