The Greedy

Full disclosure: this was written well in advance to the midnight deadline, so if camp Boras leads a mass exodus of first round holdouts, I didn’t know at the time.

If a draft pick holds out, it’s always his fault. Either he’s greedy or Scott Boras is an insult to the game, maybe a mixture of both. Let a non-Strasburg draftee, like say, Donovan Tate (Note: he actually signed during the writing process, hypothetical!) go unsigned and see how many columnists, radio hosts, and fans turn him into a villain.

When it comes to money matters, the players are always, always, always wrong in the eyes of the public. I would guess it has to do with the loyalty factor. Most fans are fans of teams, not random high school or college players. Sure, you may like the new draft pick, and have high hopes for him, but you didn’t go to Padres.com on draft day and order a Tate jersey like you do with the NFL and NBA draft picks. Odds are fans have never seen the average draftee play – unlike the other sports – and thus there’s nothing to hang your hat on. He’s a mostly faceless entity trying to “extort” as much money out of the team as possible.

Except the players have every right to be selfish in these cases. The ones who do make it to the pros – and not many of any given draft class will – are essentially entering indentured servitude for the first three years. Only after three years of service do players get a share of the money they’ve earned and potentially get a nice free agent contract. That’s only for a small subset of these players, the rest are looking at their only real payday through baseball and have every right to try and get as much as possible.

The side that always backs the owners has some decent points as well. Why should the owners have to pay extra when the player is likely to flame out before reaching the majors? And why should the owners have to deal with the scorned lectures from Bud Selig when they go over slot?

The only solution is for a hard-slotting system. Either take slot or your rights are retained by the drafting team for the next six or seven years. As a concession for stabilized draft payouts, the owners would have to give back to the players, perhaps lowering the amount of service time required for free agency. Of course, the owners probably spend more money through this system than the other, but only in the long-run.

I’m not saying I have the answers or that either side is without some blame in the equation, but I am saying it’s a bit unfair to peg every teenager or twenty-something looking for a few hundred thousand over slot as a greedy villain.



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DBA455
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DBA455

“The only solution is a hard-slotting system.”??? How about … the free market?

PhD Brian
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PhD Brian

no a free market for just rookies is unfair because at best the large market teams sign everyone good and the small market teams lose, at worst the market breaks down. Bonuses for players would go through the roof because each individual player is unique and thus has no true competition for his services. The best player in each draft can charge monopoly rents (IE theoretically an unlimited amount of money) and this market potentially breaks down and no one signs if no team can afford the best guy. There is no true competition since he is the best player. And this could happen at each position on the team theoretically. If the marjet does not break down, then best player signs for as much as the yankees (or whoever) can afford, then the next player can then charge a nearly unlimited amount since he has a monopoly on talent at that point. This is all because players are not easily interchangeable at the top talent levels. The best player has a monopoly on being the best talent. He charges unregulated monopoly rents (theoretically whatever he wants to charge). This market breaks down easily and noone signs.
You could alleviate most of this by creating more competition through an annual free market signing of every player in the world, but the continuity of uniforms would not exist at all. This is possible because existing players have major league stats, and therefore can be directly compared. This ruins the market for rookies big paydays because the players with stats would go for more than those without them in most cases. But, teams would change entire rosters every year. The team with the most money and health would almost always win. Teams would have no incentive to develop players, rookies would be paid almost nothing, and the top players would be paid more than they are paid now, but only for a year. I am unsure if many players would still play baseball under this system.

Matt
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Matt

You know that baseball already has a free market pool of rookies right, right? It’s called Latin America.

Toffer Peak
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Toffer Peak

Wow, please tell me your PhD is not in economics. Your understanding of economics, monopoly power, and labor economics is astonishingly flawed.

j reed
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j reed

“Wow, please tell me your PhD is not in economics. Your understanding of economics, monopoly power, and labor economics is astonishingly flawed.”

If this is the case, then prove why it is flawed. I’m not a PhD in economics in fact I’ve never had an economics class, so maybe i missed something obvious, but shouldn’t criticism at the very least, come with an explanation.

Toffer Peak
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Toffer Peak

Sure, Wikipedia Monopoly, Economics and Labor Economics. You can also check any economics textbook or journal that you want. In no place will you find a legitimate economist argue that, “The best player in each draft can charge monopoly rents (IE theoretically an unlimited amount of money) and this market potentially breaks down and no one signs if no team can afford the best guy. There is no true competition since he is the best player.”

Um how did A-Rod (the best available player) get signed to a contract? CC? etc. In a free market players will get paid approximately their marginal value to the team. They in no way will ever get “an unlimited amount of money”. Does that make any sense to you?

Seriously this was 2nd grade logic. It was simply fundamentally flawed and made no sense. You don’t even need to have taken an economics class to see the complete lack of any sense in this argument.

The Beatles have a monopoly on their music and do their CDs sell for “an unlimited amount of money”. Of course not, they pretty much sell for the exact same as other music CDs, $10~15. Players are no different.

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