Aug
16

Investing In The Future

By

Based on the number of questions I get related to the topic in our weekly chats, there’s a ton of people out there interested in minor league economics. I can’t answer those questions, but thankfully Mike Ashmore did in his latest and truly greatest. Speaking with players and execs, Mike hit on everything from how much these guys make to what the Yankees provide for them to housing and healthy food and off-season jobs, the whole nine. It’s a great, great read, and even though it’s long as hell, I give it my absolute highest recommendation. Make sure you check it out.

Categories : Asides, Minors
  • Beamish

    Caught the Tweet of that article link late last night. Ended up staying up late to read the whole thing. Excellent article.

    I particularly liked the explanation about how the little things a big club can do for its minor-league players: gear bags, shorts, t-shirts, bat subsidies, can make a huge difference in a player’s focus on improving his game over worrying about the color of his t-shirt or if he broke a bat.

    The emphasis (or lack thereof) on nutrition was also a great point. These are kids training as professional athletes and some have to subsist on McDonalds since it is cheap and available on the road.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I thought the stuff about equipment and playing conditions in general was interesting. If you’re an international free agent with a few teams after you offering similar money, wouldn’t you sign with the team that gave you the greatest accommodations during your 4-5 year minor league career?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Coñaso ju pinchy bastard no fitin español translator chinky grabador putamadre not fair no Bay Rufe

        /OzzieGuillen’d

      • Steve O.

        I too found it interesting. I really enjoyed the part where George Steinbrenner made it his business to ensure every player is treated with the same respect and accommodations.

        This quote from Richie Robnett really stuck out for me:

        “Other teams, like the Cubs, if you’re in Double-A, you’re a Tennessee Smokie, that’s what you are. If you’re in Double-A with the A’s, you’re a Midland Rockhound, that’s what you are. When you’re in Double-A with the Yankees, you’re a Yankee. You’re not a Trenton Thunder, you’re a Yankee. If you’re in Triple-A, you’re a Yankee. If you’re in A-Ball, you’re a Yankee. That’s what I like. You’re a part of the organization, and they always want to make it known to you that you represent us.”

      • 28 this year

        I hear what you’re saying. I just wonder how much this information is known to international free agents. I feel like this information might be known but what everyone hears is the conetract dollar figure, not the other clauses in the contract.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          I bet a lot of these IFA’s make decisions on how well they think the org they sign with will treat them based on the quality of their facilities in the DR (or in whatever country they live in).

          Teams aren’t just investing in good international scouts, they’re building baseball academies in these Latin American countries. If the Yankees, Pirates, Mariners, and Red Sox have excellent, state-of-the-art facilities and the Mets, Orioles, Cubs, and Giants lag behind, that’s something a 15 year old kid would notice.

          (I’m not saying those specific teams have those issues, just using names as an example of some teams who have done well/poorly in the IFA game recently. I’m not up on the Dominican scene enough to know who’s the best and who’s the worst in terms of facilities.)

        • Ed

          I would think the Yankees would do their best to make sure the players know it. Joining the Yankees minor league system comes with the reality that the Yankees major league roster is probably the hardest roster in baseball to earn a spot on. Players know that, and I’m sure a lot choose to sign elsewhere to get an easier path to the majors. Stressing the benefits of being in the Yankee system over another team’s should help win over more players.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Sign here, and you get all the River Ave. Hookers you want.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Next time I go to a minor league game, I’m bring the guys a crate of fruit to snack on.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      It’s not nice to throw tomatoes at the youngins. ;)

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      My proofreading is horrible.

      I’m going to bring the guys a crate of fruit to snack on.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    I read this last night but I just wanted to second those who are recommending it. Fantastic, fantastic read.

  • http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/yank_c.jpg T-Dubs

    Read this earlier in the morning. Fantastic. Anyone who loves baseball needs to read this.

  • http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/yank_c.jpg T-Dubs

    A guy in the comments on the MAshmore posed an interesting question: what would be the economic impact of paying minor leaguers over a full year? And would that entice more medium/high leveraged draft picks to sign, or convince more international free agents to choose the Yankees over their counterparts?

    Assuming that the Yankees were the only team doing it.

    • Chris

      I don’t know that it would entice more prospects to sign – typically the only guys you’re signing that have a change to make the majors are draft picks.

      Where I think it could help is in allowing players to train year round. I would think that being able to work out in nice facilities and getting good instruction for those 6 months would put players ahead of the curve.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Speaking with players and execs, Mike hit on everything from how much these guys make to what the Yankees provide for them to housing and healthy food and off-season jobs, the whole nine.

    (fighting the urge to make a “these bums don’t deserve the cushy treatment after that loss” Jersey Johnny joke)

    • Steve O.

      (fighting the urge to make a “these bums don’t deserve the cushy treatment after that passionless loss” King of the Troglodytes joke)

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Jesus & Maquinito FTW

    I’m determined, when I have the family, money and space to do so, to be a host family for someone.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      There’s a family across the street from my sister who’s been a host family for some of the players on the Potomac Nationals. They’re great people, they’ve helped out a lot of good kids.

  • http://MattOnEarth@blogspot.com Matt on Earth

    Wow. Great article. It’s crazy how many of these guys continue to pursue their dreams knowing full well the vast majority of them won’t make it. Kudos to them.

