In the middle of the Winter Meetings, Major League Baseball released their annual jobs report, proudly touting the league's year-in, year-out steady job rate for their highly skilled and athletic workforce. Said an unnamed baseball rep, "The league is happy to say that, despite upheaval and uncertainty in almost every other job market, Major League Baseball has seen no loss in on-field jobs since 1994. Every single 25 man active roster is at 100% capacity. We remain committed to hiring American and International ballplayers that make our brand of Sport like no other."
However, leading economists offer a different view. According to an unnamed Employment Agency representative, "This is all just spin from the league. I mean, it's not hard to miss the numbers, revenues have been exploding and are more than 5 times higher than they were in 1996. And yet, there hasn't been a single active roster spot created since 50 were added in 1998. The owners are pocketing larger amounts of cash than ever while asking for more and more of the onus be placed on the employee. It has to reach a breaking point."
Some would argue that the nearly 60% roster expansion that happened this past September points to future growth, but the Agency rep added, "Look at where these jobs went in October. Poof, they're gone. These were merely seasonal, temporary dodges so that owners could avoid paying out health insurance and salary benefits."
Platoon Advantage numbers bear that out. Here is a chart, made with high tech products, comparing job and revenue growth since 1996:
However, while revenue numbers indicate that more players could be added to the league's payroll, baseball execs are in no rush to do so. Said one executive on the basis of anonymity, "Listen, these are high paying, highly skilled jobs. There just aren't enough trained employees in the workforce out there. Personally, I blame the high schools." Another one added, "Until we reach a point in time where we can't meet the demands of the viewing public with the 25-man workforce that we have, why would we hire more? We're not charities, we're ballclubs with investors to answer to."
A call to Bud Selig was not answered at press time.