FanDuel - WFBC

August 24, 2011

Jered Weaver Ignores Agent, Gives Angels Discount: After signing a five-year, $85 million contract extension rather than taking his agent Scott Boras' advice to test the market, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jered Weaver isn't questioning his decision. "How much more could you possibly need?" he said. "I never played this game for money purposes, I played it for love and for championships. Loyalty is very important to me. The Angels drafted me and I wanted to stay here and win a championship or two or three." Weaver leads the league in ERA this season and led in strikeouts last year. Lee Jenkins writes, "If he let his contract expire after next season, he might have commanded the kind of bounty awarded to recent free-agent pitchers Cliff Lee ($120 million over five years in Philadelphia) or even CC Sabathia ($161 million over seven years in New York)."

posted by rcade to baseball at 10:47 AM - 25 comments

In my world, anyone who ignores their agent goes to the bonus round.

Anyone who ignores Scott Boras gets to choose a deluxe session from a highly select a la carte celebrity fellatio list.

posted by beaverboard at 11:46 AM on August 24

beaverboard - I agree. This kid said all the right things and in a major market like So. Cal. this kind of attitude probably pays off in the long run in the way of fan appreciation and endorsements. Frankly I don't understand why more athletes don't show their local fans more loyalty. The money differences don't really change their life styles. I wonder what kind of ovation he will receive when he takes the mound next time in Anaheim.

Besides like he said, he's a So. Cal boy, wants to be near his family and friends, is making more money than he ever dreamed of, and he has a solid no trade contract that ensures he can stay home and do what he loves.

Props to him. he is a very likeable guy.

posted by Atheist at 12:14 PM on August 24

Can he really make $20 million in endorsements to make up for the money he likely just gave up? Weaver could have tested the market and still signed with the Angels, who are not a small-market team. I think he made a mistake, though I'd appreciate it more if he was playing for Texas.

posted by rcade at 12:59 PM on August 24

Interesting the perception that money should be the only factor in a player's decision. He took a deal that allows him to play for the team he wants, pays him more than enough for a lavish lifestyle and makes him financially secure for life, and leaves room for his team to retain (and obtain) talented players which ensures he'll be playing on a contender for the term of his contract.

Ask Jason Bay, Jason Werth, or any of the others that left excellent situations to earn a few more dollars how they feel a year later.

posted by cixelsyd at 01:41 PM on August 24

Nice - wish there were more athletes that would make a decision based on something other than greed. But I sure hope he can survive on the measly 85 millions he's getting. The agents only interest is the money, since their take is a percentage of that.

posted by G_Web at 02:50 PM on August 24

Cixelsyd: Weaver could have still played for the Angels after finding out his market value. He wasn't playing for the Royals or another small-market team that couldn't afford him without a discount.

posted by rcade at 02:57 PM on August 24

Shouldn't this give them more financial flexibility to sign other players, whether inside the organization or outside such as Prince Fielder?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 03:26 PM on August 24

I guess I don't see what is so wonderful about letting Moreno keep the millions that Weaver left on the table. The owner is nearly a billionaire and the franchise is flush with cash. Weaver should still have gotten FMV. If he didn't want the money, he could give it to charity.

posted by bperk at 03:27 PM on August 24

Weaver could have still played for the Angels

Understood, but the only point would have been to "ARod" the Angels into paying a higher salary. By avoiding the "more for me" greed I believe he's secured his reputation amongst his team and his fans. I get your point about market value, but were not talking about a guy earning league minimum at his position - $85 Million over 5 years to work and live where you want is acceptable.

letting Moreno keep the millions that Weaver left on the table

Not entirely familiar with the ownership situation, but I would hope the owner invests the money he saved on talent to build the team. If it's solely a case of the owner pocketing the discount I'd 180 on my stance.

posted by cixelsyd at 03:34 PM on August 24

Nice - wish there were more athletes that would make a decision based on something other than greed.

Wish more fans could put themselves in other peoples' shoes. Or are you forever taking a hometown discount at work?

