So happy for the Chicago Cubs. Clearly they were the much better team and they deserved to win. It’s time for them break this drought. The country is cheering for you – Go Cubs!
Every year when the Dodgers collapse in the post season I always take a look at the salary table and contemplate the concept of how “dead money” works in the MLB. And this year more than ever I think that the Major League Players Association (the union) stranglehold on the flow of the 32 MLB teams money has got to come to an end. The players union is closer to an organized crime racket than any other union in America, even more than the Teamsters and that’s saying a lot.
Yes, it’s great that most players come up through the ranks and have to play at a high level for a few seasons to finally reach arbitration and then get big contracts – that’s a great thing within MLB – for instance, Corey Seager who was one of the Dodgers core stars this year got paid $510,000 – that’s it. But the fairness and work ethic structure ends there.
The Dodgers had more than $70 million spent this year on players on the DL or in retained salaries (released or traded.) What other industry allows this to happen? For instance, if you suck at your job (Carl Crawford) and then get FIRED and no other team wants your services, why should you get paid 100% of your salary ($21M)? This makes no sense. Literally it makes no sense – again, no other industry would allow such a scandal to occur (except for top tier CEO compensation packages.)
It’s almost impossible to fix because the moment the owners or the league take steps to address this there would be a strike and an immediate walk out from the players. I think many of the players are whiny and unfair – sorry, but it’s true. Yes, we come to see them and not the owners but still, be reasonable.
I don’t care if it’s popular amongst players or not but I propose the following three conceptual changes and rules:
1.) If a player has an injury that is season ending they get no more than 50% of their salary (tough break, but that’s life)
2.) If a player is released due to poor performance, and no other team picks them up, they get no more than 25% of their salary (The Carl Crawford example)
3.) Once an MLB player get to Arbitration 3 (when big money starts to be on the table) all contracts should be incentive based – like Kenta Maeda’s this year – a solid base of $1M then layers upon layers on incentives (his reached over $13M this year which is more than fair and equitable) – that way there is more incentive for millionaire players to play their ass off. Let’s face it the hunger for a World Series ring just isn’t enough for 21st Century baseball players to play hard. It can’t be proven but I’m willing to say it’s a near certainty than when the majority of MLB players becomes millionaires that they loose a little bit of passion and hunger for winning.
Those three issues alone would completely change the dynamic of baseball and I think create a more competitive atmosphere by allowing teams to have more freedom to adapt when things don’t work out during the season.
It’s worth noting that I think this potential extra money that teams could have would NOT entirely go into owners pockets or profit pools but rather go into the general operating fund for flexibility. Sure, some could go to profit pools because I’m happy to say that I don’t think that Jason Schmidt (a few years back for the Dodgers) should have walked away with $40 million bucks for pitching 10 games. It’s robbery. Literally, free money. Why should he get than more than the owners for doing nothing for the team?
It’s complicated and controversial because we love the players and not the front office, sure. But the NBA and NFL both have structures that aren’t as rigid as the MLB – how the MLB got to this point is a long and windy history lesson. It’s bullshit and needs to end now.