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The world of Major League Baseball was sort of turned upside down recently when NL Cy Young award winner Trevor Bauer inked a three-year deal with the World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers that will pay him $102 million.
There are provisions in the deal that allow him to opt out after just one season, meaning that Bauer is basically playing for $40 million in 2021.
Many fans on social media were quick to point out when the deal was announced that Bauer’s deal is higher than the ENTIRE PAYROLL of a handful of teams around baseball, including a team that won their division in 2020, the Cleveland Indians, who right now have a team payroll estimated at just over $38 million.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins are three other teams that are being frugal in their offseason spending to say the least.
Bauer isn’t to blame here. With no salary cap, the game itself allows such things to happen.
Things got even more out of whack on Wednesday evening when young Padres slugger Fernando Tatis Jr. inked a record-breaking 14-year deal worth $340 million.
If Tatis is around to finish out the contract, he’ll be 36 years old when it runs out.
Again, a massive flaw in the economics of the game.
Another player who last season cashed in during free agency was pitcher Gerrit Cole, inking a nine-year contract with the New York Yankees that will pay him $324 million.
Cole had no problem signing on the bottom line of a deal that pays him $36 million a year, but after the Bauer deal and then Wednesday’s Tatis deal, he came out and went after the teams that CAN’T AFFORD to pay players $300 million or more – accusing them of tanking.
The words of Cole might not mean a whole lot, but he is one of the leaders in the MLB Players Association.
“We have clubs that aren’t competing. That aren’t doing right by their fan bases. Clubs that win multiple World Series and then tear it all down,” Cole said via SNY’s Andy Martino on Twitter.
“I worry that we’re losing generational fans.”
Cole is spot on about losing fans long term, but until baseball and the MLBPA come to some agreement (not going to happen) to stop spending massive amounts on one player here, one player there, this is just going to keep happening over and over.
Right now, the Dodgers projected 2021 payroll is at $226 million, followed by Cole’s team the Yankees at $192 million.
Cleveland’s current projected payroll – $38 million.
Cole’s got a point, but coming up with any sort of solution is going to be easier said than done.