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Dodgers: Max Scherzer and MLBPA Seeking Added Protection for Young MLB Players

There’s a bevy of contentious topics that the players’ union and the MLB need to resolve in the new CBA. A big topic is increasing compensation for younger players to counteract the practice of not signing mid-tier free agents.

Former Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer elaborated on the MLBPA’s goals for younger players in an interview with the LA Times Jorge Castillo.

“Teams have shown that they’re not willing to pay for players’ past production for a whole slew of reasons. And if that’s the case, that’s the case. But if we’re going to look at players that way, then we need to then allocate more money to players earlier in their career. We’re seeing that happen more than ever now, of front offices chiding away middle-class free agents…a solution must be found to balance it.”

MLB Front Offices ‘Leveraging’ Players’ Desires

Scherzer outlined another practice that has become more common: MLB front offices proposing contract extensions to players before they ever play an inning in the majors.

Essentially, MLB teams “buy-out” the remaining years of team control in the hopes that they can retain the player long-term well below market rate. This happens well before the player ever has a chance to hit the open market as a free agent. Recently we’ve seen this practice with young stars like Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays and Ozzie Albies of the Atlanta Braves.

Scherzer characterized the practice as predatory. 

“They’re told take the extension and you will be in the big leagues tomorrow but if you don’t sign it you will stay in the minor leagues. Playing in the big leagues is everyone’s dream, and teams are now leveraging that desire to gain financial control over a player’s career.”

Scherzer’s insights are noteworthy since he, along with seven other players, is a member of the MLBPA’s executive subcommittee.

The subcommittee and the entire union are fighting for many things. More financial protection for younger players is right near the top of the batting order. Still, as it stands, MLB and the union are far apart on these core economics and have no renewed discussions on schedule at this time.

NEXT: MLB World Reacts to Ken Rosenthal and Rob Manfred News

27 Comments

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  1. Interesting that Max is screaming on his soapbox now that he signed his last guaranteed contract and the ‘little guy’ can’t interfere with his earnings. Crocodile tears, he gets his unless they work stoppage reduces the season. He is trying to get the evil owners in the news cycle. Of the games are at risk he will vote to play the games for the fans and mother baseball. He is no dummy but he is a huge fake.

  2. The MLB needs a salary cap that allows teams to sign the 40 man roster. Teams can pay the stars what they believe they can afford, but a certain amount/percent of team profits needs to be set aside and is to be divided amongst the 40 either in equal shares or based on game time played. An end-of-season bonus, if you will, and it takes guys like Scott Boras out of the equation or at least in check. Naturally, the Minors are a different animal and need to have their own CBA of sorts. The money needs to have a fair distribution to the players, and Sherzer who got $40 million a year, I would think, would likely bark against that in his call if on the table to help the younger get paid sooner.

  3. I have another idea. Have mega-buck stars like Scherzer commit to deposit 10% of their contract values into a fund that compensates minor league ballplayers earning less than the U.S. median middle class household income for their home states, as determined by the Pew Research Center. For example, a player getting paid $30 million a year would contribute $3 million to such a fund, which could go quite a ways toward helping lower echelon players. The Scherzers of the world could write off their contributions on their taxes and feel benevolent all at the same time.

  4. I’ve posted this here, as well as written Stan Kasten and Andrew Friedmam: pay the players FOR their prime years, not BECAUSE OF their prime years. It just seems bass akwards to me. After three years, you KNOW if a player is going to make it; if a player is a mainstay in your lineup.

    Two years ago, they knew what they had in Buehler. Instead of signing him to a long-term deal now (likely at a bit lower AAV), and pay him for his 24-32 age years (his prime years!), you’re gonna risk paying him until he’s old. So now, they’ll be lucky to keep him when he becomes a free agent at 28 because they don’t want to pay him out to 37 years of age! Well, DUH!!

    Same goes for Urias, same should have went for Seager three years ago. Same for Smith. They did do it for Kershaw. And, there are others they can/could have done it for. So, why the inconsistencies? Why the wait? To milk the guy during his “team control” years? This is just bad business….

  5. And a salary cap floor of $60 million or so, if they truly want the veteran guys to get paid.

    Baltimore is THE main reason for this proposal. Sherzer makes more in one year than the entire Orioles roster…

  6. Max Sherzer should just put half his salary into a fund for young players, and urge other hyper paid players to do the same. These funds would be more than enough to keep young players “safe”.

  7. I have a question. Why are we constantly bombarded with Max Scherzer content? He left the Dodgers high and dry, he doesn’t concern me anymore. Either you are a Dodger or you aren’t and if you aren’t, I only want to here news of you occaisionally, not every single day.

