Report: Manny 'planning to' exercise $20 million option, stay with Dodgers

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Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that Manny Ramirez “is planning to exercise” his $20 million option for 2010 rather than test the free-agent market again following a season in which he was suspended for 50 games.
Ramirez remains a headache and he’ll be 38 years old next season, but had he accumulated enough plate appearances to qualify for the season-long leaderboards his .949 OPS would have ranked seventh among all NL hitters. His adjusted OPS+ of 149 would have ranked sixth in the league and was just slightly below his career mark of 155 (which happens to be the 25th-best OPS+ in baseball history).
And while much was made of Ramirez slumping down the stretch his .838 OPS after the All-Star break still put him in the league’s top 25, including ninth-best among outfielders. Love him or hate him Ramirez is still one of the elite right-handed bats in all of baseball and the Dodgers should be happy to welcome him back on what is essentially a one-year, $20 million deal.
Replacing his production would have meant either giving up tons of value in a trade or handing out a huge long-term contract to a free agent like Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. Compared to either of those options another season of Manny makes a lot of sense for a Dodgers team that went 59-40 (.600) with Ramirez in the lineup this year. He has until five days after the World Series to make his decision official.

Minor League Baseball teams sold over $70 million in merchandise in 2017

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Every so often here, we discuss the criminally low pay of Minor League Baseball players. Most of them make less than $7,500 a year, which includes the regular season as well as spring training, playoffs, and offseason training. The abysmal pay forces minor leaguers to eat unhealthy food, live in cramped quarters, and forego consistent, quality sleep, among other things.

What makes this situation worse is that Minor League Baseball is a huge money-maker for their parent teams in Major League Baseball. Josh Norris of Baseball America reported yesterday that Minor League Baseball teams sold $70.8 million in merchandise in 2017. That represented a 3.6 percent increase over the previous record set in 2016. This is just merchandise. Now think about concession and ticket sales.

Minor League Baseball COO Brian Earle said, “Minor League Baseball team names and logos continue to be among the most popular in all of professional sports, and our teams have made promoting their brand a priority for their respective organizations. The teams have done a tremendous job of using their team marks and logos to build an identity that is appealing to fans not just locally, but in some cases, globally as well.”

You may recall that Major League Baseball had been lobbying Congress to pass legislation exempting minor league players from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Doing so classified baseball players as seasonal workers, which means they are not entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay. That legislation passed earlier this year. Minor League Baseball generates profits hand over fist and it is now legally protected from having to share that with the labor that produced it.

Many points of divergence led us to this point, but the question is how do we change it? Minor leaguers are routinely taken advantage of because they don’t have a union. Compare the minors in baseball to the minors in hockey, where minor leaguers have a union. As SB Nation’s Marc Normandin pointed out last month, the minimum salary for American Hockey League players is $45,000 and the average salary is $118,000. They receive a playoff share of around $20,000, and receive health insurance that covers themselves as well as their families. Furthermore, the minor league hockey players’ per diem is $74, about three times as much as minor league baseball players’ per diem of $25.

Major League Baseball and its 30 teams have shown no inclination towards treating minor league players simply out of moral obligation or good will, so the minor leaguers need union coverage to force their conditions to improve. This could be as simple as the MLBPA expanding its coverage to the minor leagues because, after all, some minor leaguers do become major leaguers, right? Or the minor leaguers could themselves create a union. It’s easy to say, but tougher to do, which is why they still don’t have a union.

At any rate, every fan of baseball should be enraged when they read that Minor League Baseball keeps setting records year after year when it comes to selling hats and t-shirts, then refuses to share any of that wealth with the labor responsible for it. It’s morally reprehensible.