From 2014 to 2019, cities estimated that the All-Star Game brought in $70 million in economic impact (via Joseph Peeters at ABC Denver). So, with the current leader in average attendance hosting the Midsummer Classic, it’s safe to say the city of Los Angeles may pass that recent average with ease.
And with All-Star voting underway, we’ll soon find out who will be the players responsible for the income to the city, which may not be receiving the contracts that most fans would assume an All-Star does.
And a perfect example of this comes from some of the expected battery options in the American League.
Depending on your level of fandom, the top two catchers leading in votes may not be house hold names, despite how deserving they have been so far. As of June 21, Alejandro Kirk has over 1 million fan votes, which is followed by Jose Trevino with 387,000.
Kirk has replicated his 2020 numbers throughout the start of the year, posting an .307 batting average and .861 OPS in 58 games. This has outdone Trevino, who despite only having a .278 average and .790 OPS in 44 games, gets the bump defensively, being regarded one of the best framers in baseball.
Although their individual numbers may lean one way or another, their paychecks are separated by just $6,000, as Kirk will make $714,000 to Trevino’s $720,000.
The presumptive starting pitchers who may be throwing to them are not that far off from those paychecks either.
Currently, the AL ERA leaders are between the Rays’ Shane McClanahan (1.81 ERA in 84.1 IP) and Nestor Cortes Jr. (1.94 ERA in 69.2 IP). Both of those southpaws will be making below $750,000 this year as well, with McClanahan making $711,400 to Cortes’ $727,500.
While fans don’t have the choice to vote for the starting pitcher, it is likely these two would have received a bulk of the votes, potentially leaning Cortes due to his internet popularity over his strong start to the season.
But, these cheap contracts are not due to a lack of performance, but just the age of the future All-Stars. All four of the players listed are still in the arbitration years of their contracts, thus controlling how much they can make.
They are not alone for expected All-Star starters that are still making less than one million dollars a year, as other finalists like Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Taylor Ward may be heading to LA under similar incomes.
While it may seem unfair for the players to be bringing in so much revenue in comparison to what they’re compensated, these arbitration years are a chance to earn their real paydays in free agency.
The only problem is that getting to free agency takes upwards of six years to get to, after just about every player forgoes a lengthy minor league journey, which is why the topic of arbitration always comes up in player-owner negotiations.
Legal obligations aside, young players are always good for the game. Especially when being showcased on the national stage, which is looking to be the case for these AL East centerpieces.