Open Discussion: The Stove is Heating Up

The hot stove is starting to heat up. Last night, Zack Greinke signed a massive deal that will pay him over $34 M per year. To put that in perspective, he will be making about $10,000 per pitch. He’ll be making over $1 per second. That’s crazy money.

I could mention a few things here, like how you probably shouldn’t get attached to Gerrit Cole if he continues like an ace. There’s no way the Pirates could sign him at those ridiculous rates.

I could also point out that MLB teams pay their minor leaguers nothing. Rookie ball guys get about $3300 per year. Full season guys get just under $7000. The price goes up the higher you go, but none of it is a real wage.

If you assume a team has 200 minor leaguers, and you assume the average minor league salary would be $40,000, then every team would pay $8 M per year to give all of their minor leaguers a fair wage. The reality is that they could go lower than that, and probably end up in the $4-6 M range.

Putting that in perspective, the Diamondbacks could have paid all of their minor leaguers a fair salary for the next six years, taking the money from Greinke’s salary, and Greinke would have still made over $2 M per month.

I have more thoughts on both of these subjects, and I’ll go in more detail at some point in the future. For now, I’m spending the day working on the final reports in the Prospect Guide. Use this thread for any discussion throughout the day, and if there’s news, we’ll have an article on the site.

  • This is more a question than a statement, but do you think there will ever come a time when the PBC can sign an impact FA for market value instead of constantly shopping for one-sided deals or reclamation projects? It’s hard to believe that the PBC cannot afford to sign a fair deal with a FA.
    Many predicted the market would explode last offseason after the national TV deal was signed. It looks like it happened a year later. What does this insane spending mean to the small markets, like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Tampa, etc.? They will have to develop their main talent because they surely will not be able to augment the roster with significant signings. And once the arb clock starts many more players will be jettisoned due to the artificially inflated salaries from the big market contracts.

  • At least let these millionaires pay social security taxes on all they earn, (no cut off) so that my measly check from the Feds doesn’t stop or get diminished.

  • In the time it took you to read this short post, Zach Grienke made $7.54.

  • Tim, I absolutely agree with you.
    Minor league players are treated terrible.
    System has to change. Could they file
    with federal government for not at least
    receiving minimum wage.

  • Robert Reznik
    December 5, 2015 6:47 pm

    Starlin Castro or Javier Baez for melancon + some minor league b prospect what da you guys think

  • Minor league baseball players need their own union.

  • It truly is disgusting when I have to spend around $100.00 for a decent seat and another $20.00 to park and another $50.00 for food and a few beers all the while these teams are throwing ridiculous money to these players. I love the Pirates and truly love the game of baseball but the money these guys are making is really turning me off. Very sad day for a Pirates fan!!!

    • And the owners are probably making more than the players. Our primary role as fans is to bankroll their wealth. Of course, they also like when we cheer for them.

      • Not probably. A fact.

        Revenue distribution has skewed to almost 60% in favor of the owners. As much money as they players are getting, owners are keeping more.

        • Are you accounting for all of costs besides player salaries? Saying player salaries are only 40 percent of gross revenue is meaningless. What percent of gross revenue is profit versus non salary costs?

    • While the owners do make insane sums, Pirate fans are actually some of the fans that should be the least upset at what they pay to attend games. If you are paying 100, its likely because you choose to not sit in a much more affordable seat with a fine view of the game.

      Ticket prices to a Pirates game are low compared to the league, and its a treat to go to PGH and realize how cheap it is to see the nicest ballpark in baseball. Owners absolutely make a shit ton, and that sucks.

    • This “scarcity” concept amazes me. Why does it turn folks off when other people are successful and achieve wealth within a market-place that will pay them? Wealth is created, not distributed. Contrary to some mind sets, wealth not a finite resource. Therefore, if baseball is creating wealth, it’s not pulling from your, or anyone else’s pocket. Be happy we get to participate in this growth in Pittsburgh…

  • I’ve got a feeling I haven’t felt since we became contenders before the 2013 season. I know we’re not big spending team but there are teams making key moves and improving fast around us. I realize that it’s early yet and our Division rivals havent done much either but you know the Cubs and Cardinals will make significant moves to improve. The Cubs are looking to bring in Chen. The Cardinals are one of the favorites for Davis and Heyward The Pirates refused to spend enough to get Happ and there is no reclamation projects with the abilities of Burnett,Liriano or Volquez. We lost a ton of our power and looking to trade a lot more offense in Neil Walker. I’m starting to wonder where the Pirates can improve. I think it’s time to put our farm system to use. We need some real game changing moves.We need a starter and a big bat going into 2016. Waiting for Glsnow,Bell,and Taillon might be costly this season

    • They have money to spend, I have faith theyre going to step up and spend it. Would rather them acquire Kazmir or Fister by FA than giving up prospects for Niese for instance.

      • It is far too early in the offseason to begin panicking, thus making shortsighted moves we will regret for years to come. There are still plenty of solid pitchers on the market. With Arizona being all in this season and needing a closer, perhaps Melancon is a fit there?

    • My fear is you are correct in that the best way to maintain our playoff streak is to trade prospects. But in this type of market we’re going to need those guys – they are not really spare pieces. After next season, our rotation should be Cole, Liriano, Glasnow, Taillon, and Kingham. Kuhl and Brault will be needed as insurance for injuries or if one or two of the rookies doesn’t work out. If we start trending these guys, then we will keep needing to fill in gaps with more expensive free agents

      • They’re a lot question marks with those prospects. Bell is weak defensively and he doesn’t hit for as a corner/1baseman. Tailion will probably never work out with a the injuries. Trade both and throw in someone else for Shelby Miller.

