Will players get smart, too?

April, 15, 2010
4/15/10
6:27
PM ET
Funny, isn't it, how charges of racism inside MLB front offices have sprung up exactly when a bunch of old free agents are finding it difficult to get the contracts they believe they so richly deserve. As Tango explains, this isn't about skin color; it's about rationality ...


    Teams did the one thing that the MLBPA bet against: they got smart. And smart people don’t play russian roulette. The MLBPA now has to beg for the one thing they could never be sold: revenue sharing between players and teams, just like the NHL and NBA has. If they don’t get it, it’s very possible that they will end up with a continually smaller portion of an expanding pie. The MLBPA should ask for a fixed portion of the pie. It’s the fair way to operate.

    The only issue there is the accounting practices of having related-party transactions taking revenue off one book and putting it in another, thereby shielding it from the MLBPA. That’s a legitimate concern, and one that has been at least tested with the NHL and NBA. I’d like to hear what those unions think of those arrangements.


I started beating this drum (I think) last winter.

The biggest story in baseball over the next few years?

Pie.

Lately, the owners have been keeping more of it.

The players will have to do something. I suspect that right now, within the union there are already the beginnings of an interesting battle.

Just to review ... For the last 30-odd years, young players have been cheap (relative to performance) and old players have been expensive. This has obviously benefited the older players at the expense of the younger players (and the owners), but the union is run by indifferent lawyers and older players, so everybody who mattered was fat and happy.

Now, though? Even if the owners pay the younger players more than they have to, they'll still come out ahead if they stop throwing money at guys like Bengie Molina and Garret Anderson. Which is what they're doing. Which is why guys like Bengie Molina and Jermaine Dye and Orlando Hudson have been complaining.

It's actually sort of funny. The players have always been dead-set against any mechanism that might limit the amount of money the owners could give them ... but now they're essentially going to have to beg the owners for a mechanism that will limit the amount of money the owners can't give them.

The accounting issue is real, but the union already gets to look at the books. Another layer of transparency might be necessary, but I don't see accounting as a huge sticking point. I just don't know if the owners, who finally have the players over a barrel, will be all that eager to let them off it.

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