Overpay Me: An MLB Story

I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this, and by no means am I comparing apples to oranges like so many fools do. You’ll get no, “Teachers and cops only make X amount of money and baseball players make how much?!”

It’s a market.

MLB created something, and they pay their players what they are worth in that market.

It’s not fair, no. But life isn’t fair.

That’s not what I’m saying.

Here’s what I’m saying. It’s out of control. Players are overpaid, and there’s no end in sight.

Max Scherzer turned down a six-year, $144M contract with the Tigers at the beginning of the 2014 season. Who could blame him? His agent was Scott Boras – a man known for milking teams and their senile owners for every last penny on the table. Scherzer didn’t have his best season, but it didn’t matter, because he gambled correctly, and now he’ll get millions of dollars to watch baseball from the comfort of his own home for at least the last few years of his contract. The Nationals are paying him $210M over the next seven years. The details aren’t important. The total sum is.

Giancarlo Stanton will make $325M over the next thirteen seasons, the last few of which he will probably resemble a bloated, less athletic, reddened version of himself (See Giambi, McGwire). The Marlins have finally gone all in on something.

I watched the press conference in which a boastful and irreverent President of Baseball Operations David Samson sat smugly next to Stanton, and owner Jeffrey Loria wiggled greasily on the other side of Stanton, answering questions he thought he was being asked, not the questions he was actually being asked. The resolute stupidity and arrogance of the Marlins front office has no limits, and it was on full display during the presser. During the press conference, Stanton was the only one who seemed to have respect for the situation.

Such is the nature of baseball. Moneymen and their minions, doing what’s best for themselves and the future of themselves.

Next up is David Price. The Tigers are expected to overpay for him. Oh, and guess what? He’s a better pitcher than Max Scherzer.

Never mind Alex RodriguezMiguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols and all those other guys. Whether they’re good or not, they signed deals that will pay them commensurate with their talents (at the time of the signing) and with the current market of Major League Baseball.

What I want to know is, when will it stop? Every year the record for largest contract is broken, and while it’s a wonderful sign of baseball’s health, it’s one hell of a thing to think that Giancarlo Stanton just earned a third of a billion dollars for being able to hit a round ball with a round bat. It’s a hell of a thing to think that Americans love sports so much that MLB is able to pay their players this much. Where are my organic, free range hot dogs?

I don’t know if it’s bad. I like baseball. I just think it’s kind of disturbing and gross, and it’s only going to get grosser.

But hey, “If you build it, they will come.”

Baseball built it. They came.

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Tomas Laverty
Tomas Laverty, frequent contributor to the MLB section, runs a Detroit web design company called Detroit Spaces.