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.
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.