Thursday, March 17, 2016

More Data Points of the LaRoche Story

Don't miss Mike's good op-ed below on Adam LaRoche's retirement. Mike gets right to the point that many people don't even understand A) what its like to have kids, but also B) what its like to have options in life. Many people are stuck in job or feel lacking of freedom but lets put a few facts out there to put more of LaRoche's decision into perspective.

#1 - He's been bringing his son to team functions for some time and people haven't noticed because he's been playing great. Being a DC resident I witnessed his 2011-2014 seasons. .341 OBP in those 4 years, 6th in MVP voting and Golden Glove winner in 2012, a core piece of the lineup. So that's why this has never even come up before.

Look at any major sport, when a guy is producing for a team they let them do whatever, like guys getting arrested, or in this case, bringing their kid to the day job.

#2 - Ken Williams is allowed to ban any kids from team events. People forget that baseball is a job for MLB players. Williams said "name one job in the country were you can bring your child to work everyday." and he's right. If ownership or management thinks you are doing anything that might be hurting your performance they can request you change it so long as its nothing illegal.

I happen to be allowed to work remotely for my job, but that's with the expectation that I perform my job. IF I under-perform my employer has every right to tell my I can't telework anymore and have to come into the office.

#3 - bosses can suffer consequences, I've had former bosses force entire staffs out with dumb decision making; its quite possible LaRoche is "taking one for the team" cause other players are mad about the "no kids" decision.

#4 - He's NOT foregoing $13,000,000
One of the worst thing that happens in sports is the advertisement of player contracts because its so disorting of facts. People, and by that I mean everyday fans, seem to think that being a professional athlete is the same as being a waiter, mechanic, accountant, chef etc. Its not for many reasons

A) bonuses, performance targets and incentives vs. guaranteed money. Often when sports contracts are announced for some idiotic reason media always announce a contracts potential maximum, a figure athletes rarely reach because many of the targets are impossible or not entirely within their control like "make the playoffs" etc.

B) TAXES!!! People seem to forget that athletes pay taxes too, and in fact they pay more because the salary is higher. general consensus is that you take 20% off your salary to estimate your take home, for athletes its a hell of a lot more than that.

C) FEES / AGENTS / ETC.   LaRoche has an agent, he has trainers, he has supplements/vitamins and more that come out of his own pocket.

If you put all that together his $13 million might be more like $6-7 million. Not saying thats something to sneeze at, but also saying don't kid yourself on the $13 million part.

#5 - He likely doesn't need the money. LaRoche, if he has been smart with money should have plenty of it, turning down $"$13 million" might be something he's willing to forego because he frankly doesn't need it. He plays in America's most absurdly salaried sport and has had a good career. Baseball pays its players more than any other sport, and the players can play for longer than most any other sport aside from maybe golf. Laroche has been playing since 2004, here's his salary according to contracts thus far.

Year Age Team Salary Sources
2004 24 Atlanta Braves $300,000 4/7/04 AP
2005 25 Atlanta Braves $337,500
2006 26 Atlanta Braves $420,000
2007 27 Pittsburgh Pirates $3,200,000
2008 28 Pittsburgh Pirates $5,000,000
2009 29 Pittsburgh Pirates $7,050,000
2010 30 Arizona Diamondbacks $4,500,000
2011 31 Washington Nationals $7,000,000
2012 32 Washington Nationals $8,000,000
2013 33 Washington Nationals $10,000,000
2014 34 Washington Nationals $12,000,000
2015 35 Chicago White Sox $12,000,000
2015 35 Washington Nationals $2,000,000 Buyout of contract option

So, taking into account points 4A, 4B, and 4C above to be conservative lets say he only gets 50% of whats advertised, he'd still have amassed $36+ million so far by the age of 35. Most of us won't amass $36 million in our lifetime. This ignores any money he has made from investments, endorsements, if his wife has a job etc.:

"LaRoche is one of the co-owners of Outdoor Networks hunting show Buck Commander with friends and pro athletes Chipper JonesRyan LangerhansTom MartinLuke BryanJason Aldean, and Willie Robertson who is from the Duck Commander series."

So is a $13 million contract something to sneeze at... well no. But is it going to put Adam LaRoche's family in dire straights... not likely so long as he has been smart with what he's made so far. Once you are paid enough money to own a house and car outright and pay utilities, the honest truth is that more money is just to spend on more things you want to try, but not things you need.

#6 - He can just as easily unretire and play for another team that allows him to bring his kid. 

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