Bud Selig’s salary
|02.02.09 at 3:56 pm ET|
Clearly, a new economic era has arrived in Major League Baseball–at least for its players and most owners. Jason Varitek’s pay cut has been well documented in these parts. Pat Burrell, coming off a year when he was a middle-of-the-order presence for a World Series winner, struggled to find a two-year, $16 million deal. Pitchers with All-Star resumes, such as Ben Sheets, are still looking for work, wondering why they can’t get a multi-year offer when, just a few years ago, folks like Adam Eaton and Vicente Padilla could land three-year deals for $8-10 million or more.
Aside from a handful of guys – most notably, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe – it’s been a terrible time to be a free agent. No doubt, there are plenty of players who wish they had accepted those arbitration offers back in December, or who now wonder why they didn’t more aggressively explore discussions of an extension just a year ago.
But what of Major League Baseball’s Commissioner? What about the man who has overseen explosive financial growth in an industry that, like most sectors of American life, is almost certain to endure serious financial decline?
According to Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal, Selig made $18.35 million in the fiscal year that ended on October 31, 2007 – just after the Red Sox won the World Series. He was believed to be due for a pay increase last season, and had the good sense (luck?) to sign a three-year contract extension in early 2008 that will offer further pay increases through 2012.
Given that Selig has been the head man for MLB during a period of massive revenue increases, it is understandable that the owners would reward him. However, it would have been fascinating to see what might have happened had the owners not re-signed Selig until this offseason. Would he, like Burrell and Varitek, have faced a reduced salary, based on the notion espoused by owners and front offices that the game is about to take a revenue hit? In the likely case that owners would not have taken such a stance with their commissioner, it would have been interesting to hear what players and agents would have uttered at a time when those who make their livings on the field are now subject to pay cuts.
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