Look, I’m poor. No doubt about it. So if I heard Kris Bryant or Carlos Correa complaining about their pre-arbitration contracts that are close to the league minimum of $535k, I might give them a Last Ride through a table. And it’s not like these guys are hurting as endorsement deals like Bryant’s Express modeling career take off. But that doesn’t mean their salary complaints would be completely unjustified.
In what world should Kris Bryant be making $1.05mm the year after winning the NL MVP? In the MLB, veterans demand millions more than their younger counterparts just because they’ve been around even though a player 6-8 years younger than them might be playing the game at a higher level. And people wonder why Angel Pagan hasn’t signed with a team.
It’s pretty simple. Teams can pay players who are in their pre-arbitration years whatever the hell they want as long as it meets the league minimum. That means superstars who are shaping the future of the game like Bryant, Correa, Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor will be making less than the majority of the league. Less than someone like Fernando Rodney who will make $2.75mm as an average 39 year old reliever for the Diamondbacks this season.
I’m not a lawyer, I’m not an MLB exec, and I’m not an agent. I’m not even smart. But even a dumb-brain like myself can realize that this imbalance isn’t right for the game. I firmly believe in the notion that you shouldn’t be paying for what a guy has done, but what he’s going to do. That’s how every GM treats the dollars they have to spend on players. So why is most of the money going towards rewarding veterans instead of investing in young talent?
By the way, that minuscule $1.05mm Kris Bryant is getting…that’s a pre-arbitration record.