By: Holly Horning
I’ve come to realize there is a sub set to the Hot Stove season and I’m tempted to call it Worthless Rankings. You know the ones – Projected World Series winners, grading teams’ off-season moves, worst farm system rankings, etc. Today’s news about the worst contracts, written by someone who never spent a day working for an MLB team, let alone the contract negotiating process, sent me over the edge.
Notice how all of these rankings place an emphasis on the negative aspects? Well, there’s a reason for that. It’s the easiest way for writers to get noticed and have their stories spread quickly around the internet. The writer of the just-released ‘worst contract’ article, Jonah Keri, writes one line about his job and the rest of his bio is focused on listing his books, his upcoming book and the availability for pre-order. Gee, what a surprise.
It is standard fare now to see a journalist publish an “analysis” that is one-dimensional in order to support their point. Many of them focus on the erroneous premise that a player’s worth is only tied to performance on the field, not comprehending that assets and currency come in many different forms that don’t have visible dollar signs attached to them. Obviously, Mr. I understands this which is why his empire is worth somewhere north of $3.2 billion.
While my purpose is not to debate this writer’s entire list, nor address his comments about JV, as pitchers are unique and should be looked at separately, I will refute his summary about Miguel Cabrera. Simply, while Miggy brings exceptional talent to the table, his contract is balanced in significant part by the added value (tangible and otherwise), he brings each and every day while he plays – and beyond. They include:
1. Role Model & Mentor – In the clubhouse and on the field, he interacts with the younger players.
2. Unofficial Batting Coach – When Miggy takes batting practice, the other players gather to watch and learn.
3. Exceptional Work Ethic – He helps to set the tone of expectations to maximize overall team performance.
1. Higher Team Profile – Stars attract more national attention to their team, including national TV exposure.
2. Increased Success in Signing Players – What Pudge started, Miggy has taken the torch in promoting Detroit as an annual desired destination.
3. The Old English D – Miggy’s presence has bumped up the sales of merchandise, licensing agreements and royalties.
1. TV Rights – One of the most significant revenue generators, most notably tied to star power and winning.
2. Increased Franchise Worth – Miggy’s value is calculated into the monetary worth of the franchise.
3. Attendance Figures – Revenue has jumped from ticket sales and related sales from parking, concessions and again, merchandise.
1. Team Success – Multiple winning years, division titles, playoffs and World Series, all generating bonus money and additional revenue for the team.
2. Hall of Fame – The gift that will last forever. Mr. I has ensured that Miggy will be wearing the Old English D in Cooperstown. And isn’t that the way it should be?