I've got no problem with a player choosing to do this and I do think at this level of salary, his decision to forego free agency has little to no effect on other players' valuations. While I'm on rcade's side in theory, in practice I can see deciding to trade the 85-95th million for peace of mind and having the contract negotiations behind you.

posted by yerfatma at 03:37 PM on August 24

While I applaud Weaver for doing what he did, I realize it isn't charity toward Angel fans. He made a good business decision. He weighed his options which were to wait and test the market and almost certainly get more money after next year, if he doesn't hurt himself, and is prepared to change teams, move to another city, create ill feelings will his current employer, and endure the stress and uncertainty of negotiations and where he will move, vs, sign a huge contract extension worth 85 million dollars, continue playing for the Angels and living in So. Cal (which is worth a lot to most who grew up here), be close to his family and friends (more important than extra money when you already have more than you can spend reasonably) obtain stability, endear himself further with local fans, be able for his family to see him play, enable the Angels to remain competitive, get a solid no trade clause, remain in one of the largest markets where endorsements are plentiful, and possibly endear himself in some way with Angels management which could lead to coaching or a front office career right at home when the time comes.


IMO this was probably a good long term business decision and obviously a good personal decision for him. I am sure the agent would have liked the chance to negotiate a bigger payday but at some point lifestyle and happiness trumps money, especially when you have so much of it anyway. Personally I have turned down more money in order to remain in a situation I feel is comfortable for me and my family. This young man is thinking longer term and can now concentrate on playing baseball while enjoying the very nice environment he has created for himself.

posted by Atheist at 04:47 PM on August 24

bperk - what difference does it make how much money the owner has? Evidently the owner and Weaver are comfortable with the deal and that makes a good deal.

I don't understand the resentment toward ownership, or the notion that Weaver should have fought to get more money so he can give it to charity. Both he and the owner may well be giving money to charity now. I am pretty certain that both parties are paying their fair share in taxes which the government is giving away for them.

posted by Atheist at 04:56 PM on August 24

Evidently the owner and Weaver are comfortable with the deal and that makes a good deal.

Of course both sides are comfortable with the deal. They just reached it. That doesn't mean it's a good deal. As for it being a good business decision, the only way that's true is if he gets injured before his old contract would have expired. It's not good business to turn down $20 million or more during your prime.

I think the "extra money when you already have more than you can spend" argument is misplaced sentimentality. Owners don't think that way when they raise ticket prices or seek a new stadium to maximize luxury boxes and other revenue. Players have a market value. Careers are short.

Weaver's only going to be 34 when the deal expires. If he's no longer a great pitcher, will the Angels show loyalty to him and overpay him by 20 percent?

posted by rcade at 05:10 PM on August 24

rcade - I think I pointed out that what Weaver did was not necessarily out of any sense of loyalty or goodness, but that he merely weighed his options and decided that this deal is in his own best interest based on the things he thinks are important to him. Obviously money was not the only consideration. He mentioned not having the uncertainty hanging over him, playing for a contender in a place he calls home, being near his family and friends, and of course the no trade clause in the contract. The good business move was using it as a way to sort of thank the local fans and tell them how much he loves playing in So. Cal. for the Angels. That is what may mitigate less money when his local popularity and endorsements increase dramatically. The politics behind his words show better marketing sense than say Lebron James who managed to get less money, still no ring, lost his home town fan base, surely some endorsements and not to mention a lot of fan popularity which translates into money.

Also there is the bird in the hand philosophy. Money now translates into more later, delaying money now especially that much money is risky and incurs a loss of the time in which that money now begins to generate more money. If you win the lottery do you take payments over 20 years or do you take the lump sum now? Most financial advisers will tell you to take it now.

posted by Atheist at 05:44 PM on August 24

I think the "extra money when you already have more than you can spend" argument is misplaced sentimentality. Owners don't think that way when they raise ticket prices or seek a new stadium to maximize luxury boxes and other revenue.

