Some people just do not get it. This is not about young players getting their piece of the pie. This is about the current system that is in place that was decided upon by the players union. There are no salary caps and players get guaranteed contracts. Basically, this process that is in place which grants teams control of a player for 2 to 3 years followed by arbitration years is the only bone the teams get thrown. This is the only time they have leverage and it does not last all that long. Let us also not forget this is designed to keep the majority of the money flowing to vets.
This is a necessary part of the game in regards to small market teams competing and teams being able to keep fiscal flexibility. Also, teams spend a lot of money on drafting and scouting. If these young guys start getting paid insane amounts of money earlier, their cost basis for developing young big league talent skyrockets. Something has to give and maybe it gives in scouting for some teams or perhaps just giving up on players and trading them earlier and earlier. Buster has been more wrong than right these days, but he is dead on here.
Nick Markakis became the latest young star to have his contract renewed, following Jeff Francoeur, Prince Fielder and others. In two years, this situation might become a full-fledged crisis for mid-market and small-market teams, because it is clear the young players will be looking to cash in (as is their absolute right) at the very high level established by Ryan Howard's $10 million arbitration victory, rather than sign a nice, tidy, modest long-term deal.
What this means is that within two years you might see these same players dangled on the trade market. Consider the plight of the Brewers, who have three rising stars in Fielder, Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks and cannot possibly afford to pay all of them $10 million to $15 million a year in 2011.
We've been through this before. Yes, the CBA laid out these rules. Yes, it is wise for teams to treat their young guys right. However, when you have control of a player for six years, there is plenty of time to get it 'right'. The fact of the matter is, it is sound business to not sign everyone who has two good years willy nilly. A team could opt to lock someone up earlier in an effort to save money while assuming some sizeable risk. Or, teams can wait longer and pay up a bit more later and assume less risk because they took it slower.
These days, players are complaining earlier and earlier about things. A player has the right to be upset, but they act like some great injustice has been done and they are truly offended. They want to get paid free market price, or close it, after not earning it. You earn that right by playing for six years which should not be a shock. People actually think teams should give into these players demands so they do not get upset. Maybe I missed where money does not ultimately do all the talking? These guys will be ok when teams are ready to show them the cash. Common misconception:
All these non-arb-eligible players sounding off about having their contracts renewed unilaterally -- has to be an orchestrated union ploy to draw attention to the inarguably unfair salary suppression of the system. Who cares if these young players make a lot more than you do? The fact is, they are uniquely talented and drastically underpaid relative to their peers. The more teams irritate their young charges, the less likely it is that those players will look for under-market, long-term deals buying out their arbitration-eligible years, and will instead go the Ryan Howard route and hope for MASSIVE paydays at arbitration.
They 100% deserve to get paid relative to their peers. However, this is where a lot of people go awry. Their peers are other players with like service time.
No, they are paid exactly the same other players of only 1-2 years experience, unless a player signed a long term deal. You are falling into the fallacy that Pap's peer is Mariano Rivera. Pap's peer is actually the 2005 version of K-rod (or anyone else at 2 years service time), who made exactly 440K in his 3rd year. K-rod was also better than Pap is at this the same stage. Well, at least from a production stand point (since you could say Pap's peripherals are better), since K-rod had many more innings in his 2003 and 2004 years than has Pap so far while compiling similar ERAs.
I'm not bitching because they make more than me. I am aware they do and have no specific issue with that. However, they are crying like some great injustice is going on. They may prefer a different outcome than what has befallen them, but how can you get upset when you are fully aware of the system in place? Your first three years used to be locks to make below $1,000,000 and typically way below. After that, you go to arb if you cannot find common ground and get to make way over $1,000,000 and get to perform for your paycheck. Once you have done your six years of service and have proven yourself, you can establish your value on the free agent market and let the magic of a free market take place.
They can seriously stop acting shocked now as no one really wants to hear it. Perhaps baseball should hold a quick intro to the Collective Bargaining Agreement and explain to these players how they system works. If they have a problem with it, they can certainly look for another line of work after getting the low down. I do agree with the commenter above in that something smells rotten. It seems like union is behind this, but wouldn't that classify as collusion though? I thought they were against that or something.