So says this article at SI, anyway.
For ballplayers, the gig economy divides work among more players, which means less pay for players. A record 1,270 players appeared in major league games last year. That’s a 15.8% increase in jobs since 1998, the first season with 30 teams. Yet the average salary went down last year for the first time since 2004—while revenues again went up.
The Dodgers are an example, says the author:
Take Los Angeles outfielder Joc Pederson, 26, as an example. Pederson hits 58 points lower against lefthanded pitchers than righthanders, so he has been given a gig job. Had he played outfield for the Dodgers in the 1960s, as Willie Davis did, Pederson would have been a full-time player. Davis hit 42 points worse against lefties than righties at the same age as Peterson. Yet by age 26, Davis had five seasons with 550 or more plate appearances. Pederson has only one such season.
It’s easier for the Dodgers to give at-bats against lefties to somebody else than to commit to sticking with Pederson in hopes that he improves on his career .181 average against lefties.
Jacob Rudner of Sports Illustrated says
Andrew Friedman needs to rethink his strategy. Instead of being reluctant and hoping the roster pans out for another year, there has to be some benefit in going and making the changes you need to make to get the roster to the promise land. After two years of reserved salary acquisition, the Dodgers roster is cheap enough that the team should be going all out for a trophy.
Michael Wittman of SI says
Yasmani Grandal on the other hand, is the best catcher left on the market.
While passed balls became an issue behind the plate towards the end of the season, Grandal is still a better backstop than 95% of the catchers in the league and he could be primed for a nice bounce back season in 2019, especially if the Dodgers get him back on a one year deal. Then he would help bridge the gap to Keibert Ruiz in 2020, while re-establishing his own market before hitting free agency again at the end of next season.
Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times is equally impatient
Because of their relative frugality last year, the Dodgers will be penalized as first-time offenders if their payroll for next season exceeds the luxury-tax threshold. And because they traded Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Cincinnati Reds, they can take on another outfielder.
So where’s Bryce Harper?
Hernandez argues that the fans expect and deserve better than this sudden apparent unwillingness to spend on payroll given the higher ticket prices and inability to watch Dodgers’ games on television, among other things.