Madison Bumgarner is an ace on a Hall of Fame trajectory. He is also, perhaps, the most underpaid player in the game. He’s making $11.5 million this year. He’s on $12 million team options for 2018 and 2019. This despite being a huge reasons the Giants have won three World Series titles since 2010.
Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com reports that both the Giants and Madison Bumgarner would like to get a contract extension sorted out for the ace. Yesterday, however, Bumgarner told reporters that he’s had no recent contract negotiations with the Giants. What gives?
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement mostly. As Buster Olney noted today, the Giants — and every other team — is treating the new, barely-growing luxury tax threshold as a defacto salary cap:
The luxury tax threshold was raised only slightly in the first years of the new deal, to $195 million this year, $197 million in 2018 and then $206 million, $208 million and $210 million in 2019-2021. There is a lot of indication since the agreement went into place that some teams are treating those thresholds as a salary cap, and the Giants are bumping against it . . . Because of how contracts are counted under the new CBA, with the average of each multi-year deal standing as the number used for luxury-tax purposes, the Giants can’t simply backload an extension to guarantee Bumgarner that he eventually be compensated.
Baseball teams have, for years, sought to cap player salaries, but never knew how to do it without illegally coordinating things. Tony Clark and the MLBPA gave teams a nice fat bogey to shoot for and a means of accomplishing it that eliminated the need to collude.