Cleveland Indians fans are used to seeing former stars make big money elsewhere.
Trevor Bauer was the latest to do so this week when he signed a record-setting deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers that will pay him $40 million in 2021 and $45 million in 2022.
Parents, teach your kids to throw a baseball.
$40 million for one season is mind-blowing and as it turns out, he will make more than the Indians active roster did in 2020.
2020 total payrolls:
Orioles: $23.5 Million
Pirates: $25.3 Million
Rays: $28.3 Million
Marlins: $31.6 Million
Royals: $34.8 Million
Athletics: $36.7 Million
Indians: $39.3 Million
Trevor Bauer salary in 2021: $40 Million pic.twitter.com/4ccAG5x8d1
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) February 5, 2021
This tweet was circulating at the end of the week and needs some context.
Is Trevor Bauer Making More Than the 2020 Indians?
Technically, yes he is making more.
The Indians had a payroll right under $40 million in 2020, but that is because the season was shortened to 60 games and salaries were prorated.
The same is true for all the other teams listed in the above tweet.
Last year’s payroll saw Carlos Santana earn the most with an adjusted salary of $8.3 million.
Francisco Lindor was second at $6.48 million.
So while this Bauer fact needs context, its application to the 2021 payroll is more jarring considering players are receiving full pay.
Will Bauer Earn More Than the 2021 Indians?
A trend also emerged saying how Bauer is in fact earning more than the 2021 Indians as well.
Spotrac lists the Indians currently sitting with a payroll of $36.5 million for the season.
However, it is projected to be up around $50 million when the season actually gets underway.
As usual, some fans quickly jumped on this report.
But the points remains the same.
Bauer is still earning nearly as much as the entire Indians roster will in 2021.
Implications of This Comparison
Bauer earning $40 million in 2021 is not a direct slap in the fact to Indians fans.
That is well over $1 million per start and was only going to be paid by one of the top markets in the league, such as the Dodgers or the New York Mets.
That is where we find the problem.
I think Trevor Bauer getting paid as much as some teams' entire payrolls this season says a lot more about those teams than it does Bauer or the Dodgers.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 5, 2021
MLB is so lopsided where one team can spend nearly as much on one player as another team spends on its active roster.
Going a step further, there is no limit to how low a payroll can go.
The economics of the league make it clear there would not be support for a salary cap.
Players want to maximize earnings and stars aren’t going to vote to limit potential future cash.
The best solution may be a salary floor.
That would establish a system where owners cannot slash spending and alienate fans in the process.
Once again, pointing out Bauer’s salary in relation to the Indians payroll isn’t to say the team should pay any one player that much money in a single season.
It is simply pointing out the lopsided nature of baseball and how when it comes to top established talent, only a few teams have the money to land the stars.
Does adding these players automatically ensure a championship?
No, but it sure does help the cause.