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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Baseball spending is here to stay

Major League Baseball free agency has been underway for about a month now, and saying the floodgates have been opened might not do it justice. The Miami Marlins gave 25-year-old superstar Giancarlo Stanton the largest contract in MLB history at 13 years and $325 million. That’s about one-third of a billion dollars.

Feel free to pick up your jaw from the floor anytime now.

Stanton may not have been a free agent, but his unbelievable contract is only going to set the stage for a young player like Mike Trout. $200 million contracts are going to look like chump change over the next couple years.

There are penalties for exceeding certain levels of spending, but the lack of a hard salary cap means these contracts are just going to keep rising.

Don’t believe it? Just look at some of the other contracts that have been given out so far this offseason.

Pablo Sandoval, fresh off two World Series victories, and Hanley Ramirez, coming off a solid campaign with the LA Dodgers, got $95 million and $88 million respectively from the Boston Red Sox. Sure, the Red Sox have big money, but having money and spending money are two different things.

They’re certainly not afraid to spend money and likely aren’t done spending either.

31-year-old catcher Russell Martin took a $82 million deal from the Toronto Blue Jays to move from the Pittsburgh Pirates. As the only realistic starting catcher on the free agent market, Martin was bound to get overpaid.

More low key but still large, Nelson Cruz signed a $57 million contract with the Seattle Mariners and Victor Martinez signed a $68 million deal with the Detroit Tigers.

It’s telling that two deals of at least $57 million are considered low key when compared to some of these other deals. The trend of spending is not going to go away, either. The New York Yankees spent $471 million on free agents alone last offseason. Just think about that number. It doesn’t even take into account the entire offseason spending.

Looking at this year’s free agent market, pitchers like James Shields, Max Scherzer and Jon Lester look primed for deals north of $100 million. Each is at least 30 years old but is a free agent at the right time. Those are just the top tier guys; mid-level free agents are getting anywhere in the $5 million to $12 million range.

All this spending has to raise some red flags in front offices around the league. Bad contracts are the easiest way to stay out contention. They might not be contenders anymore, but look at the Arizona Diamondbacks. They gave Cody Ross $26 million and Bronson Arroyo $23.5 million over the past couple of years, two contracts that look absolutely awful now and have changed offseason plans for the last two seasons.

As spending increases, teams which built through the draft like the Chicago Cubs look like outliers.

In summation, Major League Baseball has set the stage for spending among major Northern American sports leagues. The NBA will follow suit in the next couple of years and the NFL shouldn’t be too far behind.

If you have any sort of chance to become a professional baseball player, I’d get on that as soon as possible, because that’s where the money is.


Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter.

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