If you’ve found your way here, you are probably aware of the plan that Major League Baseball has where they are proposing the elimination of 42 minor league teams (adding two independent league teams) and setting up a new minor league set up that only includes complex level rookie ball, and then Low-A, Advanced-A, Double-A, and Triple-A teams. Basically, they want to eliminate any and all short-season leagues that aren’t in place at the spring training facility.

There has been plenty of push back on that idea. Obviously the minor league team owners aren’t happy about it. But neither are some members of Congress. Or fans of those teams, or just minor league baseball, or even baseball fans in general. Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball have re-iterated once again the reasons they want you to believe are behind their proposed plan.

Those were the things that Rob Manfred laid out. There are more, smaller things, but let’s tackle all of these things.

Inadequate Minor League Facilities

Yes, this is an actual concern. There are stadiums and facilities out there that are inadequate. Can’t deny this. Won’t deny this. I’ve seen some of them. I’ve heard about them, too. But this is an easy fix in almost every case, too. The contract agreement between Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball is up after 2020. Write it into the new deal what you specifically want with regards to a facility. And give the teams, two years to meet those requirements.

But, let’s also be sure to note that there are more than a few teams on the chopping block of the 42 teams that have perfectly fine facilities. Within the Reds organization three of the four teams that were listed on the “cut list” are playing in stadiums less than 20 years old. The Billings Mustangs play in Dehler Park, which was opened in 2008. The Greeneville Reds play in Pioneer Park, which was built in 2004. The Chattanooga Lookouts play at AT&T Field. It was built in 2000.

I’m certain there are other teams on the block that are also newer parks, but those are three examples that I’m familiar with. That’s not to say that maybe there isn’t an upgrade or two that could be useful for them – but it’s not like they are playing at the equivalent of a high school baseball stadium.

There are, however, some teams that need brand new facilities. This is particularly the case at some of places in rookie ball that they are attempting to get rid of. The field dimensions, for example, are hilariously stupid in some of the Pioneer League stadiums. But because the ballparks are so old, they were grandfathered in and don’t need to stay up to date with the current requirements. Multiple parks are sub-300 feet down the line. And that’s not to mention the clubhouse areas in some of these ballparks which, well, certainly feel like they haven’t been updated much since 1968. Again, though – much of this can be approached without simply cutting the teams out before asking them to fix it.

Franchises moving and travel issues

The 2020 season will be my 15th season of covering minor league baseball. In that time, here are all of the cities that have been Reds affiliates at each level:

Triple-A

  • Louisville Bats

Double-A

  • Chattanooga Lookouts (2000-2008, 2019)
  • Carolina Mudcats (Zebulon, NC)
  • Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Advanced-A

  • Sarastoa Reds (2005-2009)
  • Lynchburg Hillcats (2010)
  • Bakersfield Blaze (2011-2014)
  • Daytona Tortugas (2015-2019)

Low-A

  • Dayton Dragons

Advanced Rookie

  • Billings Mustangs
  • Greeneville Reds

Complex Level

  • GCL Reds (1999-2009)
  • AZL Reds (2010-2019)

For the Reds, the only real movement has been in Advanced-A and Double-A. Triple-A, Low-A, and Rookie Ball has all stayed the same with the exception of them moving their complex from Florida to Arizona, and adding the team in Greeneville.

That isn’t the case for all of the organizations, though. But changing affiliations doesn’t make it untenable for travel. Some leagues have more travel than others. The issue that they are trying to convey is that they want the travel to be easier on the players – don’t spend 8 hours on a bus trip (or more).

There are a few points to bring up here. The first is that one of the leagues they are trying to get rid of, the Appalachian League, teams rarely even stay over night while on the road. The reason is simple: most teams are within a two hour drive of each other, and most aren’t even that far. Take Greeneville for example – when talking with people who are in from out of town, one thing that if often brought up is where you are staying. More than a few people I’ve talked with while in Greeneville are staying in Johnson City, then driving to Greeneville to work the game. Johnson City has a team of their own. It’s about a 40 minute drive to Greeneville.

