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MLB Signing Bonuses

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I haven't found much reason to write about major league baseball recently, but this piece by Jayson Stark about the MLB draft really irks me:

Draft in desperate need of repair

Stephen Strasburg just signed for $15 million - not $50 million - and yet Stark quotes an AL exec: "That's still a gigantic amount of money. Don't kid yourself."

Except it's not. Not in baseball. Carl Pavano pitched 26 games over four seasons and made $38 million. Carlos Silva's in the second year of a 5-year, $60 million contract. His ERAs since he signed: 6.46 and 8.48. That puts the price of a pitcher who has proven himself incapable of getting hitters out or staying healthy at the major-league level is $10-$12 million per season. The Washington Nationals will control Stephen Strasburg for three major-league seasons for barely $16 million, a vast discount over his real value. Top picks bring great value - Justin Upton has cost the Arizona Diamondbacks just over $7 million, but his production will be worth $20 million by season's end.

And Stark wants you to know that he's not just shilling for management: "It's because players want it...big league players want those $15 million deals going to them, not to kids who have never played a professional baseball game."

Of course veteran players want more money - they got robbed of their signing bonuses and were paid at a discount for their first 3-6 seasons. Now they want as big a piece of the pie as possible. But that's not a good reason for Stark to want to squeeze amateur players. Would Stark want anybody to take a 50% or 75% discount in any other career? I think not.