I look at this from a completely opposite angle. Which is that if player salaries weren't criminally obscene to begin with, as driven by individuals like Boras, there wouldn't be the urgent need for the multiplication and maximization of franchise income streams in order to make the damn payroll.

I would never want to go back to the days of players being virtually indentured and enslaved to the owners and without the advantages of free agency, etc. The enhanced leverage that players now have over their careers they deserve to have.

But the salary scale went beyond the absurd a while ago. If the owners and GM's don't have the acumen to negotiate contracts on a more favorable and reasonable basis without colluding and end up wildly overpaying athletes and then expect the fans or taxpayers in the counties where stadiums are built to pick up the slack for their imprudent and undisciplined foolishness, then fuck 'em.

We ought to have a marketplace where players enjoy a healthy amount of self-determinism and fair comparative values can be effectively pegged without dialing in the ludicrous compensation levels.

So yes, Weaver left a significant amount of value on the table in comparison to a player such as Sabathia. It's fine to measure that comparative regardless of how Weaver feels about the deal. The problem is that we're measuring the comparative in terms of TENS of millions of dollars.

Easy for me to rant now, because the whole thing is beyond bubble status and unsustainable, so I won't have to carry on indefinitely. And they aren't getting a dime of my money in the meantime.

posted by beaverboard at 06:05 PM on August 24

It may not be the best business decision, but it may be a profoundly good life decision. And I think he left considerably more than $20MM on the table. More like $35-$40.

I like my job and company, but I'm not looking to give them a discount.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:49 PM on August 24

Why are you bending over backwards to try portray this as a savvy business decision? It's not. If you want to argue that it was a great life decision you'll have an easier time convincing me.

On edit: What Weedy said. Like, almost exactly.

posted by tron7 at 06:53 PM on August 24

I look at this from a completely opposite angle. Which is that if player salaries weren't criminally obscene to begin with, as driven by individuals like Boras, there wouldn't be the urgent need for the multiplication and maximization of franchise income streams in order to make the damn payroll.

Owners didn't become multi-millionaires or billionaires by not maximizing their income streams. There is absolutely zero chance players are going to leave money on the table just because the players aren't angling to get it.

posted by bperk at 07:52 PM on August 24

Eh, there are advantages to taking the deal now. He could blow up his arm tomorrow. There are several players on the Red Sox that took deals before they were eligible to test the market. It's job security.

Props to him. he is a very likeable guy.

Except when he gets mad and throws at a hitters head.

Nice - wish there were more athletes that would make a decision based on something other than greed.

Agreed. Remember when players played for the love of the game?

Fred Van Ness, New York Herald, September 5, 1918

Another day will dawn for baseball when the war is over and it will be a day that will mark the end of exorbitant salaries and will once more place the sport above the financial features of the game. ...

Stars in the olden days didn't make as much in a season as the players on the present world series clubs will make in a week, and they played real baseball with a real spirit.

posted by justgary at 08:06 PM on August 24

Which is that if player salaries weren't criminally obscene to begin with, as driven by individuals like Boras, there wouldn't be the urgent need for the multiplication and maximization of franchise income streams in order to make the damn payroll.

Yeah, no. Here's the same thought experiment I give you guys every time you fall into this trap: if every MLB player decided to play the 2012 season for free, how much would tickets cost?

posted by yerfatma at 08:31 PM on August 24

Which is that if player salaries weren't criminally obscene to begin with, as driven by individuals like Boras, there wouldn't be the urgent need for the multiplication and maximization of franchise income streams in order to make the damn payroll.

The NFL introduced a salary cap in 1994. Over the past 17 years, has there been less "multiplication and maximization of franchise income streams" in the NFL? I think the owners have set the gold standard for greed over that period.

posted by rcade at 08:58 PM on August 24

Which is that if player salaries weren't criminally obscene to begin with, as driven by individuals like Boras, there wouldn't be the urgent need for the multiplication and maximization of franchise income streams in order to make the damn payroll.

Multi-billionaires who became multi-billionaire team owners are in the business of maximizing income streams. It's how they were wealthy enough to purchase sports teams.