That isn’t the case in the Pioneer League – another league on the chopping block. Those bus rides are long. The teams are spread out quite a bit in that league. There are a few options here. First would be to fly these guys instead of bus them. The travel would certainly be shorter. More expensive, too.

The other option could be better scheduling. The time spent getting from town to town would be the same. But if you had series that lasted for six games instead of three or four, the overall travel would be less.

In full season baseball you can re-organize some leagues to make travel easier for the teams that uses buses. Alter the schedules so the trips are shorter. Prioritize road trips that include the longest trip to also include a stop somewhere in the middle to cut that trip down.

Poor Pay for Minor Leaguers

Excuse me while I laugh uncontrollably for the next eight hours before returning to type some more.

……..

Ok, I’m back, and have abs of steel now. It turns out that laughing is a good workout. Major League Baseball teams pay the players. The only thing stopping the players from being paid poorly is the unwillingness of Major League Baseball to pay them better. The fact that they brought this up is actually incredible. Not only because, well, they decide what to pay them, but the fact that they as a group, spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress to change the laws on the books so that they wouldn’t be forced to pay minor leaguers more than minimum wage and for no more than 40 hours per week regardless of how long they actually worked.

Major League Baseball and their owners have done as much as humanly possible to limit how much they pay minor leaguers (and Major Leaguers, but that’s a different story for a different day). They’ve limited the bonus pools in the draft. They’ve limited the bonus pools internationally. And as already discussed, they literally got laws written to limit how much they legally have to pay guys in the minor leagues.

Drafting and Signing Players who don’t have a realistic chance to reach the Majors

This goes back to the initial stories a month ago, where the proposal included cutting the draft from 40 rounds to 20 rounds. It wasn’t that long ago that the draft had 50 rounds. That move was made in 2012 – prior to that, there were 50 rounds.

The large majority of Major Leaguers that were draft eligible (non-international free agents) were selected in the first few rounds of the draft. That’s not to say those who aren’t selected in the first three or four rounds have no chance – they do. But the odds do tell us that things are stacked against an individual player to reach the Majors if they aren’t taken early.

The rules have changed over the years. With the draft bonus pool now existing, the days are pretty much over of signing Amir Garrett and Sal Romano in rounds 22 and 23 and spending $1.5M to sign the two of them. I’m not going to sit here and cite them as examples of guys who would no longer be drafted if things were limited to 20 rounds because it’s a disingenuous argument. Those guys would be drafted today, and paid equally (accounting for inflation) – it would just be that the new rules means they’d be taken in rounds 2-3-4-5 instead.

But there are guys who were, for legitimate reasons, selected later in the draft who have gone on to be big leaguers. Heck, some guys go undrafted and reach the Majors (we’re looking at you, Ryan Hanigan).

Of course, this also misses the point that just because the chances aren’t great that a guy won’t become a Major Leaguer doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exist in professional baseball. The argument that’s been made many places is that these guys exist so the 2-3 guys on a given team that will be big leaguers can actually practice in games. That’s a garbage argument. Yes, you need at least 18 guys to play a game, but there are plenty of things those guys can bring to the table beyond just “existing so the 1st rounder can get game action”.

Then we can toss into the mix the whole idea that teams are scouting 13 and 14-year-old kids right now with the idea of signing them in 2022…. talk about signing guys with little chance of making the Majors. That’s a little different, because not all of those kids are going to be signed. But the fact remains that they are certainly looking at kids who would be in the 7th grade right now with the hopes of finding someone to sign in a few years, and well, think about the odds of that.

Conclusion

This is all just Major League Baseball not wanting to say the quiet part out loud. They do not want to pay the players. But they are feeling too much public pressure to actually start paying minor league players a living wage. So rather than just pay everyone an increased wage, they are trying to find excuses and reasons that enough people will buy into in order to get away with just cutting jobs and increasing overall pay by 10-15%, but using that to pay 175 players instead of 275 players. It gives the illusion that they actually cared about paying them more money, and taking care of these other things.

