Guaranteed contracts are the best
If baseball is going to be played this year, the players and the owners are going to have to come to an agreement on how players will be paid. When the dust settles, the guy pulling in the biggest salary in 2020 could be someone who last played four years ago.
With an 82-game schedule likely, the players have already agreed to cut their salaries in half accordingly. But owners want the players to sacrifice even more. Without fans in the stands, owners are anticipating a drop in revenue of perhaps as much as 40%. That’s why they want the players union to agree to a 50-50 revenue split. People on the players’ side are wary that the owners could be taking advantage of the crisis to lay the groundwork for the introduction of a salary cap in next winter’s CBA negotiations.
It’s a total mess, but one group of people could end up not having to make any concessions at all: players who were already released from their contracts. Contracts in baseball are fully guaranteed, so if a team wants to cut a guy loose, they still have to pay him what they agreed to pay him when he signed the contract.
That’s where Fielder comes in. The former Brewers, Tigers and Rangers slugger was forced to end his career in 2016 due to a neck injury. Formally retiring would have meant Fielder would forfeit his salary. Because his injury was deemed career-ending, Fielder and the Rangers simply agreed that he would no longer play and he was released by the team to avoid taking up a 40-man roster spot. This is the final year of the contract, and he’s owed $24 million.
According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, that figure is unlikely to be decreased and it’s quite possible Fielder will make more money than anybody else in baseball this year.
“The amount Fielder receives might decrease if the parties reach a subsequent deal to reduce the pay of players who were released before the COVID-19 pandemic, but such an adjustment is unlikely, sources say,” Rosenthal wrote. “The players are no longer on 40-man rosters, and the sport’s collective-bargaining agreement seemingly protects the guarantees in their contracts.”
If every player is having their salary cut in half, there’s no one who can come close to touching Fielder’s $24 million. Mike Trout is the highest paid player in the game, slated to pull down $37.7 million. Gerrit Cole’s new deal with the Yankees pays him $36 million per year. Cut those numbers in half and you don’t even come close to matching Fielder’s $24 million.
The only players who could rival Fielder’s 2020 payday are Wei-Yin Chen, who’s owed $22 million from the Marlins, and Jacoby Ellsbury, who was supposed to get $26 million from the Yankees before the team refused to pay it.
That’s why it pays to have a strong union that fights for guaranteed contracts. Take note, NFL players.
I found him!
Remember the kid from Tuesday’s Hot Clicks with the Michael Jordan scouting report?
I was able to track him down and get the whole story of that pickup game.
Here he is as a 40-year-old, right outside that very same gym.
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