Get Your Son A Glove And Line Up Under MLB’s Money Tree

If you're a dad and have a son, these are your marching orders: Take that football or basketball you bought your son for Christmas and take it back to the store – ASAP. Run to the nearest sporting goods store and buy your son a baseball glove. Maybe, even a bat, too.

In case you were under a rock or just too busy doing that last-minute holiday shopping, Major League Baseball was at it again on Saturday.

You know, giving out loot. Goobs and goobs of it.

Free-agent outfielder Shin Soo Choo and the Texas Rangers just agreed on a seven-year, $130 million contract. Not bad for a left-handed hitter who batted just .200 against lefthanders. Granted, Choo had an MLB-best .423 on-base percentage. But his overall statistics – .285, 21 HR and 54 RBI – didn't seem to warrant such a lucrative deal.

But it's the business of baseball. The sport is healthy and has plenty of money to spend. Check out the other deals this past offseason that should have gotten your attention.

Robinson Cano left NYC to join the Seattle Mariners. No one thought Cano would leave the Yankees for the Northwest. But the Mariners spent cash like they were the Yankees , giving Cano an eye-popping 10-year, $240 million deal.

It tied the third-largest deal in sports history. Not baseball history, but professional sports history. Yes, including the NFL, NBA and NHL. Heck, even those money-rich soccer leagues in Europe.

The Yankees signed Jacob Ellsbury a seven-year, $153 million deal. The former Red Sox will now be patrolling centerfield in Da Bronx.

This large paper is nothing new for MLB. In fact, baseball owns 14 of the top 15 biggest contracts in the history of sports. Only Floyd Mayweather's two-year, $180-million deal with Showtime ranks on that list, tied at No. 9.

That right there should be enough incentive to get your son signed up for Little League this spring. There are plenty of other jobs in baseball at the minor league level, too.

And there are plenty of scholarships as well to play baseball. In the African American community, fewer kids are playing baseball at a higher level. Hence, even historically black colleges have given the scholarships to white kids to play baseball for its teams. It’s crazy.

We get it. Basketball is easier. All a kid needs is a ball, a hoop and all day at the park. But there are only 400 jobs in The Association and only 30 players get a guaranteed deal each year.

Sure, there are more gigs in the NFL – more than 1,600 job compared to about 800 in MLB. There are two big differences, though. The average career is just 3.5 years in the NFL. Plus, much of the money in pro football isn't guaranteed.

Secondly, and more importantly, the health concerns in football is a serious business. There have been so many concussions, and the aftereffects are front and center.

Many former players have come out and talked about all their health problems after they left the sport. Even Hall Of Fame-bound quarterback Brett Favre.

Favre holds the NFL record for consecutive games played 297. In the process, Favre was also sacked a record 525 times in his 20-year career.

But a few months ago, Favre said he doesn't know if he would allow his son to play football, if he had one.

"I would be very leery of him playing," said Favre in an interview with The Today Show. "In some respect, I'm almost glad I don't have a son because of all the pressures he would face.

"Also the physical toll it could possibly take on him, not to mention if he never made it, he's going to be a failure in everyone's eyes. But more the physical toll it could take."

No wonder less and less kids are playing Pop Warner football. According to ESPN's "Outside The Lines," there's has been a 9.5 percent drop in participation from 2000-2012.

It's not too late to get that glove for your boy and start playing catch as soon as the weather breaks. In the meantime, you guys can hit the batting cage.

Baseball isn't just fun. It's pays, too. Boy, does it.

Rob Parker is a columnist for The Shadow League. He is also an analyst for Fox Sports 1 in Los Angeles. He co-hosts The Odd Couple on Fox Sports Radio and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.