Contract Negotiation Headline MLB Teams

Does Payroll Of Playoff Contender Affect Future Contract Negotiations?

Baseball agents love it when a team like the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox makes it to the playoffs year after year and is always fighting for a chance to win the World Series.  Not because a majority of agents are true fans of either team, but because they can then go to management in a future negotiation and explain that the blueprint is clear: If you want to win, you have to pay top dollar for the best players.  It is a technique that aims to turn teams like the Pirates, Marlins, and Rays into believers.  While that tactic does not always work according to plan, it helps when the teams that are expected to win are actually winning.

But what happens when the lower payroll teams start beating out the big spenders?  Will the big spenders stop throwing their money at the players who have their hands out constantly asking for more?  And will the non-spenders continue to balk at the idea of spending, since they have enjoyed success without dishing out close to the amount of money that the “big market” teams have spent?

Only 3 (Giants, Phillies, and Yankees) of the top 10 teams when it comes to payroll have made this year’s playoffs.  4 teams from the bottom half of payrolls made the playoffs (Rangers, Rays, Reds, and Braves).  Does this mean that parity is possible in a league that is not bound by any type of salary cap?  Darren Rovell says it is not only possible, but that the MLB has the most parity of any sport, with 19 different World Series champions in the past 30 years.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

3 replies on “Does Payroll Of Playoff Contender Affect Future Contract Negotiations?”

I think either way, if a team is winning the payroll will rise. Can you build a team and have a one-hit wonder, a la the Marlins ’97 and ’03? Yes. But well-paid teams will then scoop up those players and pay them what they deserve.

This situation I think is best illustrated with Mauer and Crawford. The Twins payroll was bound to increase if they wanted to keep Mauer, so they killed two birds with one stone in maintaining their homegrown guy but also giving him a huge contract. Crawford is in the same boat this year. Homegrown talent that will demand (and rightfully so) top dollar, so the Rays must decide what road they want to take.

Can a low payroll team have success in a given year? Yes. Can a team be a yearly title contender when constantly losing players to higher paying teams? Not likely.

The Twins and Rays have won over the past several years and still maintain a low payroll.
I don’t see your arguement?

Any team that drafts well, maintain and develop those players and cast off players soon to be overpaid (Kazmir and Santana) can win in baseball.

Small market teams must have the mentality they are going to win or at a minimum the core of their team needs to built through their minor league system. It is much easier to spend money or scouting than a over priced free agent.

Salaries can and should rise when a team wins such a big title. But winning isn’t always about having all the best players on paper, either.

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