Saturday, March 8, 2008

How High Will He Go?

Mark Attanasio has stated that he is interested in signing "all" of the Brewers young stars to long term contracts. What a refreshing change from a team's whose management used to hold itself up as the poster child for the plight of small market teams. Obviously from a fans perspective, it would be great to sign them all - but is it realistic? I did some back of the cocktail napkin figuring:

The final 2008 numbers are not in yet, but in 2007 the Brewers team salary of $72M ranked 18th in the Majors (again, don't hold me to the exact figures - I've got a small workspace here). Given the off-season moves, the 2008 figure will come in close to the same which means the ranking will be about the same. If we look two or three years out, about what kinds of salaries are we talking for all of these guys? Rough numbers (in 2007 dollars):

Prince - $12M
Braun - $12M
Gallardo - $8M
Weeks - $7M
Hardy - $6M
Villanueva - $5M
Hart - $5M

Factoring in what they make now, these figures would add about $50M to the Brewers payroll. That would give the Brewers the third highest payroll in baseball behind the Red Sox and Yankees. Granted that if all these players stayed together, the Brewers might be the third best team behind the Red Sox and Yankees, but there is no way that under baseball's current economic structure that Milwaukee, Wisconsin can support a payroll that large. And, these figures only cover their arbitration years. Once they become bona fide free agents some of these figures could go much higher.

So, unless Mark Attanasio has way more money than anyone believes and is willing to spend it on this ballclub, the Brewers are going to be forced to pick and choose between the current players and simply let some of them go.

1 comment:

romagna said...

I agree with you for the most part but I will add that as these young players "grow up" others will fall off the books. (Gagne, Councel, Mota, Sheets, Capuano, Cameron to name a few)

The fact is if you have new young guys taking the place of the handful of guys I listed above savings can be found. Additionally, you are figuring on these players having their current level of success. I would love that...however the fact is someone on your list will get hurt or fall off in production. So they will either be cheaper or simply not wanted.

I would say the most likely scenario is that we sign a few of these guys and 1 or 2 others becomes trade bait. Honestly even if you could afford to keep them all trading a few may be the most prudent course.

 
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