It’s hard to disagree with Michael Baumann’s rundown of the 25 worst contracts in baseball over at The Ringer. All of the stinkers are on it: Jose Altuve‘s terrible deal. Mike Trout‘s albatross of a contract. Sal Perez’s highway robbery of a pact. Adam Eaton‘s deal which, frankly, is hamstringing.
Wait, you say those are good deals? Well, silly, that’s because you’re seeing them from the team’s perspective, and not the players’:
In the grand scheme of injustices, athletes making less than they’re worth is a small one, but the rhetoric surrounding labor couldn’t be more important, because it shows up in our everyday lives. It’s not “bad” that a worker, particularly one who’s put in his time, negotiates a favorable contract with his employer. It’s not “good” that young workers sell off their future earnings cheaply in order to ensure some measure of long-term security, all so that billionaires can keep labor costs down.
A deal has two parties and a deal can be good or bad from either party’s perspective. Yet, as Baumann points out, fans almost uniformly talk about contracts that benefit the team more than the player as “good” and contracts which benefit the player more than the team as “bad.”
The billionaires who own baseball teams are quite happy that you do that, by the way. It’s in their best interests for you to think of them as benevolent protectors of some public trust rather than businessmen. It makes it easier for them to get you to pay for their new stadiums and stuff. It’s also in their best interests for you to think of their workers as greedy and overpaid because, well, business owners have always liked that in literally every industry ever.
You don’t have to think that way, though. You can, and maybe should, examine why, exactly, you do.
For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.
The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?
Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.
Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West
There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.
Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?
Our 2017 AL West Previews:
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim