If you came here to escape from “the real world,” you’re going to be disappointed like Milton. Like the Red Sox raising ticket prices on the day after Thanksgiving, the Nats tried a similar maneuver the past few days by releasing more than two dozen players late last week, then reducing the pay of the surviving players to $300 from $400.
Of course, much will be made about how the Nats’ major-leaguers are pledging to make up this shortfall, but this obscures the reality that one class of employees is subsidizing another while ownership is given a pass.
I suppose in some ways, we should be used to this. Booster clubs are formed to raise money to help house and feed players. While some of us groan at a rehab assignment, the players (save for the guy who has to sit) are often happy because they’re going to have something different and better to eat that night.
In her article for The Athletic ($$), Brittany Ghiroli references how GM Mike Rizzo “remember[ed] making $850 a month in a small California town in 1984” (Roehnert Park, Calif.) in late March before noting that half the teams are going month-to-month like Washington, with the extremes of Kansas City (no layoffs or pay cuts ) and Oakland (minor-leaguers have been cut off without free agency).
I always find it interesting when folks like Rizzo try to make themselves sound empathetic, woefully or willfully ignorant of how much worse things are today. Depending on which inflation calculator you use, That $850 in 1984 is worth anywhere from $2,097 to $2,184 in 2020.
Redwood in 1984, where Mike Rizzo played his final season, was Single-A. In 2019, the average monthly paycheck in Single-A ranged from $1,100 to $1,500. (Source)
Let them eat cake indeed.