The Braves could use a great outfielder. The problem is Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford will be way out of their price range when the free agent market opens.
They also could use Jayson Werth or Adam Dunn. Not going to happen. Like Crawford, Werth and Dunn will be on a shelf at Neiman Marcus. The Braves will be shopping down the street at Value City.
I have a few questions: Can Gregory B. Maffei be an every day outfielder? What kind of power numbers does he have? What’s his batting average with runners in scoring position?
The way I figure it, Maffei kinda, sorta, indirectly owns this team. If he’s going to make $87.1 million, the least he can do is help the Braves’ cause and grab a bat. He’s certainly not doing helping much with his gold card.
Monday’s Wall Street Journal lists the top 10 paid CEOs among 456 of the largest U.S. public companies. Maffei, the head of Liberty Media Corp., which owns the Braves, tops the list. According to the Journal, Maffei “enjoyed total direct pre-tax compensation of $87.1 million last year, four times his 2008 package.”
I’m not going to debate whether somebody deserves four times their 2008 pay. That’s up to the company and the stockholders. But if a company is so flush with dollars that the CEO can draw an income of $87.1 million, is there not another $15 to $20 million a year for the Braves to beef up their anemic lineup?
Bashing general manager Frank Wren has become the favorite past time of some fans (and occasionally me). But consider the Braves’ payroll during Maffei’s ascent: According to various baseball salary databases, the Braves’ payroll dropped from about $102 million in 2008 to $97 million in 2009 to $84 million in 2010.
That represents an $18 million — or 17.6 percent — drop. It’s not quite the equivalent of “four times his 2008 package.” In fact, $84 million is $3 million less than Maffei’s salary.
Maffei is keeping Liberty stockholders happy. The Journal article also stated that “Liberty’s total shareholder return for 2009 at 247% was the highest among the top ten.”
But shouldn’t Braves’ fans be considered stockholders?