While baseball’s current labor deal is in effect until 2026, it seems that early negotiations have started in 2023. The fight for position in the paint has begun. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred formed a new Economic Reform Committee. With the explosion of high salaries this offseason led by free agent and player splurges by the New York Mets and San Diego Padres, along with the collapse of regional sports networks, ownership’s first order of business is finding ways to implement a salary cap to try and depress player salaries.
Regional Network Fizzle
According to reports, the 19 Sinclair-owned Bally Sports RSNs are on the verge of bankruptcy, and Warner Bros/Discovery-owned AT&TT-0.6% RSNs shorted payments to the Astros, Rockies, and Pirates.
According to Forbes, “Major League Baseball has seen attendance decline nine straight seasons and was down nearly 6% in 2022 compared to 2019, the last season before the pandemic. Before the media rights explosion, the gate was the league’s largest revenue generator. As media rights became a huge cash cow, less strain was placed on attendance numbers.”
Baseball deals for superstars have reached the $300M mark and are only getting higher. San Diego just blessed Manny Machado with an 11-year $350M lifetime deal. Of course, if the market didn’t allow it then players wouldn’t be able to make that kind of money, but the owners are pulling in a grip so free enterprise is only right. However, the owners are getting less willing to share the pie and are prepared to play hardball when the next collective bargaining negotiations arise.
MLBbro Tony Clark is ready to stop any movements by the league that hints at a salary cap situation. Last weekend Mr. Clark spoke to the media from the union’s Arizona satellite office to say that despite the committee’s efforts being “focused in on how best to depress players’ salaries” he is prepared for a fight all the way up to the 2026 expiration date of the labor deal.
MLBPA Executive Director, Tony Clark, is adamant that the union will never agree to a salary cap.
Read more of what he has to say on the matter here ⬇️
Tony Clark’s Executive Legacy Tied To Labor Negotiations
This is the time that our highest MLBbro executive can stamp his name in the history of the game. MLB is the only North American sport without a version of a salary cap or a financial plan to budget player salaries. The players union and MLB have gone back and forth over this philosophical difference for decades which caused a work stoppage in 1994, eliminating the World Series and prematurely ending the season for a gang of players who were chasing records that year.
Clark Against Cutting Minor League Rosters, Salaries
Over 5,500 minor league players formed their own union in September to increase their annual salaries that bottomed out at $10,400. Clark started their negotiations for the first minor league agreement in November. While MLB has proposed ways to contract the minor leagues in exchange for improvements, Clark considers the league’s proposal to reduce the overall roster from 180 to 165 on its four minor league affiliates along with the Arizona and Florida complexes a “nonstarter”.
“The idea,” Clark said, “of the league having the ability to cut minor league jobs and/or contracting teams further on the heels of the 40-plus teams that were contracted a couple of years ago is troublesome.”
Clark is on record stating that he is encouraged with the early part of negotiations citing hope that MLB and the union can hammer out an agreement for the minor leagues in possibly two or three weeks. However, if no deal is made by Opening Day, the season will start under the current economic structure.
As for the majors, with a deal locked in until 2026, that doesn’t mean that Tony Clark will not be prepared for negotiations.
Tony Clark just told reporters: "We're never going to agree to a cap." Spring training headlines have been full of owners bemoaning economic disparity. We are (checks notes) four years away from the next CBA negotiations. If you stay ready you don't have to get ready, amirite.
Clark has spent much of his time as an MLBbro executive advocating and pioneering for the financial advancement of MLB players. In 2019, the baseball union formed a collaboration with the NFL players to create an organization called the One Team Partners. One Team Partners works to help players capitalize on their name, image and likeness. This business deal alone has raised hundreds of millions for the union’s cache. The success has attracted unions from other sports such as Major League Soccer, the WNBA and the US Women’s National Soccer Team.
Having just avoided disaster by settling a 99-day lockout before the regular season in 2022, Clark will be loading up and prepared for the next labor negotiations, which are sure to be contentious and a nightmare for fans.
In offseason baseball news, World Series champion and outfielder Michael A. Taylor has been traded by the Kansas City Royals to the Minnesota Twins for pitching prospects Evan Sisk and Steven Cruz. This will be the third team for the World Series champion. He played the last two seasons with the Royals after seven with the Washington Nationals.
While being widely known as an immaculate defensive player, his .254/.313/.357 hitting slash with nine home runs and 43 RBI last season shows that his offense will be helpful for the Twins as well next year. MLBbro.com was monitoring his improvement on the offensive side last year starting with a hot start on opening day as MLBro.com content writer Malik Wright covers here…
Taylor is primarily a center fielder and a smart investment plan to back up fellow MLBbro Byron Buxton whose injuries have hampered him to the point that he has not played more than 92 games but once in his career. Michael A. Taylor’s presence will play a big part in the franchise’s overall resting program for Buxton which brought criticism from the fans last season.
