Pete Alonso

Mandel’s Musings: Baseball Industry Thriving, Just for the Wealthiest Owners? Mets’ Alonso Avoids Arbitration with Steve Cohen’s Mets, Salary Increases from $676K to $7.4 Million

By SCOTT MANDEL

New York Mets first baseman, Pete Alonso’s salary last year was $676,775. He and the Mets went through arbitration a couple of days ago. Alonso’s new salary for the 2022 season is now $7.4 million.

In a couple of years, when Alonso is no longer under team control, he will be earning in the range of $25 million per year. Somebody will offer the 27-year old first baseman something in the range of $175-200 million for seven to eight years. Or maybe much more than that.

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We keep hearing baseball, as an industry is shrinking. However the owners know the real deal and salaries continue to explode upward. Must be that TV money teams are getting. Or, perhaps, baseball is going to evolve into a game, a business, where the point of entry to owning a franchise will start at something approaching a net worth of Steve Cohen money. The new Mets owner is worth approximately $14 billion. Since taking over the Mets a little more than a year ago, he has increased the team’s payroll by more than $100 million dollars. The previous owners, The Wilpon and Katz families, ran the organization as if it were a small market club, with a not unsubstantial $140 million payroll. It placed the Mets at the same level of spending as mid and small market teams like the Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins.

But, this is where baseball may find itself in a decade or less. It currently has 30 franchises. Of those teams, there are five or six which would have great difficulty surviving the financial requirements of a major league franchise without the millions of dollars each MLB team receives, equally, from television money. The cold, hard cash networks like Fox Sports and ESPN, and now, TBS pays Major League Baseball for the broadcasting rights to the games. From the financial side, television revenue will be split to give each team $60.1 million, annually. Combined with local tv deals that are worth at least $40 million each, every MLB club will make at least $100 million from television, alone. And, that’s before selling one ticket to a game, this season.

And that’s not all.

Along with the tv deals, MLB teams also receive extra money through revenue sharing. Each team pools 48% of the revenue they earn and the total amount is then split evenly (3.3% of the total) and given to each team. Teams receive more than $110 million through revenue sharing.

So, in the current model of ownership, major league baseball guarantees significantly more than $200 million, back to the franchise before a ticket or a hot dog has been sold. Suffice to say, the bottom feeders of baseball’s franchises, Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Oakland, and Miami would probably be unable to stay in business without MLB’s welfare system.

The reality is, the average team payrolls have declined every season since their previous high in 2017 despite revenue increasing in MLB every year, excluding 2020’s pandemic-shortened season.

But, what happens to these lower-echelon spenders when the tv money starts to dry up? If one looks at the landscape of the television industry, it would not be difficult to perceive shrinking revenues among the networks as fewer people watch television than ever before.

RANKTEAMWIN%ROSTER26-MAN PAYROLLINJURED RESERVERETAINEDBURIEDSUSPENDED2022 TOTAL PAYROLL
1Los Angeles Dodgers28$231,350,000$8,125,000$274,808,333
2New York Mets28$243,569,999$8,150,000$251,719,999
3New York Yankees28$223,350,714$15,750,000$239,100,714
4Philadelphia Phillies28$202,738,462$7,250,000$5,500,000$6,250,000$221,738,462
5San Diego Padres27$182,558,333$15,714,285$198,272,618
6Boston Red Sox28$151,425,000$27,025,000$16,000,000$194,450,000
7Chicago White Sox28$177,738,334$7,000,000$184,738,334
8Atlanta Braves28$152,400,000$18,800,000$1,025,000$172,225,000
9Los Angeles Angels28$168,588,094$168,588,094
10Houston Astros28$148,041,666$15,833,333$163,874,999
11Toronto Blue Jays28$155,222,022$5,383,333$160,605,355
12St. Louis Cardinals28$137,443,666$7,500,000$144,943,666
13San Francisco Giants28$138,112,500$5,200,000$143,312,500
LEAGUE AVERAGE$133,435,408
14Chicago Cubs28$127,600,000$2,510,000$130,110,000
15Texas Rangers28$100,460,000$5,250,000$19,583,333$3,600,000$128,893,333
16Colorado Rockies28$115,409,166$7,000,000$5,570,500$127,979,666
17Detroit Tigers28$117,075,000$1,750,000$118,825,000
18Milwaukee Brewers28$115,249,960$3,041,668$118,291,628
19Washington Nationals28$88,251,666$25,971,429$114,223,095
20Minnesota Twins28$110,059,524$800,000$110,859,524
21Cincinnati Reds28$98,330,000$1,250,000$99,580,000
22Seattle Mariners28$87,320,714$1,025,000$3,750,000$92,095,714
23Kansas City Royals28$77,410,000$1,000,000$78,410,000
24Tampa Bay Rays28$64,086,213$7,120,000$5,000,000$76,206,213
25Arizona Diamondbacks28$75,160,000$75,160,000
26Miami Marlins28$67,450,000$67,450,000
27Oakland Athletics29$38,148,334$2,800,000$40,948,334
28Pittsburgh Pirates28$24,875,000$3,000,000$37,875,000
29Cleveland Guardians28$36,210,000$1,200,000$37,410,000
30Baltimore Orioles28$24,700,000$17,000,000$30,366,666

