By: Holly Horning
Sometimes the most important information to analyze and digest comes in the form of quick hits – meaty little chunks of news that will have lasting impact. Two trends hit my radar this week. Let’s explore….
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Social media threads about the Tigers have been churning with fans’ latest wishes about putting expensive and well-known names at every position, including the bench. Despite Mr. I’s generosity, the Tigers, like all teams, have to keep an eye on payroll.
Currently, Detroit has $123 million invested in just 6 players. Unfortunately, 3 of the 6 are pitchers and not everyday players who can make a consistent impact on team performance.
This leaves a mere $56 million for the other 19 players if the Tigers do move to the luxury tax maximum limit. This amount includes new acquisitions, upcoming arbitration increases and the continued payment to the Rangers for Prince Fielder.
Current estimates have the Tigers over $170 million so far and more than last year. But it’s also important to remember that the team has the second largest future payroll obligations through 2024 after the Dodgers – for almost half a BILLION dollars.
Even if the Tigers don’t add expensive players in the future, Miggy’s contract will continue to climb over the years, topping out at $32 million/year.
Oh, and then there’s this guy named JD. What do the Tigers do about extending him?
So how realistic is it for fans wanting the Tigers to sign a Gordon- or Cespedes-type player? Not very. To put it in perspective, they would be asking Al Avila to pay 1/4th to 1/3rd of that $56 million to a single player. Adding that salary would likely put the Tigers near or over the $200 million mark.
Agents of Cha-Ching! Change
The three highest paid Tigers – JV, Miggy and Zimmermann are all represented by Relativity Baseball. In total, their agents have 7 players on the team. The good news is that JD is not one of them. Rondon, Wilson, Moya and McCann are.
I’m not thrilled that James is repped by them. But let’s hope the monster contracts given to JV and Miggy are more of a result of Dombrowski’s free-spending ways and less about Relativity’s ability to negotiate.
But now that Dave Dombrowski is gone, Scott Boras has come callin’ again. KRod and Pelfrey are his clients. Add them to Romine and Iggy and Boras comes in as #2 in the agent rankings. But expect him to increase his presence once again……..
The remaining players are represented by 14 other agencies.
The most expensive contracts by year are also the longest ones. The Tigers will get no measurable payroll relief until 2020 when JV drops off the books but the team will still have $55 million tied up in just 2 players.
Agents earn between 4% and 10% of a player’s salary which means for JV alone, Relativity made approximately $9 million to $22 million. Add in Miggy for a commission of $10 mill to $24 mill. Oh, and then there’s commission on marketing/endorsement deals, too……..
It’s good to be an agent.