Michael A. Taylor An All-Around Player
Taylor came into his own on offense back in 2017, hitting .271 with 19 dingers, knocking in 53 runs with an impressive OPS of .806. But his 2021 Gold Glove winning efforts gives Minnesota three outfielders on the roster with Gold Glove awards in Byron “Big Bux” Buxton (2017) and Joey Gallo (2020 and 2021).
Even though, reports consider Taylor a fourth outfielder and insurance policy for Buxton, we should see him plenty next season. He’s too good for the Twins to waste him on the bench. His ability to get a good read and jump on balls and be able to climb walls to rob extra base hits and homers placed him in the top five outfield assists in the AL during his time in Kansas City over two years.
The Minnesota Twins have acquired maybe the best under the radar acquisition so far this offseason.
Devin Williams of the Milwaukee Brewers already has collected a trove of historical statistics and accomplishments that makes the 28-year-old MLBbro one of the most dominant relief pitchers in history. He also appreciates a mean shoe game, as Rob Parker found out at the 2022 All-Star game in Colorado.
2020 National League Rookie Of The Year
In 2020, he was named the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s Jackie Robinson National League Rookie of the Year. Here’s where things get very interesting.
Just check out the history attached to this achievement…
Williams was the first relief pitcher in either league to take Rookie of the Year Honors since Craig Kimbrell did it for the Atlanta Braves in 2011.
He was the first non-closer to achieve the accomplishment since Scott Williamson did it with the Cincinnati Reds in 1999.
He became the very first pitcher to take the award without logging a win or save.
Devin Williams and fellow MLBbro Kyle Lewis of the Seattle Mariners, were the first Black players to sweep rookie honors since hit machine Alvin Davis and the MLBbro icon Dwight Gooden back in 1984.
Williams also won the 2020 NL Reliever of the Year Award after his teammate Josh Hader had won it the previous two seasons.
It’s one thing to be a part of history and it’s another to understand the importance of being part of history. In 1984, Gooden and Davis swept the honors THREE YEARS before the award was renamed in Jackie Robinson’s honor. He spoke out at the time on the subject via MLB.com.
Devin Williams Represents For Biracial MLBbros
“I feel like you need someone who looks like you to show you it’s possible,” Williams said. “Growing up, I had guys like Derek Jeter and other biracial and Black players who just kind of opened the door to that possibility for me. When you don’t see anyone who looks like you, it doesn’t feel like it’s attainable, in a way.”
Williams was the only MLBbro pitcher at the 2022 MLB All-Star Game.
Age Of “The Airbender”
After a rocky 2021 season filled with inconsistencies and a broken hand that kept him out of the postseason, here’s where the story begins.
When our MLBbro further developed his unique “airbender” changeup that made everyone forget the valleys of the previous season, Williams quietly transitioned himself from the best set-up man in baseball to one of the best closers. The Milwaukee Brewers must have seen some long-term potential when they shocked the baseball world and it’s players by trading ace closer Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres at the trade deadline. At the time, Hader led the MLB with 29 saves.
Even Williams himself was surprised by the deal. But the Brewers front office sees that Williams is ready to be the man to close games out for this franchise.
Just look at the numbers between Hader and Williams at the time of the big trade…
Hader: 29 saves in 31 attempts with an ERA of 4.24 and a WHIP of 1.12.
Williams: In 39.2 innings of setup work, our MLBbro had an ERA of 1.59 and 66 strikeouts.
Coupled with the 0.33 ERA during his award collecting 2020 campaign, it shows the Brewers’ decision was a no brainer. Taylor Rogers, Dinelson Lamet and Robert Gasser will compete for Devin’s set-up position in the bullpen.
What Can We Expect From MLBbro Devin Williams in 2023?
The most unique pitch that will be introduced to the game since the split-fingered fastball in the 1980’s by Bruce Sutter. Williams has a changeup that is so fascinating that it has its own name. Pitching guru, Rob Friedman calls his changeup “The Airbender”. Just like with his awards, he understands the significance of what’s going on around him.
With this physics-defying pitch and more opportunity for saves to boost his resume, our MLBbro is well on his way to being a Cy Young contender if he can stay healthy and available.
Dusty Baker and the Houston Astros looked to close out their quest for a World Series Championship in six games on Saturday night. Sure, this would be the Astros’ first championship since 2017, but this one would be different for two reasons.
Number one, the Astros would not have a black cloud hanging over their accomplishment. Number two, Dusty Baker was not the manager of that controversial 2017 team and a victory would finish his goal of bringing back respect to the franchise.
Before the game started, Our MLBbro manager and only representative in The Series, had the most managerial wins all-time without a World Series title. Well those days are over. The Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 to win the World Series and give our MLBbro, Dusty Baker, his first managerial championship after over 2000 wins.
With the victory, Baker became only the third black manager in MLB history to win a World Series title joining Cito Gaston of the Toronto Blue Jays and Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Here are some more accomplishments throughout Dusty’s baseball career…
The MLBbro player:
● 1977 NLCS Most Valuable Player
● 1981 World Series Champion
The MLBbro manager:
● Three-time manager of the year recipient
● 4th manager all-time with 100 wins in a season in both the American and National Leagues
● He’s one of only two individuals in MLB history (Joe Torre being the other) to notch 1800 plus hits as a player and wins as a manager.
