MoneySalaries are climbing and climbing – the Chicago Cubs just handed out their biggest contract ever, and the AAV in Jon Lester’s deal makes him the second-highest-paid pitcher in baseball – and it’s no coincidence. The game of baseball is very, very healthy. Well, the business, anyway.

Check out out Maury Brown’s latest at Forbes on the state of revenues in MLB, wherein he reports that league-wide revenues project to be in excess of $9 billion, which is up nearly 13% from 2013, when revenues were $8 billion, which was itself a jump from $7.5 billion the year before. Revenues have nearly doubled since 2000.

It’s not hard to see, then, when about 50% of revenues – very roughly speaking – are supposed to go to the players, why salaries are exploding. If half of that 13% increase goes to the players, that’s a 6.5% bump in one year for player salaries. That means last year’s $10 million deal is this year’s $10.65 million deal. And 2013’s $10 million deal is nearly $11 million this year.



EDIT for math: The players would be seeing a 13% increase, too. That was pretty mathdumb of me, and thanks to those who pointed it out. So, last year’s $10 million deal is now a $11.3 million deal. *That’s* the kind of huge jump I was expecting to see. End of edit.

That’s a pretty substantial jump in just two seasons. But it’s reflective of the health of the game (which is good!), and those of us fans who like to dabble in contract discussions will have to recalibrate our thoughts on “market” rates every year.

This kind of thing is interesting to think about as the latest collective bargaining agreement comes up for discussion very soon (it expires after the 2016 season). Exploding revenues and an ever-skewing split of that revenue between owners and players, if I remember correctly, played a significant role in the recent labor dustups in the NFL and NBA.




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