Let’s Get Real

There were two major pieces of baseball news in the last 24 hours, both of which caused me to shake my head in disgust.  I find myself doing that a lot lately, and not just about baseball.

The first piece of major news was the announcement of the contract extension of Miguel Cabrera.  The Tigers forged an extension for Cabrera reportedly of 10 years in length for an estimated 292 million dollars.  That’s a lot of cash.  It’s also crazier than a bowlegged man trying to walk a tightrope across the Grand Canyon.

Cabrera will turn 31 years old in a few weeks.  He’s a big guy, with a body type that screams breakdown.  He’s also a one dimensional player.  Cabrera can hit, perhaps better than any other player in MLB.  But that’s all he can do.  He can’t run, and he plays defense at a very poor level.   His future is as a DH, because he has no other tool other than the hit tool.  Paying a one tool player almost 300 million dollars is simply pathologically insane.

Some will say if the team can afford to pay a player that much why not?  Because what Team A pays for Player A affects what Team B has to pay for Player B in the future.  Not all the teams have the financial resources of the Tigers.  The ever escalating player salaries will undercut all of the efforts put in to making baseball more fair and equitable.  Parity will disintegrate.  Teams with smaller payrolls will have no choice but to raise ticket prices in order to have the payroll to compete.  As ticket prices increase, attendance will decrease.  It is basic economics of supply and demand.  As prices go up, demand goes down.  It may not seem like that now; baseball is making record profits and people are still going to games.  But that peak will be reached at some point, that point being where revenue is maximized and the demand for baseball becomes increasingly elastic.

There has to be a ceiling if baseball is to survive.  Maybe when Mike Trout makes 500 million dollars, folks will start to wake up and smell the coffee.

The second piece of news that had me shaking my head was the announcement of the changes to baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement.  The essentials are that the penalty for a first offense is being raised from 50 games to 80 games.  The penalty for the second offense is increasing from 100 games to a full season without pay, and the third offense will result in a lifetime ban.

My response to these changes is one word:  lame.  Does MLB and the MLBPA seriously think that 30 more games of suspension is going to solve the problem?  First of all, 80 games is only half a season.  If MLB is in earnest about deterring PED use, then give some teeth to the penalty, by keeping the offender from playing baseball and getting paid for it for most of, if not all of, a season.  Secondly, why should a player who intentionally violates the rule get a third chance?  If he does it a second time, he should be out of baseball.  Period.

If you want to stop PED use rather than pay lip service to the problem, make the consequences really, really, really hurt.  Make it agonizing where it counts–in the wallet.  These changes don’t even come close to doing that.  On the pain scale it’s about a 4, maybe a 5 on a bad day.  Make them need morphine, not Advil, for the pain.  Anything less is just nibbling at the problem.

There isn’t enough Advil on the planet for my disgust.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. The team should have the option of voiding a contract.

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  2. I don’t believe the MLBPA would ever agree to that,

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  3. Exactly

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    • Not agreeing to voiding contracts does not preclude stiffer penalties. If the penalties are harsh enough, the threat of voiding a contract would not be necessary because missing a full season would make it more difficult to get a lucrative contract.

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      • blingboy

         /  March 31, 2014

        But if the guy already has a lucrative contract the team is stuck with him. In the case of a backloaded contract the player loses a low paying year but keeps the higher paying year(s), and the team gets screwed out of the cheaper year. Not fair to the team at all.

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  4. Jerry Modene

     /  April 1, 2014

    Well, it could be worse… MLB could have to pay minor leaguers as much as major leaguers… oh, wait…

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