But if they actually cared about those other things they would have been addressed long ago. And some of the issues wouldn’t be completely debunked for half of the teams on the chopping block with eight seconds of research.

If Major League Baseball wanted to fix ALL of this, they could do it rather easily. Remember when teams were allowed to spend whatever they wanted to on international players, but if they went over a certain amount they had to pay penalties to Major League Baseball? That lasted for five or six years. Then the rules changed and they made it so you couldn’t spend beyond your allotted pool amount. In the time that was allowed, teams paid over $200,000,000 in penalties to the MLB Central Fund. That is money that teams spent to sign players, that players absolutely did not get.

That money could be used to help increase the pay for the players. That money could be used to improve travel for Major League Baseball employees. It won’t be, of course, but it could be.

59 Responses

  1. James K

    Several months ago the University of Pennsylvania alumni magazine had an interview with a couple of the university’s graduates who had gone on to play minor league baseball. Both were later round draftees, both had hoped to make it to the majors, and neither one did, but both said they treasured their experiences in minor league baseball, made many good friends, and were glad they did it. It is not a bad thing to play in the minors with only a small chance of making it to the majors.

  2. Oldtimer

    At a bare minimum, 4 levels are needed. AAA, AA, A, and R. It’s better to have 6 levels; A+ and R+ added.

    Most players spend up to 5 years in MiLB. The very best may only spend 2 or 3 years.

    I would hate to see Billings go. So many Reds players got their start there.

  3. Norwood Nate

    100% agree that the poor pay for players is on MLB. It’s such an easy fix, and one that wouldn’t cost more than most MLB teams throw away on eating bad salaries as it is. It would be laughable how much they get paid if it wasn’t so sad at the same time.

    Some facilities do need upgrading, but again it should be on MLB to assist (investing in their future players resources) here or lay out specific requirements for the affiliations to meet. I would not have a problem with contracting teams that fail to meet the requirements, but as noted in the article, they should have some period of time to meet those requirements.

    The travel times, especially as you get out West, is understandable as a concern. I worked some national tours with bands where we went coast to coast (and back). Those drives out west are long, and tedious without much in between. SF to Portland, Spokane to SLC, SLC to Denver, Denver to Omaha (or Lawrence KS) are all long one day drives I’ve made on a few occasions without many options for stopping in between. But I think you’ve laid out some reasonable solutions to these issues. And there are likely more minor league teams in between those cities than tour stops.

    I don’t mind seeing the draft cut down though. Maybe replace the later rounds with an international draft. It does seem to be a bit much, especially in the later rounds where teams take a flier on a guy not likely to sign.

    • Oldtimer

      My perspective from Intermountain West (Utah, Montana, Colorado). Very difficult to fly between cities in these three states. SLC and DEN have major airports but few other cities do. Smaller planes; harder to fit a traveling entourage on one plane. Delays are not uncommon. Bus rides are more reliable.

      • Colorado Red

        Lot of other airports in Colorado.
        For example Colorado Springs, and Pueblo.
        Not well enough informed about AZ, UTAH, etc
        So, if they fly it would not be all that bad

      • MK

        Oldtimer, one of the former Dragons who lived with us, Pedro Diaz, was demoted to Billings at mid-season and it took him two days to get there by air. He went from Dayton to Chicago to Minneapolis to Denver back to Billings. So even if airports are available they are not always easy.

      • Oldtimer

        I live in Utah. SLC has an airport. St George has an airport. That’s it.

        No Pioneer League teams in Arizona so far as I know.

    • Bill

      The other problem with traveling via air is it would almost certainly be via charter. There are few commercial flights operating after game times, so it would be via charter. That is another non-insignificant expense someone has to pay for.

  4. Doc

    Regarding stadia: its always an easy fix when you are spending someone else’s money. If you want to make this argument sound, then you should interview several owners of teams on the chopping block, find out what needs to be done for them to make the grade, and what their estimate of cost is. You should also include research into who owns the team, how well heeled is the owner, who would be paying for the improvements. Since most minor league teams are not owned by the über wealthy, and most stadia are probably municipally owned such that taxpayers would be on the hook, I don’t see it as such a simple fix without more detailed information.

