If anybody ever asks why a talented kid should aim to play professional baseball instead of basketball or football, there are two very important words to remember: Guaranteed contracts.
In Major League Baseball, once you sign a contract, you’re getting that money. Even if injuries take you away from the game like Prince Fielder or if you “retire” like A-Rod did. The money might come from different places — like insurance companies in the case of Fielder or the Los Angeles Angels in the case of injured Josh Hamilton, who hasn’t been in their uniform since 2014. Nonetheless, these players are getting paid, somehow, someway.
Baseball’s guaranteed contracts are such that in 2017 you can almost create an entire team — let’s call them the Carl Crawford All-Stars — of players who are making more than $10 million this season and won’t play a single inning. It’s the topic of this week’s Open Mike video, in which we learn that the Carl Crawford All-Stars would actually be MLB’s 17th highest payroll if they were an actual team.
Crawford, by the way, was released by the Dodgers last season, while they were paying him $21.6 million. He didn’t play anywhere else and actually retired in the offseason. Nonetheless, he’s making more this season, $21.8 million. Not bad work if you can get it.
This isn’t something that just afflicts traditionally big-spending like the Dodgers and New York Yankees — nope, even the “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics got stuck paying Billy Butler $11 million this season. That deal won’t be getting Billy Beane a sequel.
The seven players on our Carl Crawford All-Stars — including pitcher Matt Harrison and infielder Hector Olivera — are making a cool $127.6 million in 2017. That’s actually more than the current best team in baseball, the Houston Astros, whose payroll is $124 million. It ranks just behind the Colorado Rockies, whose $131 million is close to the league average of $138 million.
The Carl Crawford All-Stars would have Harrison on the mound, Fielder at first, A-Rod at shortstop (hey, it’s all make believe), Olivera at third, then Hamilton and Crawford in the outfield with Butler at DH. Bobby Bonilla, who is famously still getting a million per year from the Mets, can be the coach.
We’re just short another outfielder, a second baseman and a catcher. For what the Carl Crawford All-Stars are paying this year, you gotta figure they’ll be able to find someone willing to join the team.
PREVIOUSLY IN OPEN MIKE:
• Why Manny Machado wasn’t the bad guy in baseball’s rap beef
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