Friday, November 21, 2014

Rise of Baseball Salary

Mitch Lewis
Staff Writer

 The past decade in baseball have seen some of the most lucrative contracts in baseball history. It seems every year that a new rising superstar signs a $150 million dollar deal and every year teams reach new ground in paying their players.
  In 2014 alone, three players signed $200 million or greater contracts. These players were: Clayton Kershaw, Joey Votto and Robinson Cano. These three players however are three of the most talented baseball players in the game, not only in Major League Baseball but in the world. Just last year the baseball world was shocked by a Felix Hernandez deal that was worth $25 million per year and will only grow greater as his contract continues. Currently, the highest paid baseball player is Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. This year Clayton made $30.7 million, the single largest salary in baseball history.
  The Los Angeles Dodgers have the highest payroll in baseball right now of nearly $240 million. The team in second place is a full $30 million dollars behind them being the New York Yankees. In 2014 the team with the lowest payroll is the Houston Astros, with a payroll that doesn't even break 45 million. Currently, the best player on the Astros, Jose Altuve, made $1.25 million dollars while breaking the Astros single season hits record and winning the American League Batting title. Altuve was worth a total of six WAR or wins against replacement, meaning he gives the team six extra wins than if a replacement level player. Felix Hernandez may as well be the best pitcher in the American League as he was worth 6.8 WAR in his 2014 season. The main differences between these two players is the salary. Felix Hernandez made $22.8 million his season, one of the highest salaries in baseball. Altuve was worth .8 WAR less than Felix but Felix made $21 million more than Altuve. This is due mainly to the fact that Felix Hernandez ten seasons in Major League Baseball Compared to Altuve’s three. I don’t believe that simply because you have played longer, you deserve an absurd contract that is worth more money than you could possibly need to spend. Major League Baseball players play a sport that they love for a living. The average American makes around $46,000 dollars, Felix Hernandez earned almost $700,000 dollars for each game he appeared in (34). In my opinion, athletes are paid gross amounts of money that the players frankly don’t need. Players such as Joey Votto are paid tens of millions of dollars but then are stricken with injuries that forces them to miss the majority of the season. Why invest so much money into people that could become inconsistent or injuries? These salaries are often reached because players demand their salary based on their peers salary. This started with Alex Rodriguez when he signed a record 10 year $252 million dollar deal with the Texas Rangers. After this contract, players started demanding more and more money per year inflating contracts and exploding payrolls.
   After this years’ World Series, the Third Basemen of the championship winning San Francisco Giants, Pablo Sandoval was offered a $15.3 million dollar qualifying offer to be under contract for the next season. Pablo quickly declined the offer in pursuit to find a better deal worth more money. Pablo Sandoval earned $8.25 million dollars last year and produced a disappointing season in which he was barely above league average at both the plate and in the field. Pablo however has been very successful in the past three World Series’ he has appeared in, winning it in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Pablo also has a reputation of coming up clutch in the playoffs. While I have already made it evident that I don't believe any player should be making so much money, I especially don’t believe that a player who has not lived up to expectations for three years straight, should garner a contract worth $100 million dollars. While players are the main attraction of the game, I believe that they could make more than enough money on endorsement and commercial involvement along with their contract to cause any uproar from the players. Just 17 years ago, Albert Belle earned $10 million which was more than any other player up to that point. Albert Belle was a perennial all star who finished in the Top 5 in the MVP voting for four years straight. Brian Wilson, a reliever who was coming off of injury, was given a contract of $10 million and he proceeded to perform extremely sub par and hurt the Dodgers more than he helped them. Now it seems that every player makes at least $10 million, players earn this kind of money solely for playing longer than others, the longer they play, no matter how effective, they always demand more and more money.
  I personally believe that no player should earn more than $12 million dollars a year and that teams should maintain a salary cap of $115 million dollars This would prevent the inflation of contracts and the unnecessary paying of tens of millions of dollars to people who play what is simply a childs game.

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