    • yeah. all the guys that harp on scherzer wouldve done the same thing and taken the 43 million per year. and they loved it when he was pitching for LA. and theyd love it if max was still in LA. theyd dream about him and write songs praising and worshiping that golden right arm. and can u blame him. its either pitch for dave and take the chance that he will blow your arm out and ruin your career or play for the mets and 43 million a year for 3 years which the dodgers didnt offer him. max was under no obligation to return and he said la overcooked his arm. the rest of his statements were subterfuge so it wouldnt look like he was blaming the dodgers even though if there is any blame to be handed out it falls square on the teams shoulders and not scherzer whos nothing short of magnificent!

  8. one possible idea is three years major league service time or age 28 . whichever comes first to declare free agency. then no contracts allowed to exceed 3 years. eliminate draft pick compensation for a teams free agents leaving. and discontinue all one year qualifying offers for a teams free agents also. and everybody is a free agent. no more backloaded contracts. minimizing dead weight contracts for teams who encounter a continuously injured player. and also minimize long term dead weight over serious injuries and any production drops whatever the reason. draft pick compensation ties free agents down with baggage as the aquiring team has to pay a surcharge tax on top of a new free agent contract. and if a team loses a free agent whats to stop a team from signing another one? it makes no sense to have draft pick compensation attached to departing free agents.

  9. why are my comments on a solution to the lockout and free agency on hold dodgers nation? can you explain por favor? maybe my self percieved talents are too high?

  10. that is bizarre. no wonder the dodgers cant win a title albeit in a full season. they wont release my comment on draft pick compensation and free agency to the world . its really strange.

      • scherzers arm was falling off the last 2 reg season games from overwork. i wrote to the team right before that and said is it going to hurt maxs chances of winning a cy young award if he missed a start and that they should rest him buehler and the entire team and way back in august i told them not to chase frisco because maybe theyd catch the giants and maybe they wouldnt but dont chase them because its a red herring. a trap. you might catch the giants but youll for certain be too worn out for the postseason. and in the end scherzer buehler and urias were dead tired along with half of their best hitters who hadnt spent significant time on the injured list all hitting real close to the mendoza line and roberts decides to go all in with his already depleted 3 aces and how could you miss it unless a whole lot of people in LA have completely lost their everloving minds due to some sort of mass psychosis? which must be the case cause how can u explain it? everybodys harping on scherzer but the dodgers and roberts cost scherzer and buehler or either one of them the cy young because they were total fools. im not blaming them for that. weve all been fools in our lifetimes at various times. but hey. they had 3 worn out starters your only 3 starters all 3 are aces theyre run down late in the season and the one thing friedman did well was well 2 things. he put a truly great foster out there after the trade deadline and he finally got a little creative at my urging like last year when i had to tell him how to approach fixing his constant bullpen weaknesses and just figure it out. and itold him how id do it. so he got creative and fixed his weakness and approach to the pen depth and then he took that a step further and brought in all those relievers which has never been done before to rotate and eat up innings. that i was impressed with. but roberts still managed to overwork his main relievers and i expect an increased chance that trienan and jansen could get injured this year after the overload last year. so here he is. they were all 3 aces showing signs of fatigue. the dodgers were going full steam after a hot giants team showing no signs of slowing down. the starting pitchers were falling apart and the fully stocked deeeeep bullpen is resting in the playoffs while roberts and the dodgers rest the bullpen late in the games and it was a deep bullpen. instead of trusting the bullpen. roberts cost max and walker or either a cy young award yelled at the umpires mid season for a blown call by an umpire in a situation that never should have ever happened cause jansen was cold and he shouldve taken jansen out and closed those games. and after roberts gave the giants those games that fired san francisco up. they couldnt believe their luck. so they were highly motivated to not give those games back and thats why the dodgers had such a hard time chasing frisco. and although they finally caught frisco and took them down the team was too worn out and thats one of the main reasons they lost the season. alot of dodgers fans are blaming max but not a whole lot is being said about roberts moves or the teams strategy or intelligence. and i think thats the real issue. the dodgers need a general on the field who can see through all this stuff and act accordingly holding the ship together as all these issues crop up as they tend to. andrews doing a real good job mostly. his weaknesses like we all have them is not having the insight of a command general. thats not his style. its not that his styles bad though.it looks pretty good in alot of ways. hes got the intelligence. he might not have enough time to develop his field general skills. its aqll about development. where daves way behind. roberts is so far back i think its unlikely he would ever understand even if god explained it theres no chance it seems like. yeah maybe its possible but very unlikely. the teams become disfunctional. being a dodger now is more about a money grab than it is about the team it looks like. a few years ago it was different. the dodgers have blown millions over a billion dollars many millions have been flushed into the sewer which indicates that theyre not spending efficiently or effectively. scherzers not the issue. hes clean and he was wronged along with pollock being misused to steal a bag in a meaningless game muncy getting his arm ripped out of its socket, justin blowing out a hammy and all the players who may have been severely compromised by atrocious gameplanning. i ve been writing the team for 7 seasons and handed them advanced knowledge that nobody else knew of. timing on the bases and defense quicker jumps sharing my thoughts on my experiences with delayed reaction times and then watch how dave overworked the runners by having them steal too many bases because they werent hitting because he kept hoping that jt was just gonna bounce out of his slump because dave expected it instead of resting your 35 year old superstars really with muncy taylor and not pollock so much because he had some il time to rest. and you blame scherzer but hardly a word about roberts. that i find amazing.

