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MLB, Union: Florida Marlins Need to Spend More Revenue-sharing Money


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Major League Baseball and the players' union have expressed concern that the Marlins aren't using enough revenue-sharing money to increase players' salaries.

 

BY CLARK SPENCER

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

 

The Florida Marlins have been singled out by Major League Baseball and the players' union over allegations the club hasn't been channeling the revenue sharing money it receives each year into player salaries.

 

While team officials say they have done no wrong, they indicated in a joint agreement released Tuesday that payroll would be increased as the team heads toward the opening of its new ballpark in 2012.

 

"In response to our concerns that revenue sharing proceeds have not been used as required, the Marlins have assured the Union and the Commissioner's Office that they plan to use such proceeds to increase player payroll annually as they move toward the opening of their new ballpark,'' Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said in a prepared statement.

 

The announcement was made Tuesday following ``extensive discussions'' among the three parties.

 

The union has raised concerns that some teams, including the Marlins, have not been spending proceeds from revenue sharing on payroll as required in the Basic Agreement. But the Marlins were the only team mentioned in the joint statement released by the league, the union and the team.

 

The carefully worded announcement states that an agreement has been reached on the Marlins' "continued compliance'' with the agreement.

 

There have been unconfirmed reports that a handful of teams, including the Marlins, are raking in as much as $90 million each season through revenue sharing and other sources of income, such as TV-radio rights, merchandising and sponsorships. Of that amount, some have speculated that $35 million of it comes from revenue sharing.

 

Financial records for major league teams are kept confidential. However, as part of the Basic Agreement, the union is permitted to see those records to make sure clubs are adhering to the rules.

 

Revenue sharing, adopted in 1997, was created to spread the wealth generated from large-market teams to small-market teams. But there has been increased grumbling that teams such as the Marlins aren't putting the money back into the on-field product.

 

The Marlins have had the lowest total player payroll in the majors three of the past four seasons. The World Series champion New York Yankees had a higher payroll last season -- about $200 million -- than the Marlins have had in the past five seasons put together. Last season, total payroll for the Marlins was about $36 million -- lowest among all 30 major-league teams.

 

Super agent Scott Boras has complained openly about the lack of spending by clubs receiving large sums of money through revenue sharing. And in December, Red Sox owner John Henry said in an e-mail to the Boston Globe that the current system for revenue sharing needed to be overhauled.

 

"Change is needed, and that is reflected by the fact that over a billion dollars has been paid to seven chronically uncompetitive teams, five of whom have had baseball's highest operating profits,'' The Globe quoted Henry as saying. "Who, except these teams, can think this is a good idea?''

 

Henry once owned the Marlins.

 

The Marlins have been successful on the field despite their low payrolls, producing winning teams -- as well as a World Series title -- in five of the past seven seasons. Yet they have done so by largely ignoring big-ticket players on the free agent market.

 

In terms of salary, the largest free agent signing the Marlins have made over the past four years has been the one-year, $2 million deal given to Luis Gonzalez in 2008 -- a small amount compared to the multi-year, nine-figure deals some players are getting from other clubs.

 

But team officials say they have not violated the agreement.

 

"The Marlins have consistently made every effort to put the best product on the field and our record supports the fact that we have been successful in that regard,'' Marlins president David Samson said in a statement. ``Throughout the discussions, the Marlins maintained that there had been no violation of the Basic Agreement at any time. While we know that the Marlins will always comply with the Basic Agreement, we were happy to work cooperatively with the Union and the Commissioner's Office on this matter.''

 

The Marlins, in the process of building a new ballpark in Little Havana, have long contended they are unable to generate as much revenue as other clubs because they are tenants in their current stadium. The Marlins have said that when they move into the new ballpark in 2012, they will raise payroll to the league average.

 

And even though they've won more games than the New York Mets since Jeffrey Loria took over as the Marlins' owner in 2002, they have done poorly at gate, ranking at or near the bottom in attendance most years.

 

Next season's payroll is expected to be slightly higher -- in the neighborhood of $40 million -- than last season's figure.

 

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I love how John Henry is involved in this. He is one of the reasons it took over a decade to get a stadium built. He also is the one that signed a terrible lease with Huizenga, said he would build the stadium himself, then cried poor when the Florida legislature repeatedly nixed his tax rebate plans, and finally bolted at the chance to spend $700 million to buy the Red Sox.

 

Seems like some owners are just bitter that the Fish have figured out that they can be competitive on a small budget. When Oakland was winning with a small payroll, books were written about how smart they were. I'm not saying I wouldn't love for them to spend more money, but I can certainly understand why they haven't given the stadium situation. Come 2012 and if the payroll is still last in MLB, then yeah, I'll have a major problem, but until then I'll give the Marlins the benefit of the doubt on this one.

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Wow. While that doesn't make us look good, I'm not unhappy to see it. What's the chance that they do spend more of the RS money on the club? And did MLB forget about Oakland and Pittsburgh? The Pirates are way cheaper than we are.

 

Nah, the Pirates spend a more money than us, they just do it badly.

