Something strange happened during the overnight hours between March 21 and March 22. Bob Nightengale of USA Today, haver of one of the weirder minds in modern sports reporting, somehow had the idea incepted into his brain that there exists in baseball a social club for players who make at least $10 million per season. Nightengale has been pursuing this angle in the hours and days since, to the profound confusion of all observers.
Bob was behaving normally Monday afternoon, when he reported a contract extension for Rockies infielder Ryan McMahon that will pay out more than $11 million per season. Note that there is no mention here of any earnings-based club membership for McMahon, although you could certainly argue that the club named in this report is also entirely fictional:
Bob was up and reporting before 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, and here we see the first mention of this $10 million club:
No one has ever heard of this “$10 million club” before, but it’s easy enough to head to MLB Trade Rumors, check arbitration projections, and assume that Bob here is referring to an elusive eight-figure salary threshold for baseball men, and not a literal social club. With Twitter character limits putting the squeeze on reporters, maybe this is just a clunky but comprehensible shorthand for a somewhat arbitrary but not entirely worthless observation: Here are some players who stand to make a lot of money this offseason.
But Bob spent most of Tuesday insisting that this “$10 million club” business is an important facet of baseball’s free agency period. Could the club be real?
Bob is perhaps even a member of the club? The founding member? Who has assigned himself the duty of welcoming new members upon entry?
I for one had no idea that USA Today pays its reporters eight-figure salaries, but despite my boiling envy I am nonetheless happy for Bob that he was able to found a nice club and invite all his baseball heroes to join him. Unfortunately it appears that certain ultra-high-earning players may be too good for the $10 million club, and have formed a club of their own. Thankfully, Bob is somehow also a member of this even-more-exclusive association of baseball types:
Fair warning: If one year from now I learn that Bob is eligible to welcome Trea Turner to the $300 million club, Defector readers should expect an absolutely massive increase in subscription prices. I can barely afford a goddamn membership to Sam’s Club.