spotrac.com, 2022

It says here, Major League Baseball will evolve away from smaller market teams and will be dominated by the wealthiest ownership groups or individuals, most of whom will be found in the largest revenue markets. Players salaries will flatten, if not reverse its trajectories. The realities of the mathematics in how teams can be successfully operated will change drastically. It won’t kill the sport. But, it will kill a handful of teams, unless those smaller market franchises discover ownerships with deeper pockets.

It will be a good reason young stars like the Mets’ Pete Alonso will choose to play in a major market like NYC for the sports’ wealthiest owner in Cohen. It’s also why we will continue to see the Yankees and Dodgers, not to mention the Red Sox, the Phillies and the White Sox continually vying for the most expensive stars of the game. Eventually, baseball will not be a business of “haves” and “have nots.”

It will just be the haves, having themselves a good time in the baseball business. As fans, we can enjoy watching behemoth bank accounts fighting it out amongst themselves.

Mets’ Pete Alonso Named National League Rookie of the Year

by Scott Mandel

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso tonight was named the 2019 National League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).

Alonso received 29 of 30 first-place votes and garnered 148 of a possible 150 voting points. He is the second Mets position player (also, Darryl Strawberry in 1983) and sixth player in club history overall to win the award. Four Mets pitchers have also been named Rookie of the Year: Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Dwight Gooden (1984) and Jacob deGrom (2014).

The 24-year-old put together one of the greatest offensive seasons ever by a rookie, setting numerous Mets and major league records. Most notably, he became the first Met and first rookie to lead the majors outright in home runs, swatting a major league rookie-record 53 blasts.

“I am so grateful to the Baseball Writers’ Association for their recognition,” Alonso said. “I’m truly blessed and humbled to be part of a group of some of the best to ever play the game. This season was the most special time I’ve ever had on a baseball field. I’m extremely thankful to the Mets for allowing me the opportunity to prove myself at the major league level this year. I can’t wait to get back to work in the spring and make a push for the postseason in 2020.”

Alonso was a three-time NL Rookie of the Month honoree, taking home the award in April, June and September. The only other players to win three NL Rookie of the Month awards are Jason Bay (2004) and Juan Soto (2018).

In addition to setting Mets club marks for home runs, extra-base hits (85) and total bases (348) in his first major league season, Alonso also established club rookie records for hits (155), RBI (120), runs scored (103), at-bats (597), plate appearances (693), games played (161), slugging percentage (.583), OBP (.358) and OPS (.941). He tied the club rookie record with 72 walks.

“Pete’s historic rookie season created great memories and thrilled Mets fans all year,” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said. “We are very proud of how he represents our fans, teammates and the organization on and off the field with his energy, enthusiasm and passion.”

Alonso became the first rookie position player in Mets history to be named to the NL All-Star team. He was the first rookie to win the Home Run Derby outright as well, defeating fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the final round. In the Midsummer Classic, he went 1-2 with a two-run single and a stolen base, making him the first rookie with multiple RBI in an All-Star Game.