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There are just so many ways to disect this article, from either position, pro Loria or anti. I used to be upset over the lack of spending and my perception that the Marlins are raking in revenue instead of spending. I also believe that is still true up to a point. There is a cutoff as to what should be spent on players and just spending for the sake of spending. I view some of the contracts being offered by other teams as ridiculous and give credit to not being raked over by agents. But I do look at the article and read into it that the Marlins owe some promises to MLB that will need to be made good, and from a fan perspective, I think that is good news.

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MIAMI -- The perennially frugal Florida Marlins have reached an agreement with the players' union to increase spending in the wake of complaints the team payroll has been so small as to violate baseball's revenue sharing provisions.

 

The deal was announced Tuesday in a joint statement by the Marlins, the union and Major League Baseball. The parties did not comment beyond the statement, and it was unclear how much the Marlins' payroll might increase.

 

 

 

 

The agreement runs through 2012, when the Marlins' new ballpark is scheduled to open.

 

"In response to our concerns that revenue sharing proceeds have not been used as required, the Marlins have assured the union and the commissioner's office that they plan to use such proceeds to increase player payroll annually as they move toward the opening of their new ballpark," said Michael Weiner, executive director of the players' association.

 

The agreement calls for arbitration if further disagreements arise, Weiner said.

 

Baseball's basic agreement calls for each club to use its revenue sharing receipts in an effort to improve the team. In recent years, the union has complained the requirement was not met by some teams, including the Marlins.

 

Plagued by poor attendance in their current home, the Marlins have had the lowest payroll in the majors three of the past four seasons.

 

But the franchise has gotten considerable bang for its buck. Last year, for example, the Marlins finished six games out of first place in the NL East with a payroll of $37 million, while the division rival Mets finished 17 games behind Florida despite a payroll of $136 million.

 

"The Marlins have consistently made every effort to put the best product on the field, and our record supports the fact that we have been successful in that regard," team president David Samson said. "Throughout the discussions, the Marlins maintained that there had been no violation of the basic agreement at any time."

 

Citing confidentiality provisions, the joint statement said there would be no comment by any of the parties on further specifics of the agreement. As a result, it's unclear what impact a spending increase will have on the Marlins' 2010 season.

 

They might now be less inclined to trade second baseman Dan Uggla, who is eligible for arbitration and due a hefty raise. And increased spending improves the chance of an agreement with ace Josh Johnson on a multiyear contract.

 

 

 

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4819982

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It will be interesting to see if this has any effect on the Marlins keeping Dan Uggla or not. My guess is it might.

 

 

I agree. I'm sure they would have jumped at the chance to unload Danny, even if they didn't get the return for him they wanted, had they not been in negotiations w/ both MLB and the MLBPA. It wouldn't have helped the MArlins' case that they're not pocketing the RS funds and are reinvesting it into the team had they traded their second-highest paid player, nor will it now that an agreement has been reached. I think it's now far more likely we see Cantu traded for BP help.

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Baseball needs to get a salary cap with a salary floor and get rid of revenue sharing completely.

 

 

 

Salary Caps suck. A Salary Floor would be interesting to see, and would be fitting seeing as we have revenue sharing; it couldn't be constant, though. The floor would have to change yearly with how much money the top gives, the finances of the lowest group of teams, etc. But then would come the problem of having to sign some people to meet the minimum and basically throwing money away. It's a mess.

 

meh, just leave it the way it is. We've proven we don't need a high payroll to at least make a decent team. Our payroll, imo, is pretty low and it shouldn't be this low for any team but that alone can help make a case for the possible strength of teams with a 50M payroll.

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Theres a difference between being reckless in the FA market and spending to keep players you have developed yourself.

 

There have been many instances in this regard. Not even attempting, as far as I know, to buy out Cabrera's arby and a few FA years. There was no excuse for that.

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Listening to Le Batard, he indicates that the rumblings about this happening have been known but kept quiet. The basic understanding is that the Marlins will be forced to spend more on players rather than saying it is used for marketing, player development etc., which MLB and the union basically have discredited as a unwarranted excuse.

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two things...A. its nice to see baseball is so concerned with our lack of a payroll but they fail to mention or do anything the substanial failure that the pittsburgh pirates organization has been for 20 years now and a few other teams that have little to no interest in competing

B. john henry crying and getting his way is like patriots continuing to have rules made up for them, tuck rule, tom brady rule, etc. etc. etc....seriously...MLB...slack that f***er around and dont let him tell you how to do business

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Theres a difference between being reckless in the FA market and spending to keep players you have developed yourself.

 

There have been many instances in this regard. Not even attempting, as far as I know, to buy out Cabrera's arby and a few FA years. There was no excuse for that.

 

I'm sure that was part of the problem. Not so much that we weren't spending money on outside FA's as not keeping our homegrown talent. Not even attempting to keep Cabrera, and the various ways the FO disrespected him before we traded him wasn't good.

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I still don't expect us to do anything drastic.

 

 

Same here. Sign some guys long term maybe but nothing big.

 

 

For the Marlins, that's HUGE. Considering our biggest investment in recent years (outside of Hanley) was giving Helms a 2 year deal. I think some stability will be nice.

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