Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Payroll Implications of Marlins New Stadium

As we discussed yesterday, the Marlins finally got the OK to start constructing a new stadium in Miami. The stadium for the new Miami Marlins should be complete by 2012, which means that Marlins fans only have to suffer the horrid humidity and pouring rain of South Florida in a football stadium that has business acting as a baseball stadium. Rejoice!

And rejoice, they have. And not just the fans either, but the players have been rather vocal about their excitement for the new stadium.


"I'm so happy for the Marlins," All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez said. "They've been after it for a long time, and finally they got it. The ballpark will bring a lot of fans, and that's what we need."

Ramirez is the only Florida player under contract through 2012. Teammates hope the new ballpark will prompt management to offer more multiyear deals.

"Everybody hopes to get a deal like that so they know exactly what's in store for the future," pitcher Josh Johnson said. "They can stay here and buy a house down here. It's definitely a good feeling."

I can see it now, come 2012, all the Marlins, who have been grotesquely underpaid over the years will form a line outside the offices of Jeffrey Loria, David Sampson, and Larry Beinfest clamoring for a better contract with some security. It makes all the sense in the world to assume that in 2012, the Marlins' payroll should increase because of increased revenue from the stadium. The Marlins can finally act like a normal baseball team!

But here's an interesting tidbit to chew on: will the announcement of the 2012 Marlins stadium in anyway alter the team's plans in 2010 and beyond? As we saw this offseason, the Marlins were very stingy about giving players raises in arbitration or even talking about contract extensions. Instead, the Marlins were very proactive in trading away quality players, who were due raises in arbitration. Payroll played a major role in any decision the Marlins made this offseason.

And now that it looks like the new stadium is a definite, will the Marlins be more willing to increase their payroll? Even though the additional revenue won't be coming in for another few years, would the Marlins give out extensions to young players or at least make a better effort to keep quality players around?

Right now it doesn't sound like David Sampson is too eager to give out long term contracts to anyone:

"The last thing we want to do is saddle ourselves with many, many long-term contracts that will get in the way potentially of our competitiveness," he (Sampson) said. "Having said that, having a higher payroll certainly enables you more flexibility on either long-term deals or just higher short-term deals."

The Marlins have performed so well under such extreme budget constraints that it would be wonderful to see what this organization can do with some funds. I would love to see the Marlins sign guys like Dan Uggla and Jorge Cantu to fair market level extensions at the end of this season that would ensure that quality players would join Hanley Ramirez in the new stadium in 2012. When it comes down to it, Hanley can't do it alone and for all the success the Marlins have had building through the farm, it's about time they commit to some of these guys...even before 2012.

Who knows when the Marlins payroll will actually increase, but eventually it will. But Marlins fans, you better hope that it happens sooner rather than later or else guys like Uggla and Cantu will eventually be history.


tHeMARksMiTh said...

The thing is that just having a higher payroll and giving out long-term contracts isn't always the best idea. Say what you want, but the Marlins have won more World Series in the past 10-12 seasons that about 27 other franchises. Uggla is 29, and he may not be worth signing long term. The Marlins need to be careful about how they spend the money. Still, Loria may not give it to them.

Josh said...

tHeMARksMiTh: Sure, long term contracts arent always the way too go. But the Marlins have let so many good, young talents get away that it would be a shame to see them trade away some more, especially if they are still productive and valuable. Uggla and Cantu are two examples of guys who will face arbitration in upcoming seasons and probably will traded once they reach a certain pricetag. Just once, I'd like to see the Marlins pay these guys...just once.