“Pete was a joy to watch all season long for our passionate fans as well as all of us in the organization,” Mets Executive Vice President and General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “We’re so proud to see his on-field results match his tireless work ethic.”

Alonso led the NL in extra-base hits, was second in total bases, third in RBI, sixth in slugging and seventh in OPS. He led all qualified rookies in games played, hits, home runs, RBI, OPS, extra-base hits, runs scored, walks, total bases and slugging percentage.

Alonso will receive the award during the 97th Annual New York Baseball Writers’ Dinner on January 25, 2020 at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel.

# # #

Mets Breathe Deeply Behind Wilson and Alonso Ninth Inning Heroics, Frazier Drives In Three

by Scott Mandel. SportsReporters.com

It’s too bad only 20,843 baseball fans showed up tonight at Citi Field to watch Game #144, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. With only 18 games remaining to this season, and the Mets four games out of an attainable playoff berth, you would expect a greater turnout.

But, the half-empty stadium witnessed a thriller of a game, which the Mets won, 3-2 because of Zack Wheeler’s solid seven-inning effort, the ninth inning heroics of the reliever, Justin Wilson and, Pete Alonso’s defense. Yes, that’s right, his defense.

It was the ninth inning. Two outs. The game-tying run stood on third. The go-ahead run stood on second. Wilmer Flores, the longtime Mets infielder who holds the record for most walk-off RBIs at Citi Field in team history stood at the plate, facing Wilson.

“We’ve all seen him do it plenty of times,” Wheeler said. “It was a little nerve-wracking.”

“That was going through my mind. I promise you,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “I’ve seen it. He’s done it more than anybody in the history of Citi Field, so it was going through my mind. There was no doubt about it.”

This time, with the game and the Mets season on the line, Flores went down swinging on the final pitch of Wilson’s four-out save, giving the Mets a 3-2 win Tuesday night in Queens.

Callaway was asked after the game about keeping Wilson in the game instead of going to his struggling closer, Edwin Diaz.

“I just had to stick with Wilson. We all know the struggles that Diaz has had and Wilson has been really good. I felt like at that point it was Wilson’s [game],” Callaway said. “He willed it. I’m not saying we’re gonna run from Diaz. He’s gonna get his chances, too … but we called down in the eighth and asked Wilson if he could get four outs for us.

“I thought Wilson was gonna get it done. Some way, somehow.”

With Seth Lugo unavailable after pitching two innings the previous night, Callaway counted on the lefty, Wilson, the only other reliever who has earned his trust. Wilson, who has a 1.54 ERA since the All-Star break, came on to record his first four-out appearance since his only previous save of the season on April 2.

“Late in the season, everything kind of goes. Gotta win games,” Wilson said. “Clearly we’re still in a little bit of a hole. Luckily we have enough games left to make a push. Everyone’s available in any situation.”

Wilson allowed a walk and stolen base to Josh Rojas in the eighth, but kept the Mets in front by retiring Adam Jones. The ninth inning started like so many for the Mets this season.

Nick Ahmed opened with a single up the middle, and Kevin Cron added a one-out hit. With runners at the corners, Ketel Marte nearly hit into a game-ending double play, but after Pete Alonso stepped on first base — following a diving backhand stab — the rookie threw to third base, failing to notice Tim Locastro caught between first and second base.

“Young guy, you don’t know what he’s gonna do, and he kind of spazzed out,” Frazier said. “Could’ve had a double play, but your mind’s going a mile a minute.”

‘“He didn’t have his best stuff. He didn’t have his best command, but he dug deep and got through it,” Callaway said of Wilson. “He’s gonna need a day or two off, but it’s worth it for the win tonight. He was unbelievable. He kind of willed that game, that save.”

The Mets pulled to within three games of the second wild card slot with the Cubs losing in San Diego. Perhaps, Mets fans, a group that is always hoping for a pennant race, will decide to turn out tonight, with Steven Matz going for his 10th win of the season against Arizona lefty, Robbie Ray.