Ranger Suárez’s agent calls the Philadelphia Phillies standout the “poster child” of ongoing MLB lockout and negotiations
As the MLB lockout drags on, many are growing frustrated with both sides. The reason to blame the owners and league is obvious; they are billionaire bosses who locked out their own employees, the players, further fracturing an already-tense relationship. But many also blame
However, to blame the players for ‘being millionaires’ and therefore somehow as greedy as the billionaire owners is a generalization that displays a lack of nuance and understanding of MLB finances.
Ranger Suárez is the perfect example of said nuance.
An unexpected standout on the Philadelphia Phillies in 2021, Suárez moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation at the beginning of August, becoming a starting pitcher for the first time since 2018. He was excellent in both roles, compiling a 1.36 ERA for the season, making 12 starts, finishing 13 games, and even pitching a complete-game shutout Maddux.
However, the amount of service time Suárez has accumulated since his 2018 debut means he won’t even be eligible for arbitration until 2023. Free agency is still years away in 2026. Therefore, as the second-best pitcher on the team behind NL Cy Young runner-up Zack Wheeler, Suárez made $575,000, slightly about the major-league minimum.
The contrast between Suárez’s performance and pay is stark. That’s why his agent, Daniel Szew, says he’s the perfect example of the current conflict:
"“Ranger is kind of what the fight is for. He’s one of the poster children in all of this.”"
Compared to the non-athlete population, making more than half a million is an excellent yearly earning. However, while MLB revenues have soared in recent years (the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, excluded), the league has been unwilling to raise player compensation and continues to manipulate service time. They will do everything possible to avoid paying the club-controlled players in the pre-free agency stage of their careers.
While “fans” of the game claim that all players are multimillionaires just greedy for more, the reality is that most of them are far from Bryce Harper’s tax bracket. More than half of major-leaguers are pre-arbitration and therefore, make the minimum. Players at the top, such as Max Scherzer, are fighting for players like Suárez, not themselves.
The league’s owners are only fighting for themselves.