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GameDay Chatter: All-Stars and Payrolls

On Sunday, I made another appearance on the afternoon Twins Extra Innings show, as part of the GameDay Chatter segment.  Here's my effort:

Twins fans who watched last Tuesday’s All-Star Game had to be a little bit frustrated.  Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Joe Nathan represented the Twins, but the usual passel of ex-Twins was also in attendance.  Johan Santana and Jason Bartlett were present and accounted for; Torii Hunter was selected, but couldn’t play because of injury. 

Hunter and Santana, of course, both left because the team felt that it couldn’t afford their salaries, and maybe that’s true: Santana is making between $20-25 million per year over the next five years, and Hunter will make nearly $18 million in each of the next four seasons.  That's a lot of money to spend on just one player.

That said, it should be clear: despite the long-anticipated bump in team revenues with the move to Target Field next season, the Twins have been doing things on the cheap.

Let’s do the math: team revenues have been north of $130 million in each the last two seasons. League-wide revenues are at an all-time high.  Attendance is up this year.  But despite the team’s continued claims of spending 50-52% of revenues on player salaries, their payrolls over the last two years have been right around the 40-45% range.

League-wide, too, baseball is doing things on the cheap (despite the Herculean efforts of Boston and the New York teams.)  Player salaries as a percentage of league revenues have dropped down to around 50% - surprising, considering the other three pro sports in this country give away nearly 60% to players as terms of their union contracts.

The Twins have been pocketing the savings over the past few years, and team revenues are set for a dramatic upswing.  Don’t let them get away with letting another All-Star go because of claimed financial considerations.