For the first five innings of the game, to say nothing happened would be considered exciting. But in the bottom of the sixth inning down 1-0 after a solo home run from Kyle Schwarber, the Astros exploded with four runs spearheaded by an absolute monster three run shot from Yordan Alvarez.
This is how MLBbro.com describes explosions on MLBbro managed teams:
For Alvarez, this has been the wildest roller coaster ride for any World Series participant in some time. He had three home runs that turned out to be game winners combined with slumps. His home run to close out Game 6 was not the only dinger that powered Baker to his first championship… A three run homer in the bottom of the 9th with two outs in Game 1…
The Astros pitching and defense shut down the Phillies offense to the point of only three runs in three games and only nine hits over the same span! But as proud as the entire MLBbro.com is of Dusty Baker and his first championship, his most important task was not on the field. It was in a press conference speaking out about the fact that this is the first World Series since 1950 that there are no U.S.-born Black players in this year’s fall classic. A must listen…
Dusty Baker asked about the fact this is the 1st World Series since 1950 without a U.S.-born Black player: “I don't think that that's something that baseball should really be proud of. It looks bad. It let's people know it didn't take a year or even a decade to get to this point” pic.twitter.com/N4WLPBqdyx
Next up for New York, after the team’s complete offensive collapse against the Houston Astros in the postseason, are questions bigger than what happened to the bats. And one of those is– Can the New York Yankees hold on to MLBbro Aaron Judge?
WFAN brought in baseball pundit Steve Somers to give his opinion about what the Yankees should do with MLBbros Judge and Aaron Hicks if the franchise wants to make it out of the American League playoffs and get back to the World Series for the first time since 2009.
Steve Somers on Aaron Hicks:
“One thing you have to do is get rid of [Aaron] Hicks and get rid of [Josh] Donaldson, Steve said. “Try to eat some of that money and get rid of him. He’s a strikeout waiting to happen.”
Steve Somers on Aaron Judge:
“I don’t see Judge going anywhere,” Steve said. “Not San Francisco, not Boston, and he’s not going to the Mets. He’s the face of the Yankees and he’s a popular guy. He’s the leader of the team, arguably gonna be the next captain of the team. He’s gonna be MVP. He ought to go into Hal Steinbrenner’s office and say, ‘Hey partner.”
Since Aaron Judge is supposed to be the “no-brainer” of this situation, let’s discuss it. Somers’ take on Judge sure seems rock solid on the surface, but is it?
Hal Steinbrenner sure didn’t think of Judge as a partner when the negotiations only went as far as a $19 million per year in the offseason. The Yankees decided to play chicken with Judge, and they lost…big time!
The Yankees are notorious of late, for balking against handing out long-term deals and are trying to move away from their reputation of overpaying players. They used injuries and age to lower the market price on Judge despite a highly productive 2021.
In 2021, Aaron finished fourth in MVP voting with 39 home runs, 98 RBI, 89 runs scored and won the Silver Slugger award by carrying the team into the playoffs (Barely!) in 148 games. In 2022, despite ongoing distractions around his contract situation, he still put on one of the greatest offensive seasons in Yankees and MLB history, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record for home runs with 62.
Not only that, his all-around play at the plate and the field saved a 15.5 game collapse when the division title should have been in the bag.
Aaron Judge made a request to get a deal done before Opening Day with the understanding that he wanted to be a Yankee for a long time. Maybe if GM Brian Cashman had tacked on $40-$50 million earlier this season or in Spring Training, this conversation never makes the news cycle. But now the hottest Yankee since Derek Jeter is worth $100 million or more than the previous offer for him to even pay attention.
The last offer given to Judge was seven years at $213.5 million before the arbitration phase. Now is not the time for the Yankees to get cheap, even though the payroll is off the charts. The team is already locked in to close to $200 million in guaranteed money (Hence the Somers statements on Hicks!) with an eye on certain luxury tax levels.
Where Does Judge Go?
The San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers (a team with no issues with spending money!), Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals are all potential teams that can supply the amount of money that Aaron Judge wants. The bidding war alone could burn up any money needed to build around him.
Now there has to be decisions made on both sides. It’s no longer Judge believing that his salary should be at the top of the MLB money list. Now, his teammates do too.
Anthony Rizzo thinks Aaron Judge should be the highest-paid player in baseball:
"I think that he bet on himself on the biggest stage, in the biggest market, and did it with ease… He's the new gold standard, in my opinion." pic.twitter.com/8gRxdNPUop
But if that happens, our MLBbro has to understand that the bank is closed for help in the journey for a championship run. The financial constraints that signing Judge creates for any team that signs him is also a concern.
Even though the Yankees are a multi-billion-dollar franchise, this is still a business. The Yankees have to decide on one of the biggest investments in the history of baseball and Aaron Judge has to figure out how to make good on a possible $300 million bag if it comes.