A new study by University of Michigan researchers says highly paid baseball “superstars” can hurt their team.
Jason Winfree says spending top dollar for mega-star players (like Miguel Cabrera) HELPS the team attract fans, sell merchandise and increase profits. BUT, he says, clubs that spend the bulk of their player payroll on a couple of superstars ultimately win fewer games.
Winfree, an associate professor of sport management at the U. of M. School of Kinesiology says a more equitable pay scale among all players results in more wins for the team, but not necessarily higher profits.
The study, to be published in Sport Management Review, also found that the relationship between salary inequities and low performance became much more pronounced after the baseball strike of 1994.
Winfree’s research supports the theory that if an MLB team wants a championship, it should pay a handful of solid players roughly equal salaries, but if it wants to maximize profits, it should consider paying a couple superstars most of the salary budget.
According to Winfree if a team’s goal is to win, it should get a lot of pretty good players.
If the goal is to maximize profit, then buying a couple of superstars to draw fans and sell merchandise probably works better.