  • Jorge

    Fantastic article. Thanks for sharing, and thanks to Mike Ashmore for taking the time on it.

  • feasor

    The food/dietary stuff just blew me away. It struck me as an anachronism from the 80′s or something, before organic foods were mainstream. The spread? Dear lord, it sounds appalling. Most of these guys don’t have wives to cook for them. I cannot believe the Yanks let these guys eat fast food at all, let alone as subsistence.

    For the huge dollars the Yankees invest in many of these kids, it seems like shelling out a hundred grand per level to get some proper catering would be a sound investment. Or do it at the lowest levels so the players get used to wholesome food and feeling good.

  • Not Tank the Frank

    So basically, use any and all leverage you have to get all the money you possibly can in the draft, because after that you’re not guaranteed to make shit.

    • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

      I guess so…

    • Steve O.

      So basically, use any and all leverage you have to get all the money you possibly can in the draft, because after that you’re not guaranteed to make shit.

      Isn’t it the idea to get the highest bonus you can possibly get by using the leverage you have?

      • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

        This made me laugh.

    • Not Tank the Frank

      My post was made to illustrate surprise at how little the minor leaguee salary is. I suppose I was stating the obvious but it was just one of many impressions I got from reading the article. It wasn’t meant as advice or anything.

      How this got lost on you brainiacs I’ll never know.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I blame Bryan Bullington.

        • Not Tank the Frank

          Ice – Broken.

        • Steve O.

          I thought we were still blaming Frankie Cervelli?

  • http://twitter.com/j_yankees j_Yankees

    Read it late last night. A great piece. It was pretty long but well worth it.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    I remember doing a paper in High School about Livan Hernandez and how when he came over he was eating McDonald’s for every meal. It wasn’t even a money thing with him, but he was alone and didn’t speak English. He would literally go to McDonald’s and just point at the menu for what he wanted. It’s amazing sometimes when you hear about how much is invested in paying these guys, but not always in taking care of them. It’s like buying a new car and not worrying about changing the oil.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      /OzzieGuillen’d

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      There’s a good scene in “Sugar” like that in which the players all go to Denny’s ’cause of the picture menu. The protagonist goes alone one night, wants to order something different, can’t read it, and says whatever they were having (I think it was french toast) each day. The waitress then brings out a bunch of different stuff and teaches him how to say it.

      Anyway, it’s gotta be scary as fuck to be in a place and not know the language at all. Hell, even knowing a bit of it isn’t enough. I know a good amount of Spanish but if I had to go live in a Spanish speaking country right now, I’d be the loneliest mother fucker on the planet.

      • AndrewYF

        Nah, English is a pretty universal language. Most people won’t really be fluent, but there will be enough people who kind of understand it that you won’t be lost. Plus, spanish is a really easy language to learn.

        I went to Italy, and didn’t really know the language at all, and got along just fine. Sure, I got a couple of pitying, or “stupid foreigner” looks, and yeah, I know what most of the food is called already, but it’s not so tough. It’s not like you’re living with animals.

  • Not Tank the Frank

    …players can receive cash and gift cards to local restaurants, most often “On The Border.”

    On The Border is a badass restaurant. Really good Tex/Mex!

  • http://twitter.com/biebrichbeats ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

    This article was a good reminder that those minor leaguers are real people with real problems. We as fans often forget that when we tread them as assets.

    Sure, baseball is a business and all, but we all are often quick to say things like “he is useless” or “I don’t care if he is released”. I know it is directed at the quality of the player or his value as a prospect, but it often feels we don’t pay these guys the respect they deserve.

    • Steve O.

      Well said, CBLL. I think most of us do a good job in viewing these players as people, but at the same time valuing their position in the Yankee organization. When we say a player is worthless, we aren’t talking about him and his life, we’re talking about his worth to the organization. I would say that’s understood pretty well.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I don’t give a crap about either of you two bums. Both you, Steve O., and you, ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops, are utterly useless and I want you both released from RAB immediately.

        • Steve O.

          Well done.

  • Januz

    This is the line that blew me away. Other teams, like the Cubs, if you’re in Double-A, you’re a Tennessee Smokie, that’s what you are. If you’re in Double-A with the A’s, you’re a Midland Rockhound, that’s what you are. When you’re in Double-A with the Yankees, you’re a Yankee. You’re not a Trenton Thunder, you’re a Yankee. If you’re in Triple-A, you’re a Yankee. If you’re in A-Ball, you’re a Yankee. That’s what I like. You’re a part of the organization, and they always want to make it known to you that you represent us.”
    There is little doubt that players are very aware of how players are treated from top to bottom, and it plays a role as far as securing talent is concerned. This kind of stuff will help the Yankees continue to be successful (Some “Evil Empire”)……….. Cubs……… 100 years of futility and counting.

  • Mike Ashmore

    Thanks for the kind words, guys. Very much so appreciated.

  • Joey

    Awesome read, can honestly say I knew very little about how minor leaguers lived, only that they weren’t payed as well as big leaguers. Man was I off a little

  • Brian in NH

    definitely an awesome read…i had no idea what life was like in the minors outside of watching Bull Durham so i can’t say i knew much of anything