Once again, Major League Baseball has set a new record for revenues at $10.3 billion for 2018, Maury Brown of Forbes reports. It’s the 16th consecutive year in which MLB has topped its previous record.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however. As Brown notes, revenue growth was slower compared to previous years as a result of a decline in attendance, which also negatively impacted concessions and parking. Still, $10.3 billion is a pretty hefty sum.
Despite team owners largely making money hand over fist, we are once again twiddling our thumbs during baseball’s offseason as the free agent market has grinded to a halt, just like last year. On Twitter, Matt Winkelman of Phillies Minor Thoughts said, “It is January 7 and 6 teams have not signed a major league free agent, and 5 more teams have [spent] less than $10M. That is over a third of the sport just not participating in free agency.”
Along with that, there has been no progress made on addressing the issue of paying minor leaguers a livable wage. In fact, MLB lobbied extensively over the last handful of years in order for language in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to be amended, classifying minor leaguers as seasonal workers and thus depriving them of a minimum wage and overtime pay.
So, that’s where we’re at. There’s really no reason for these issues to persist, given record revenues, aside from avarice.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.