What If..

What if spending a lot of money on individual players did not directly correlate with how well MLB teams performed in the 2006 season [salary vs performance | ben fry]? What if the 2006 New York Yankees may be the worst on the field return on investment in team sports history [Will The Yankees Success Hurt Agents?]? And what if six years ago, MLB teams collectively paid $3.7 billion to players while 20 of the 30 teams ended up losing money [Spending frenzy could be a mistake – USATODAY.com]?

Obviously, the first thing one would infer is that in 2007, many teams would not spend as much money looking at the historical precedents. Athletes would get paid less yearly and baseball agents would take a smaller cut. But what great industry is based on logic? Definitely not baseball…and the Supreme Court really loves messing cuddling in bed with baseball (See: Baseball’s antitrust exemption status).

So what if major league execs decided to ignore all of the recent trends. Well then we would have the 2007 free-agent climate, where the $3.7 billion mark of six years ago will be left in the dust. Sounds good to you and me, unless of course, major league teams end up throwing away all their money in posting fees within the next couple of years (if I had $51 million dollars sitting around, I would give it to the Seibu Lions as well). And don’t try to get your hands on any players from Japan, because Scott Boras is already busy eating your children. Plus, we are really screwed if Hugo Chavez decides to restrict Venezuelan players from participating in major league baseball [Game over? Politics may pitch baseball into a crisis].

But overall, there should be no complaints from baseball agents. Selig says the league is doing fine, a new labor deal was signed ahead of time, and players continue to boost their salaries. Individual teams may be making mistakes. Here is the big ethical/longterm decision: Will you exploit these mistakes and get your client an overpaid contract where a team may lose trust in your business or will you get fair value for your players and build relationships with upper management?

Who wants some Hugo Chavez video with an English voice dubbed over it? I do. I do. [YouTube – Hugo Chavez calls Bush the Devil].

-Darren Heitner

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