    Some out of box thinking might help. Fitness facilities, for example, could probably be contracted with local fitness centers. Since most fitness centers I drive by have a lot of empty parking space and machines, a team could probably lease a block of time rather than have to build it into a stadium complex where it only gets used part of the year.

    Travel: agree that should be a much easier fix. MLB could also mandate that any trip of longer than X hours is not allowed. That would incentivize to schedule better, as you have suggested, and either bring planes or additional overnight lodging expenses into the picture, dividing a long trip into two shorter ones, with a workout along the way. Pioneer league is going to hurt no matter what you do with travel. There are a whole lot of square miles occupied by not a whole lot of people. I don’t know how you make that travel efficient.

    Pay: easily the weakest MLB argument. ‘I don’t pay you enough so I am going to cut you’. Key word is ‘don’t’. MLB can pay enough, they just don’t.

    We do need to keep in mind that independent leagues are professional baseball. There is a tendency to use the phrase ‘professional baseball’ as though nothing else is professional except MLB and its tentacles, but the definition of being a professional is getting paid for what you do (although, admittedly, my two seasons as a senior professional golfer did not earn me a penny!). In American history, thanks to our economic model, when a significant enough void appears with a significant enough potential, it has a decent chance of getting filled. Think American Football League, as one example. Even MLB as we know it today has not always been as we know it today. There were competing leagues, upstarts and failures, that eventually amalgamated into what we now call MLB. American and National Leagues did not arise at the same time. Nothing says it can’t happen again. Everything in life is in constant, albeit slow, evolution.

    • Doug Gray

      Many of the teams on the chopping block have said they’d be willing to address issues with their ballparks if given the opportunity. MLB is saying we aren’t even going to give you the opportunity.

      Every minor league team is owned by someone, or a company, with tens and tens of millions of dollars in equity/assets. They can find a way to make it work to upgrade the facilities for the players if they wanted to (this is very different than building a new stadium – but they can find a way to improve the clubhouse/other “team” rooms).

      There are already limits on how long a trip is allowed to take. Perhaps you alter that so the trip is even shorter.

      Indy leagues are mostly pro, in the sense that they pay players – but unless you are the Rickey Henderson former big leaguer playing for the Long Island Ducks, you’re probably getting a few hundred dollars a month and are definitely working another job. Could be just me, but that doesn’t quite count as professional to me because it’s not exactly a profession at that point. But I do understand your point.

      There’s a stark difference between indy leagues and affiliated leagues, though, even beyond the pay. Fact is you are getting better everything else, too. Better opportunity because of everyone seeing you every day, both on and off the field, better chances because of that, teams have better information on you because they are all out there scouting everyone else, have the Trackman data, have the high speed camera’s watching you – that stuff, for the most part, isn’t happening in indy ball. Most teams don’t even have indy ball scouts – at least in the traditional sense. There are guys and gals out there who basically do it as a passion and are like consultants for like 5-10 teams and if they see someone they will tell their teams and send in the report.

      • Bill

        Actually, Manfed claims MiLB owners don’t want to fix some of their broken facilities…that’s why we have something to debate. Further, newer facilities that you allude to don’t necessarily meet today’s player development standards even if they’re outwardly attractive and fan friendly. Without research, this is just a strawman argument.

      • Doug Gray

        Of course he said that. Just like he said some of these teams are using school buses to travel on – he doesn’t expect the general public to know better.

        None of the complaints at all have anything to do with fan friendliness. It’s all about stuff for the players and staff. And that improvement would be doable, in nearly every situation, without building anything remotely close to a new stadium. Fix and or build new clubhouses. You don’t need to spend $19M on a new stadium. This isn’t a strawman.

      • Bill

        No one has stated exactly why any particular location was proposed for contraction in the MLB plan. Stating that three of the Reds facilities are relatively new by being less than 20 years old, and on the list meets the very definition of a strawman argument. You are attacking an argument that MLB didn’t make as they have not explained, at least publicly, why any one location was proposed.

