Carl and I have pounded practically everyone we know with the total economic sense shown by Billy Beane, GM of the Oakland Athletics mapped out in the outstanding book Moneyball. If you haven’t read it, you should. The book is a very easy read and quite entertaining even if you are not into baseball. Perfect summer reading.
I don’t want to ruin any of the book for those planning on reading it, but past this point will reveal a few spoilers to help me make a larger point.
Beane typically never signs players who – call him crazy – have never proven themselves on a professional baseball field. On top of this, he is very particular about the type of player he signs, according to certain statistics.
What I want to concentrate on in this post is the fact that Beane would be very hard pressed to sign a kid right out of college who has never played an inning of professional baseball. Sure, players that do well in the minors for a period of time are brought up, but the fact remains that in Beane’s mind, if you have never played well in a professional setting he doesn’t really see the point in bringing you up to the very top level and take up a roster (and valuable salary) spot on the major league team.
Lets compare this to the National Football League. Jake Long, the massive offensive lineman from Michigan was the first pick in the last NFL draft, and he signed a contract for $57.75 million over five years. $30 million of this money is guaranteed. In other words, if Jake Long blows his knee up in training camp this summer and never even plays one down in the league, he will get $30 million. Incredible, no?
Even the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell has had enough of this insanity, and even came out and said so. I don’t know why these owners have taken the tack of rewarding players who have not proven themselves – it is totally upside down to the ways that Billy Beane preaches. I find it comical that the commissioner of the NFL had to come out and say it is insane that players who have played as much NFL football as myself are getting paid too much, when the owners of the teams have complete control over how much they offer these players.