Contracts may appear crazy, but teams’ revenue increases vastly outstrip player salary increases

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The majority of people weighing in on Miguel Cabrera’s new deal are going to exclaim how crazy it is and how baseball players are overpaid, but it’s probably worth remembering that since 2002, baseball player total salaries, as a share of new revenue, have declined from 56 percent to 40 percent. And that as average payroll has gone up by 58 percent in that time, team revenue has gone up by 122 percent.

That comes from Matt Swartz of The Hardball Times, who drops some Econ 101 on us about these things — with lots of graphs and data and stuff — concluding that, while eyes continue to pop every time a new contract is signed, baseball players are getting increasingly smaller pieces of the growing baseball revenue pie.

So, lament the “greedy” players all you want. But don’t forget to think about what the owners are making these days. And that’s without even picking up a bat or a glove.

Kyle Schwarber: Before and After

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It’s always a bit deceiving to see offseason workout photos of players who are said to be getting into great shape because guys in those pics are wearing compression shirts and crap and we’re used to seeing them in baseball uniforms. I remember pics of Miguel Cabrera and David Ortiz in the offseason looking svelte, only to see them in uniform come spring as their familiar beefy selves. Uniforms are often loose and billowy and the players wear  a couple of layers when they’re suited up, so at least visually speaking it’s better to compare apples to apples.

Which brings us to Kyle Schwarber. All offseason long we’ve been getting reports about Schwarber working out, losing weight and, of course, getting into The Best Shape of His Life. And some of those pics have definitely shown a young man who has cut fat and gotten lean. Good for him!

Let’s see how that translates to Schwarber in uniform. Here is is at spring training last year:

MESA, AZ – FEBRUARY 21: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 21, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

 

Here he is toward the end of last season:

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 09: at Wrigley Field on September 9, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

And here he is now:

MESA, AZ – FEBRUARY 20: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 20, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

Nice goin’, kid.