Tweet shows pro athletes may be overpaid

Jordan Larimore

Jordan Larimore

Several times, I’ve argued that professional athletes are not overpaid, as it has been suggested in today’s marketplace of seven – and even eight or nine – figure salaries among athletes.

A twitter link this week changed my mind. The following number puts it in perspective.

Detroit Tigers’ third baseman Miguel Cabrera made more than $30,000 in every at bat in 2012. In case you’re not familiar with Major League Baseball, most starters get at least 500 at bats in a season.

 You can do that math yourself.

Also making headlines in the sports world this past week was Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka. Cameras caught Ibaka delivering a brutal slap in the gonads to an unwitting Blake Griffin.

Referees saw Ibaka’s slap, whistled him for a foul and moved on with their lives.

 No ejection, no suspension. Even more egregious was the amount of money the move cost Ibaka.

He was fined $25,000. Maybe Cabrera will get an extra at bat this season to help Ibaka cover his losses.

Then again, since he makes $27,476 per game, he can probably handle it. And Ibaka’s salary is downright measly compared to other star athletes.

In the winter of 2011, baseball star Albert Pujols signed a new contract with the Los Angeles Angels that will pay him $240 million before it expires. The average annual value of that deal is $24 million.

$24 million.

Every year.

For 10 years.

Lotteries have paid people less.

The argument supporting these inflated salaries typically notes how much time professional athletes spend not only competing, but also practicing, training and traveling.

That’s fine, I get it. But most of the time, none of those things cost the player a dime, either.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why these guys make the money they do. I’m all about capitalism.

But allow me to put it in perspective for you.

If he felt like it, Cabrera could have bought 600 brand new Ford F-150s last year.

Ibaka could almost afford one after playing a single game of this year’s 82-game schedule.

Pujols could have bought 12 different homes at $1 million apiece (his contract is heavily back-loaded, so he only made $12 million last season. Poor guy). That’s three per time zone.

Another thing to consider is all the money teams spend on players who get hurt and don’t wind up seeing the field, court, etc., for an extended period. Now I know you can’t take someone’s salary away from them just because they got hurt, but consider the 2013 Yankees.

Outfielder Curtis Granderson, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and first baseman Mark Teixeira are all going to begin the season on the disabled list.

Between them, they will cost the Steinbrenners $361,338 every day once the season starts. More than $2.5 million a week for three guys to sit and watch baseball.

Essentially wasted money until the trio returns to health, which isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

Rodriguez is scheduled to miss about half of this season, Teixeira and Granderson will both miss 8 to 10 weeks.

In order to avoid complicated math, we’ll say A-Rod makes a miraculous comeback and joins the team when the other two do. New York will still have paid them roughly $25 million before any of the three swings a bat in a Major League game this year.

Now you know where your $10 for a ballpark beer is going.