        Second, while the facilities you mentioned are relatively new, they all pre-date baseball’s advances in player development. So, I am having a hard time following how there age shows MLB is being disingenuous.

        Third, previous reporting by other outlets, BA and The Athletic, back Manfred’s statement that the MLB proposal to contract teams came after the MiLB owners stated they didn’t want to share from their profits to help fix problems regarding facilities or minor league pay.

      • Doug Gray

        I have not seen a single quote from anyone that says the minor league owners are refusing to pay for upgrades. Maybe I glossed over it somewhere.

        What I have seen is that it seems that they don’t want to pay the players, who aren’t their employees.

      • Bill

        “We were expressly told by their negotiators that they preferred fewer affiliates than contributing more money to fund improvements for the weaker affiliates, which resulted in our proposal,” deputy commissioner Dan Halem said.

        Evan Drellich’s article on 19 Oct, The Athletic

      • Doug Gray

        It’s 1am, so I’m not going back to read it right this second, but I have a very hard time believing that a minor league team owner would opt to literally go out of business instead of fund some improvements to their business. But maybe I’m crazy, too.

      • Bill

        And yet it’s exactly what the reporter that did firsthand interviews of both sides stated. Further, It’s been reported that MiLB actually brought up the idea of contracting teams.

        But here’s why you should believe it: teams would rather fold than make the necessary facilities investment is that they aren’t profitable and they can’t make a business case that a lender will support.

      • Doug Gray

        The teams that aren’t profitable aren’t exactly in it for the day to day profits. The value there is being able to sell the team because there are only so many of them. Minor League team values have skyrocketed in the last decade. Just like the Major League team values have (though obviously to a lesser extent because they just aren’t worth as much). The value is having the contract as one of the 160 teams, not the check you can get every year in profits made.

        And let’s be clear here: The quote you provided is someone for MLB saying that MiLB owners said they’d rather just cease to exist, not an actual minor league owner saying that. While there actually are minor league owners, on the record, saying the exact opposite.

      • Bill

        The quote I provided was very much in context. In the same article, Pat O’Conner concedes the point that facilities are problematic. In other words, both sides agree that financing facilities is problematic. Hopefully, both sides will come to a place where they agree to a way forward.

  5. MK

    You look at a place like Dayton where the Stadium is full every night and the price of concessions are Major League rather than Class A, then you see the guys bring home $450 every two weeks, there is something out of wack. Of course the concessions, ticket sales, radio and tv income goes to Dragons ownership and game expenses none directly to the players in salary. Maybe when they look at teams to cut it should be those without local fan support.

    • Krozley

      Dunedin was last in attendance in all the minor leagues averaging 203 fans a game in the FSL. They are not on the cut list. That makes no sense. I think local support should be the top consideration.

      • Doug Gray

        Dunedin, and nearly the entire Florida State League is a different animal. They are run out of the spring training complex. They are owned by the MLB teams. They don’t market or try to get people to come to the games. They exist solely to play the games. There’s a reason Daytona does better attendance wise in the league than just about everyone else, every year – they aren’t owned by an MLB team and have to actually try and do things to get fans to show up to continue to exist.

      • Bill

        The fundamental problem is that the Minor League owners don’t want to share additional revenue to cover better minor league payer play/fix substandard facilities AND the MLB owners don’t want to bear the full burden either. Under the current arrangement, MiLB gets to decide where they have franchises. It’s really not MLB’s call as each franchise is independently owned. That’s why you don’t see MLB addressing poor attendance or franchises that may be operating at a loss.

    • Norwood Nate

      Certainly an interesting read, and gives another perspective. Most of me feels that this is setting up to be another billionaire verse millionaire battle where the general public ends up paying the price.

      • Bill

        I think they both have a lot of reasons to work out a deal. Arguing in public, though doesn’t help.

      • Michael Smith

        I’ll disagree Bill. Taking your side to the public is about the only ammo the MILB teams have. They are going against a group with 10 billion a year in revenue, large lobby in the federal government.

