How very rich baseball players can give up their salaries for a season

Even though it is just a few so far, nevertheless, the number of major league players forfeiting their salary this year and opting out of playing the truncated 60-game season is growing, with a few more players of note added to the list.  The chart below lists the players, their present age, their earnings from baseball, their years of service in the majors, and a relatively new analytic/statistic that determines a players importance as a starting player for his team on an annual basis called WAR, an acronym for Wins Above Replacement.  It is not necessary to understand the formula or how the number is arrived at.  However, note that the higher the number, the better the player's performance.  Thus, in the chart, the best of the players bowing out this season is David Price, the former southpaw from the Boston Red Sox, who was going to pitch this year for the Los Angeles Dodgers.



 Earnings / Years of MLB Service

WAR 2019

Mike Leake


$  79,000,000 / 10 years


Ryan Zimmerman


$ 133,000,000 / 15 years


Joe Ross


$   2,000,000 / 5 years


Ian Desmond


$  76,000,000 / 11 years


Felix Hernandez


$ 217,000,000 / 15 years


Nick Markakis


$ 112,000,000 / 14 years


David Price


$ 174,000,000 / 12 years


Tyson Ross


$  32, 000,000 / 10 years


This is not an indictment against the players' decisions not to play this year, but more showing a common thread and perhaps the rationale for them sitting out the season, spending more time with their families, and avoiding being infected and spreading the virus to their loved ones.

Not that anyone should care about how much anyone makes in a capitalist society except the "green with envy" crowd, but all are millionaires — indeed, multimillionaires...before taxes, of course.

Good for them.  Their hard work coupled with their unique talent and experience has paid off for each of them.

With the exception of Joe Ross, a pitcher for the world champion Washington Nationals, the rest of the roster has at least ten years of service in the bigs, which guarantees each of them the max or close to the maximum in pension benefits. 

It only takes 43 days in the big leagues for MLB's pension to vest, and the minimum payout is $34,000 a year. ... Baseball players who log ten or more years of service can get up to $185,000 a year in pension payouts, the most allowed by federal regulations.

Even lasting six-plus weeks in the majors means a significant windfall.

With the exception of Ross, most of the players are on the other side of age 27, which statistically is regarded as a player's most productive year in his career.  Arguably, based on baseball's research and metrics, all are on the other side of their prime, closer to retirement rather than in their salad days.

Their concerns about the virus and its potential effects to their families are noble.

However, most Americans don't have the financial security and independence to make such a noble decisions.  They're itching to get back to work and earn a living and contribute to society in their own way.

Would the stated players be as willing to turn their backs on their jobs if they were rookies or didn't have enough service time in the majors with the same family at home to support?  Would the stated players be as willing to turn their backs on their jobs if they were paid their full 2020 salary instead of the prorated?

Would said players be as willing to turn their backs on their jobs if they were paid the same as construction workers, teachers, nurses, truckers, food and beverage service providers, retailers, accountants, or customer service representatives?  Or even sportswriters and media who cover them?

Or did that boatload of cash in their checking accounts have something to do with their decisions?

Here's hoping ball players in all sports realize how fortunate they are.  Here's hoping they recognize where the  money they have honorably earned comes from, which has allowed them to forgo the season is derived.

Here's hoping they respect the sports-obsessed America, a society that is fanatical for its teams and idolizes its athletes.  It is the group that purchases tickets to games or roots for them from home.  It is the group that collects sports memorabilia and buys merchandise from the sponsors of the leagues.  It is the group that is entertained by the athletes, their exploits, and the competition.  And it is the group that enhances and embraces the athletes and the games as well.


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