          • Mike clearly has no job and nothing better to do with his life and lives off the government. He enjoys long walks on a keyboard but otherwise has zero aspirations outside of being delusional and a bad writer.

  11. advanced thinking i feel is something that just occurs to me. its pretty spectacular. and i dont have scherzers ip address. i dont need it.

  12. i wouldnt argue with umpires especially when youre wrong about the fault being theirs instead of seeing that the fault was with dave who put the team in a situation where they could lose instead of closing the game down with a different relief pitcher who wasnt having an off night. if your man is having an off night and your in a critical game to tie frisco for the lead for the division lead youre supposed to bring in a different relief pitcher. and not allow him to load the bases with no outs and give up the tying and winning runs and then go and get in the umpires face and bark at him for your own boneheadedness. and that whole situation escapes daves consciousness completely. hes trully unaware clueless as to what hes doing out there. the simplest things escape him completely. he is so lost. he doesnt know which ways up or down and no one can tell him that because he just doesnt understand whats going on around him. you know. i hear fans who see things wrong with daves managing flaws and i agree with that but not all the reasons are correct . im concerned about those young pitchers. id beextremely concerned about miller peppiot jackson knack may and all of them.buehler urias trienans arm kershaw continuing. i wouldve never let claytons pitch count exceed 100 pitches. i wouldve ensured that the pitching staff was fresh for the postseason not put them in harms way and rather than take a chance of burning them out concede the season. but i wouldnt have felt the need to concede the season as i would have most likely navigated the season and various issues far differently and alot of the distractions and things that made the players tired and worn out i wouldve controlled all that and they wouldnt have been so tired in the first place and the shtstorm wouldnt have happened or been so damaging to say the least. i stay on top of stuff.

  13. Okay now we’re just getting to levels of ridiculousness not seen before.

    Players want to play in the big leagues and travel nationwide on a plane instead of a 14 hour bus ride, yes.
    They want something to show for their years of work ever since being part of top Little League teams that qualify for, and play in LLWC tournaments, through high school and college, and the minors. Of course.

    But the biggest reason is they want that overinflated Max Scherzer contract, the Alex Rodriguez contract, the Corey Seager contract, the Mookie Betts contract – and I could go on and on. They want to have an average WAR of 3 that classifies them as an everyday starter with a .260/.300/.425 slash with 20 HR and 70-80 RBI, but yet 150+ K and can only hit the ball to one side of the field 80% of the time, but yet half the contract of a big guy.

    This is when a longtime middle aged fan who saw the ridiculousness of the ARod contract that started this whole snowball effect gets frustrated when people like Max start whining about free agency attractiveness “for the little guy”. Well this is why basketball has a salary cap AND “Larry Bird rights” for teams to be able to keep the “6th man”. It’s why only the signing bonus is guaranteed in the NFL.
    It’s time to slam the door on a handful of players making huge 9-figure salaries. Making it to the majors shouldn’t be about “what can I get as a free agent?!”. Like Tommy said, you play for the name on the FRONT of your jersey.

    Max only wants to thump his chest on behalf of the “little guy” so that his own insane contract looks less like an odd-out gas station price-gouging the consumer.

    • Funky board. The two-word response was to your accusation that I am somebody else. Re your comment about Max thumping his chest, I might agree with that only I don’t think Scherzer gives a leap about what we or anyone else thinks. I don’t begrudge him getting as much money as he can. Who wouldn’t do the same, if the opportunity presented itself? What I DO think is silly, however, is the rich chastising the rich for taking advantage of their position, i.e., as owners. That’s exactly what Max did as an elite player. A bit hypocritical. Perhaps it was a deflection on his part, but per someone else’s post above, who really cares what he thinks at this point.

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