  6. Chris B

    This is not an attempt to be argumentative but I’m going to say it anyway:

    Why do so many people screaming that it’s not fair what the minor leaguers get paid ignore them fact that the major league players and their association don’t seem to care either. To me there is equal blame between the owners and players. It could easily be collectively bargained if both the players and the owners didn’t want to keep the money in their own pockets.

  7. Jim

    I live in Fort Wayne, IN. New stadium here for the Padres. Reds would be my 1st choice but I could see Cubs, Indians, Tiger’s here instead.
    No more Mike Piazza’s??? Not the best Catcher, but I say best hitting catcher ever drafted way late as a favor to Lasorda.
    Wasn’t Reggie Sanders a real late draft pick?

    • Oldtimer

      Reggie Sanders … Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 7th round of the 1987 MLB June Amateur Draft from Spartanburg Methodist College (Spartanburg, SC)

  8. Simon Cowell

    Doug, your posts always point to mlb ownership being the bad guys in this industry.
    What is your solution with keeping in mind that this is a business primarily to both the owners and the players?

    Are the owners wrong to want to streamline their business and if yes why?

      • Simon Cowell

        So what you are saying is that we should no longer support baseball teams. Why don’t the baseball players all quit and make up their own league where the players are the owners?

  9. A

    I read a lot of “minor leaguers aren’t compensated well”. I understand that argument. There is support. But, if they were to be compensated- what would be fair? How would it Ben structured? Level pay in the league they’re in? Tenure? Talent level?

    Maybe I’ve missed where this hasn’t been mentioned? If not, it’s senseless to be this passionate and not propose a solution.

    • Doug Gray

      You’ve missed it from a whole lot of people.

      And no, it’s definitely not senseless to think it’s absolute garbage to pay people less than a living wage and not have a step by step proposal on how it should be fixed. But, to be clear, I proposed a solution in the article: MLB owners deciding to write the players bigger checks. That’s the solution.

      • Simon Cowell

        Wouldnt that hurt investors? Wouldnt an investor look elsewhere?

      • Bill

        @Simon…it could affect franchise valuation, but I think the amount of dollars we’re talking about the effect would be negligible given the current valuations are huge in comparison.

        Except for the larger market clubs, this would affect operating revenue. It would mean smaller front office staffs, maybe 1-2 less FA signings or less investment in player development (think staff/technology). OR, you might see MLB try to shrink the # of minor leaguers. Isn’t this what our economics professors told us to expect?

        MLB is negotiations with MiLB owners and soon will be with MLBPA. They aren’t going to just cede paying the entire amount, because for some franchises it’s not an insignificant expense.

      • A

        That’s not a solution. Lol. I’m being respectful, Doug. I’m serious. You’re the man. I don’t mean any insult.

      • Doug Gray

        Yes, that absolutely is a solution. It may not be one they want to do – which is why they spent millions of dollars to lobby Congress to get laws passed so they don’t have to – but it’s definitely a solution.

      • Simon Cowell

        So a win-win for everyone would be to reduce the minor league size. It does appear as if the talent is saturated out. MLB should allow the teams that are discontinued to form a new, independent league and players in that pool can be drafted as free agents. They can pay based on their own league rules completely independent of MLB. Then the MLB raises the current pay scale of the Milb players. Would that work?

  10. Simon Cowell

    Look at this from sn investors standpoint. If I have 1 billion to invest in a sports franchise what would i choose? NBA, NFL, or MLB? The NBA and the NFL dont have the overhead of a farmsystem The NBA doesnt have the health risks of either arms blowing out or concussions. Less employees, bigger cable market My money would go to the NBA.

    • Rich H.

      What are you talking about? Have you not seen the massive increases in MLB team values over the last decade? Your comment makes no sense at all, for a ton of reasons.

      • Simon Cowell

        If the NBA and NFL are more profitable from an investor point of view which it appears to be thats where id go. MLB is in decline and the other sport franchises are not. Sadly, MLB is not keeping up.

      • Michael Smith

        Simon the NBA has taken the opposite approach by investing heavily in its minor league, bumping minimum pay significantly while paying all cost associated with development, travel etc. Yes it is a smaller system but still….

