‘It’s going to get ugly for those guys’: How the lockout could hurt MLB’s midtier free agents
MLB 

  • Senior writer ESPN Magazine/ESPN.com
  • Analyst/reporter ESPN television
  • Author of “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty”

The contract numbers spent in free agency so far are record-setting, mind-bending. Max Scherzer’s annual salary of $43.3 million is the highest ever for a pitcher. The Texas Rangers spent more money in two days on two players — Corey Seager and Marcus Semien — than they have on their entire roster the last four seasons combined. The New York Mets’ 2022 payroll is approaching $300 million, after Steve Cohen’s holiday weekend spree.

But some agents and club executives fully anticipate an inevitable fallout from all of the money being thrown around now, and expect that whenever there is a labor resolution between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association — whether that happens in the next three days or the next three months — those who will absorb the cost will again be the middle class of the union.

That is to say, it’s those rank-and-file veterans who aren’t superstars and aren’t getting the eight- or nine-figure payouts, a group that has taken a big hit in average salary over the past seven years. “It’s going to get ugly for those guys,” said one general manager.

Said a player agent: “I don’t even want to think about what’s going to happen to them.”

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