If you sincerely think that these are a bunch of innocent owners who are looking to sell you $10 tickets if not for the big, bad players, you really need to take a good, hard look at how wealthy people become wealthy.

posted by dfleming at 09:10 PM on August 24

There was a time when baseball was not entirely populated by multi billionaire owners.

But those were the days before free agency.

Calvin Griffith, for one, was able to come up through the ranks of his organization and take over what amounted to a family business. There were many things about Griffith that I did not like or disapproved of, but he was a good judge of talent, fielded good teams and tried to run his enterprise with prudence and continuity.

When free agency came along, Griffith got out. He left with a heavy heart, knowing he wasn't going to be able to compete given the altered landscape of the game.

I am willing to accept the departure of people like Griffith as part of the cost of endowing players with rights they had been denied for too long.

Owners like Griffith were also tightfisted and it was clear to me when I saw that some players depended on off-season employment to make ends meet that the players were underpaid.

I do not consider the departure of Griffith along with the arrival of people like Steinbrenner to be a positive turn of events, however.

I was not a fan of Steinbrenner or his teams, but I never objected to his stockpiling of talent. That was his prerogative in the free agent marketplace.

What I did object to was the fact that he willingly and lavishly overpaid for the talent he gathered. He blew out any semblance of normal, healthy value trajectory that the player market should have experienced, especially in its early developmental stages.

It is still stunning to me how swiftly players went from being virtual field hands to being overvalued premium commodities as teams began throwing continually more absurd amounts of money at even mediocre players.

Much of the money was being thrown around by owners who had made fortunes elsewhere and who did not have the long term relationship to the game that Griffith had. And who could afford to continue without concern if their franchises were operating more as speculative adventures than well-run businesses with some measure of cost control.

During the time when salaries were skyrocketing and teams had not yet figured out how to increase earnings via broadcast deals, branding, etc., an alarming number of franchises operated in the red in any given year. This was not a case of astute billionaires overpaying players as part of a brilliant master plan to eventually coin vast new sums of money. It was more to the point of owners scrambling to play catch up while trying to find ways to offset the spiraling operating costs.

If it can be said that the chicken preceded the egg, the chicken of salary hyperinflation appeared well before the egg of maximization of income streams.

The begging for new stadiums "in order to remain competitive" did not become a steady drumbeat until player compensation was way out of control.

Similarly, no one ever referred to the Kansas City Royals as a "small market team" until salaries went into the upper atmosphere. They were considered a model franchise and were competitive and successful.

(Of course, the Royals also helped exacerbate the situation by issuing "lifetime contracts" to Wilson, Brett and Quisenberry, which was ill-advised).

To this day, it is still the sense of scale of player valuation that is most disturbing. The arena of contracted player services does not have the appearance of a healthy market. It's hard to envision it eventually maturing and reaching a sense of equilibrium as another market might.

It's also hard to envision that it could experience a factor such as fluctuation or downward movement. Tough to imagine a player would accept a market devaluation of his services from one season or contract to the next if he was continuing to produce at a level consistent with past performance.

If you're trying to project a path forward and take things like balance and fluctuation away, there's not much left to consider other than eventual collapse.

posted by beaverboard at 11:31 AM on August 25

Yeah, no. Here's the same thought experiment I give you guys every time you fall into this trap: if every MLB player decided to play the 2012 season for free, how much would tickets cost?

I agree with the general idea - salaries aren't tied to ticket prices, but I also think it's not simply a case of supply and demand either. Corporations can buy tickets as expenses and increasingly owners are also owning the broadcast rights (and some the stations that broadcast them), as well as all concessions, parking, merchandise, etc. You can do a lot of interesting accounting with those toys.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:44 PM on August 25

By avoiding the "more for me" greed I believe he's secured his reputation amongst his team and his fans.

Fans definitely appreciate this, and the front office does as well, I'm sure. I wonder what his teammates think about it. Does this affect them at all when they are looking for their next contracts?

posted by bender at 05:56 PM on August 29

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