Many of you may have already listened, but Friday night Kyle Reis joined Allen and I on Meet Me at Musial to talk mainly about the draft from a few days ago. While much of the talk was centered around those that were drafted, obviously, but closer to the end the discussion turned to those players that weren’t drafted.
In normal years, those players would be eligible to sign for up to $100,000 and while many of them probably wouldn’t, they could easily sign for 1/2 or 3/4 of that amount. Some would sign for less, of course, just wanting to get their foot in the door and say they play professional baseball. This year, of course, that amount has been capped at $20,000. Which makes me wonder how many players may think it’s just not worth it.
Look, even $100,000 isn’t much when you start breaking it down. You’ve got agent fees to come out of that (say $5,000) and then you are going to be paying taxes on it. You might be able to come away with $75,000 though and that’s a decent nest egg to put aside and use while you are going through the minor league system. We all know that the pay for minor leaguers is really minimal and, without a good support from either parents or a signing bonus, many players wouldn’t make it.
Now imagine you’ve come out of college this year wanting to play baseball but you didn’t get drafted. On the one hand, you could sign for $20,000, which might be $16,000-$17,000 after taxes and fees. That’s not going to go very far on a minor league play scale. But, knowing that you weren’t any sort of top prospect, you also have a marketable degree. Maybe you could start out at $40,000 in this field, with regular pay increases.
What do you do?
How much do you love the sport? I know Allen said on the show that he’d pay to play a year of minor league baseball and I can understand that sentiment. Just the experience has to be worth something and undrafted folks have made the majors before (I assume–I’m not going to look that up). Especially this year, when only a small number of people were actually drafted, maybe it makes sense to try to keep chasing the dream.
On the other hand, the minors are tough and, as noted, the pay isn’t good. Teams are going to be contracted. You won’t even play this year. I think the entire $20,000 would be paid to you, not deferred like a portion of the amount folks drafted will have, but there’s a chance you could sign and never really get much of an opportunity. Plus, if you have any financial difficulties, looking at double the pay with a little more security might be enough to get you to step away from baseball.
So what do you do? Let me know on Twitter!