Bill Conlin, fun and fact-free!, weighs in on Ryan Howard:
There is one set of numbers, however, that fails to match the monetary implications raised by his stature as a power hitter – the numbers on his paycheck.
Conlin appears willfully ignorant of how baseball salaries work. Ryan Howard is eligible for arbitration this year as a Super-Two player, and he will and should be paid like a first-time eligible player. Conlin is making the argument that the Phillies should give Howard a long-term deal that pays him closer to his market value – in other words, he’s saying that the Phillies will be better off if they voluntarily pay Howard more than baseball’s economic system says he should get. Conlin points
You don’t need an economics degree and an MBA to realize that voluntarily overpaying for your inputs is a rather simple recipe for failure. For all the complaining you hear about baseball’s economic system, it is heavily stacked in the teams’ favor: Player salaries are below market value for the first six years of major league service, and for most players, that six-year period will include some or most of their peak years. In Howard’s case, because he reached the majors so late, the six-year period will include ALL of his peak years. By the time baseball’s economic structure allows Howard to be a free agent, he’ll be 32 years old, and given his profile as a hitter and body type, he’ll be paid a salary commensurate with his peak-years production during his decline phase, assuming that he becomes a free agent.
But hey, should we be surprised? Conlin’s own employer pays him the top salary at the paper plus his pension, and his peak years are behind him, too.