Discussion

Skyrocketing salaries are here to stay

Originally Published: November 30, 2006
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
Let's take a deep breath, everyone. The winter meetings are next week, and if you think the millions have been flying around like dimes, you haven't seen anything yet. According to Keith Law's rankings, nine of the top 11 free-agent starting pitchers are still available, and if A.J. Burnett was worth $12 million per season a year ago, we can imagine what the likes of Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt will be worth now.

When Zito and Schmidt get their $15 million (or more) per season, there's going to be a great deal of teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling and brow-furrowing. Somebody will say that none of this free-agent class deserve the big contracts they're getting. And further, that all these deals are going to destroy the sport or, at the very least, make life impossible for the lower-revenue franchises that can't afford to play the free-agent game with any seriousness.

Don't worry, though; the sky is not falling. Salaries are going up, but that's nothing new. For a few decades now, salaries have increased by roughly 10 percent per season. It has not been a linear progression, of course; sometimes they go up two percent, and sometimes they go up 20 percent. But the trend is ever-upward, which won't change unless the U.S. suffers an economic collapse. And it's completely natural.

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