Average salary for MLB on track for the second consecutive decline

NEW YORK – Even with huge new contracts for Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Nolan Arenado, Major League Baseball's average salary is expected to drop from opening day for an unprecedented second consecutive season, according to projections from 39 Associated Press.

The 872 registered and injured players Monday night averaged $ 4.36 million, up from $ 4.41 million at the start of last season and $ 4.45 million at the opening day. in 2017, according to the studies of the AP.

The consecutive declines follow the free markets of independent players who have been consecutive and who saw the wages sharply reduced for many veterans – and the biggest pitchers, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel, are still not signed while the openers of the season are approaching.

This year's exact number could go up or down when teams set up their roster for opening day on Thursday. This number will depend on the number of players on the casualty list and the number of cheaper substitutes on active alignments. In 2018, the average was slightly down when free agents Jake Arrieta of the Philadelphia Phillies and Alex Cobb of the Baltimore Orioles started the season in the minor leagues.

According to AP calculations, the drop in the opening day of last season was only the second since the end of the 1994-95 strike, after a 2.7 drop % in 2004. The Major League Baseball Players Association set its final average at $ 4,095,686, down $ 1,436 from 2017, while MLB's figure was $ 4,007,987. up $ 3,955,920 in 2017. The syndicate includes option purchases in its average calculation, unlike MLB.

Overall spending on major league salaries dropped for the first time last season for the first time since 2010, according to the Commissioner's calculations, a drop from $ 18 million to $ 4.23 billion attributable drug and domestic violence suspensions and the retirement of a player in the mid-season. The only prior declines since 2002 were $ 3 million in 2010 and $ 32 million in 2004.

The pitchers are the five highest paid players, led by Max Scherzer (Washington) with $ 37.4 million and Zack Greinke (Arizona) with $ 32.4 million. The Boston Red Sox are expected to lead the major leagues in the payroll for the second year in a row, followed by the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees. For Scherzer and Greinke, the money carried over is discounted to current value.

Stagnant wages at low might not change in the next year. The 2019-2020 free agent class lost many of its most attractive players when Arenado, Chris Sale, Justin Verlander and Paul Goldschmidt accepted new contracts during the spring training. That leaves Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, Khris Davis, Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorius and Anthony Rendon the head of the group for the moment.

The association of players is dissatisfied with the market and begins with management an unprecedented start to negotiations that could lead to major economic changes.

"Free will is one of the engines of the baseball economic system and it must remain a valid option for players in the future," said union president Tony Clark in a statement.

Scott Boras, an agent who prefers players to become free agents, pleads for the MLB and the union to adopt a "franchise player".

"Each club must authorize the designation of a luxury tax exception, ie it must sign a player that is not part of its luxury tax calculation", he said Monday. "We are thus assured that the teams will have a franchise player and many good players, because every sports league should have Goliath and every sports league should have Davids."

Los Angeles Angels player Mike Trout signed for two more years for $ 66.5 million. Rather than wait, he agreed to sign a new deal worth $ 426.5 million over 12 years last week, a record for a total and an average of a little more than $ 35.5 million, but an agreement that increased its 2019 figure from $ 34.3 million to $ 18.5 million.

As a free agent, the player from southern New Jersey could probably have done a lot more.

"I know that there has been much talk of returning to the east and coming back to Philadelphia, but I appreciate every minute of my presence," he said Sunday in front of the stadium. Angels in Anaheim. "I was going to be an angel for life, that's for sure … I think that spending your whole career with one team, it's pretty cool."

Staying with a team during his career was also a factor for Arenado, who accepted an eight-year, $ 260-million contract with the Colorado Rockies.

"The grass is not always greener on the other side," he said. "I was not afraid of free agency, I did not base my decision on that, I based my decision on my desire to be here."

Dirty, left-wingers who helped Boston win his fourth title in 15 seasons, has been with the Red Sox for two seasons following his deal with the Chicago White Sox. One of the keys for Sale was to stay with a team that is planning a spring training in Fort Myers, Florida, where he lives off-season. Already guaranteed $ 15 million in the last year of his previous contract, he has accepted a new $ 145 million contract from 2020 to 2024.

A southpaw who will turn 30 next weekend, Sale was bothered by an inflammation of the left shoulder last season. This probably locks the biggest contract of his life.

"For me, the best deal possible was not the highest money, no – and it's for some people, and I respect it," he said. "And I would actually tell people to do that: well, go to a free agency, maximize your chances, get everything you can, we have a tiny window as athletes in all sports to maximize our because we can not do it – for 30 years, but for me, living at home for two more months, getting my son back to school – I attended all of his Little League training. matches, I could see six of them. "

Verlander, a 36-year-old right-hander, found the same happiness in Houston after spending more than eleven seasons in Detroit. It was acquired in August 2017 and helped the Astros win their first World Series title. Already signed for $ 28 million this season, he has agreed to sign a new three-year contract worth $ 66 million in guaranteed money.

"I do not see a better situation, which is why, for me, this situation was a perfect marriage," he said.

Verlander says: "I was not afraid of free will", but he thinks the market is broken.

"At the top of the food chain, these guys will always get their contracts," he said. "The teams understand the situation they are in when they have the player in. Both sides have a mutual weight to get things done, and I think that's why it's happening. produces a lot right now. "

Goldschmidt, a first-base player acquired from St. Arizona in December by St. Louis, had a salary of $ 14.5 million this season. He accepted an agreement with the Cardinals guaranteeing an additional $ 130 million between 2020 and 2024. He imitated the decisions of Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds and Matt Holliday, who has all opted for long-term stays after exchanges with the Cardinals.

"There are a lot of good things about this game, but often, families move and guys go to different cities and different teams more out of necessity than out of desire," he said, "to be able to stay in. a place was a high priority. "

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