. . . think about this. The CEO of Liberty Media, the company that owns the Atlanta Braves — Gregory Maffei — was paid $87.5 million last year. The entire Braves payroll was $84.4 million.
Yes, I realize that there’s more going on with a big company like Liberty Media than just the Braves, and no, I don’t expect a company to take unnecessary losses on one of its operating divisions. I’m happy for Mr. Maffei for all of his great fortune.
That said, the notion that player salaries are nuts or that free agency or Scott Boras are ruining the financial structure of baseball is kind of silly and we should all just cut it out, OK? Developments that favor the players financially may technically mean that the rich are getting richer, but that’s only at the expense of the even richer still.
(Thanks to reader Stephen Rose for the heads up)
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.
Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.
Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.
There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.