MLBPA's Charity Block Will Cost Players In The Long Run

The players' union has struck down the "Manny Ramirez provision," which allowed teams to force players to donate to charity as part of their contracts. But it looks like the MLBPA might've hurt their own guys on this one.

As part of his two-year, $45 million contract with the Dodgers, Frank McCourt mandated that Manny donate $1 million to the Dodgers' charitable foundation. But the union and the commissioner's office came to an agreement yesterday banning that language from certain types of contracts. Here's where the MLBPA shoots itself in the foot.

Clubs can still mandate donations in the contracts of free agents and long-term deals, because those players have the right to sign somewhere else if they don't like the donation clause. But the provision is banned from contracts of players not yet eligible for free agency. Basically, anyone with less than six years of major league service.

And it's those young guys who most need to be compelled to donate. The MLB minimum salary this year is $400,000; that puts them in the highest tax bracket, starting at $373,650. With a donation of $26,351 (or more), they can put themselves in a lower tax bracket, and maintain a number of credits and deductions unavailable to the highest bracket.

Of course, they could donate on their own. But when have you known a professional athlete to make sound financial moves? Instead, we've got players losing out because they don't know their options, and charities losing out because teams can't mandate donations. The only winner here is the federal government. As always.

'Ramirez Provision' is banned [LA Times]