    • We may have to let our young players play and sacrifice this season in order to win it all in 2017.

  • I hate to say it but I think we missed an opportunity with Happ. We were so focused on a “fair” price that I think we missed a seismic market shift. I no longer think we can afford a number 2 or 3 pitcher – only reclamation projects.

    And I think it’s criminal to pay these free agents that kind of money while paying minor leaguers nothing and even pre-arbitration guys less than they are worth.

    • Yep. This is starting to get pretty scary

      • Happ was a reclamation project;Volquez was a reclamation project; AJ Burnett was a reclamation project, and on and on. The price of pitching has gone sky high – what is scary is the load of money the Pirates are sitting on with MLB-ready mid-90’s guys at AAA (Glasnow, Taillon, Kuhl) and more a’comin. B’more must be thrilled thinking back about what they got for giving Brault and Tarpley to the Pirates.

        Used to be pitchers like those referenced at AAA above were willing to wait their turn – with prices like this their agents will now be coming to NH with threats of lawsuits if their clients do not get promoted in a timely fashion. It is a different marketplace than the one we put to sleep after the last out of the WS. And as the top end salaries rise, so does the average, and would that have an impact on what it might cost for a replacement player/pitcher? Better hire more accountants/analytical personnel.

        • Do you agree it is now more than ever very important to not trade top pitching prospects ?

          • I think it creates a conundrum because FA pitchers are the most expensive, but pitching prospects are arguably the most injury prone and toughest to get to the majors.

          • I definitely agree – they are like Gold – universally recognized trade value.

            I just took a look at the Cubs Rotation so far with Lackey added – it is good, but Ages 30, 32, 33, 37?

            • You bet emjay. And with this in mind, let’s look at their the Cubs, and all those expecting them to keep improving on an upward path : as you point out, their projected MLB rotation age is scary. But even more problematic for them, their most advanced pitching prospect is at Hi A, and Cease, their highest rated pitching prospect, was in the Arizona Rookie League this past season.

        • Agents have no basis for threatening a lawsuit to bring a player to the major leagues. No team is under any obligation to promote any player unless it wants to assuming there is no discrimination based on sexuality, ethnicity, etc. The team is left to do what is in it’s own best interest, the player has no rights in that sense.

    • You know, I was on the fence about Volquez last season. Jesus, as bad as that looked through 2015, in 2016 at 10 is even worse. Freaking bargain. I hate hindsight but it’s true.

    • The other big miss on Happ was that he’s a lefty and the teams we are competing against have struggled against left handed pitching

  • piraterican21
    December 5, 2015 1:46 pm

    the deal sound like it was facilitated by upcoming tv deal, is the PBC getting anything closed to the tv deal that every team including the Cards seem to be getting.

  • I really want Henderson Alvarez and a flyer on old man cliff Lee if he’s healthy

  • Fwiw, I enjoy threads here even though I may not always agree with what some people say. At least the opinions are educated and numbers/facts used to back arguments.

  • Heard Bucs interested in Jon Neise from Mets.

  • Masterson/Cahill now turning up asking demands after last few days…..

    • Why would top end prices effect these stiffs? Greinke and Price are 2 elite pitchers. Lackey got fair market I believe. When everyone was calling Happ overpaid i said by the 3rd year reclaimation projects will cost 10 million. I am probably not far off

  • Bucs like reclamation projects. How about Lincecum? How much would he cost?

    • PiratesFan1975
      December 5, 2015 1:22 pm

      Not sure he has anything left to work with. FB was down to 87 last year. He’s been in a constant decline for a while. I just don’t see what Searage would have to work with.

    • I think he has to ask himself, do I want to be a LOOGY or not? Because I just dont think he warrants a starting job anymore. At this point, you’re better off going with a AAA kid.

    • PiratesFan1975
      December 5, 2015 1:34 pm

      He’s not a reclamation project what so ever and it would take some talent to get him away from SD but I’d love to see what Searage could do with Tyson Ross. Already 9+k’s per 9 IP and high GB%. If he could cut down on the 4 free passes per 9 IP he would take it to another level.

  • PiratesFan1975
    December 5, 2015 1:14 pm

    Samardzija to the Giants. 5 years.

  • Greinke’s agent is a genius!

  • Bucs haven’t turned oven on yet… Maybe this week knob will be turned.

  • What does everyone think of Pedro as an Indian, if it happens?

    • Good for PA…bad for Indians….

    • Makes sense for The Tribe if the price is right.

      • Looks like a place where he could get the opportunity. Not sure who runs their hitting program or what the philosophy is.

        • I think wherever he goes, he gets better, if for no other reason than he realizes the Bucs soured on him and all of the things he probably neglected to sharpen his batting and fielding skills, he’s going to do now so he doesn’t look like so much a failure.

          That’s the primary reason I hope he winds up in the AL.

          (Still rooting for BN to open his fat wallet and have Neal sign Chris Davis.)

    • Probably decent for them, and for the Orioles also.

  • Does the players union have any effect on the minor leagues? Clearly they don’t care. That’s one reason I don’t mind trading players like melancon walker and yes… Mccutchen prior to walk years. Funneling spiraling ticket prices to a handful of millionaires sours me on buying tickets period.

    • MLBPA doesnt actually represent minor league players, so they get no say while the union negotiates their rights in bargaining agreements.

      Players union does its best for the current major league players, and those that are lucky enough to become major league players in the future. For those that dont make it to the show, it can suck for multiple years.

  • Poor Rockies fans. Gonna be a long few years while they try to develop all that young talent their farm system has.