      • Simon Cowell

        @Michael Smith the NBA has 26 Minor League teams. How many does the MLB have? At least 10 times that. See the cost differential?

      • Bill

        @Michael: you make a great point. The NBA has spent the last several years building their G League. The teams are nearly all closely aligned with their parent teams geographically and philosophically. There are certainly advantages to standing up a league from scratch.

      • Greenfield Red

        To prove there is money laying around for Owners to pay MILB, I give you the WNBA. Has there ever been a worse product propped up by those who want to do so? And they don’t make what NBA players do, but they make more than MILB players do.

        If NBA owners can do that, MLB owners could do it for MILB. They choose not to.

    • Pokey Reese's Red Hot Bat

      I’m completely missing at why MLB needs to look at it from a potential investor’s standpoint?

      Why does MLB (as opposed to MiLB) need to attract further investment?

      Why does it matter if you choose to invest your billion in NBA or MLB?

  11. Tom

    MLB players and teams should get paid on performance just like sales people. Ultimately that is what they are. This year Joey Votto earned 10 mil. 2017 he probably earned 35 mil. But that should also be effected by team performance. In neither case did the Reds win and the revenue therefore suffered so the whole sales team should as well. Cap the salary budget for each team and shorten these arb years along with player contracts. Votto could have and should have earned more than 200 mil by now vs facing living up to then next 4 years while people forget how awesome he was for cheap. All this to say, baseball has a lot of inequities that should be fixed while overhauling their sport to the benefit of the minors. I agree with all of Dougs points.

    • Simon Cowell

      I’ve always loved the performance model but you and I know unions are 100% against performance-based contracts. The MLBPA would rather go out out business than have players paid based on performance.

      For me, it would be a win-win for everyone though. Rookies could make as much as veterans and veterans would slowly fade into the sunset once they can no longer perform.

      The big stink though is how do you compensate for injuries? Injury insurance is way to risky and doesn’t compensate both sides equally.

      • Tom

        I think some kind of floor for vets makes sense. It protects injury risks. Sign a 6 year deal with a floor at 10 million guaranteed then have escalators for performance. I agree, Trout should already have 300 in the bank collecting interest. Players should really consider it. Tommy Pham should be richer than he will ever be. It would really help late bloomers too. The Homer Baileys of the world would be rich just not nearly as rich. And that’s how it should be.

  12. Bdh

    I’m fine with what Manfred said. Cut the teams and get rid of the players with no chance at reaching the top level. Use the savings to pay the remaining players in the minors more.

    • Simon Cowell

      Yeah, I’m coming around to that way of thinking myself. Cut the teams and players with no chance but also free them up to start an independent/ non affiliated league if they decide to continue on.

  13. Simon Cowell

    I originally saw this reduction of the minor leagues as a bad thing but really I’m starting to get behind the idea. Compared to the other sports franchises the MLB farm system is simply too large in size. Manfred is right too in that many players are drafted with no prospect of ever playing MLB level. Some are drafted simply to fill out a roster. If individual leagues are not beneficial or profitable then why have them?

    It’s not the end of the road. I think the era of independent baseball leagues is about to skyrocket.

    • Pokey Reese's Red Hot Bat

      It’s unusual for a business to adopt strategies that promote competitors but maybe MLB is feeling the heat about it’s monopoly position and stronger independent leagues will provide an alternative, allowing them to better justify below minimum wages.

  14. Pokey Reese's Red Hot Bat

    On the travel point, I think it’s a wider issue than just travel between matches as it also encompasses moving between levels. It is in MLB’s interest for affiliates to be within better reach of each other to better allow for promotions/relegations/rehab stints/scouting and to grow MLB franchise’s brand within their region. The current configuration is far from optimal. Whilst you mention flying as a potential solution an organization looking to future proof its business model should be looking at reducing its carbon footprint not increasing it.

    Such a reorganization would certainly not be without difficulties – which maybe why there is the threat of abolishing so many teams: when givien the option surviving as a farm team for a different organization is going to beat being axed.