Some of the most interesting baseball and life observations were made by Yankee Hall of Fame Catcher, Yogi Berra. A few of Yogi’s more memorable quotes are:

  • “When you get to a fork in the road, take it.”
  • “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”
  • “You wouldn’t have won if we had beaten you.”

Yes, Yogi is an American icon and his unforgettable quotes are legendary. But, one quote comes very much to mind in light of new bonuses and contracts awarded to Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” Little did we know, Yogi was prophetic.

JPMorgan Announces $20 million bonus For Jamie Dimon

Is it surprising that Jamie Dimon was awarded a $20 million bonus as Chief Executive Officer of a publicly held corporation that agreed to pay about $20 billion in penalties in 2013? What exactly is the message here?

Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha told the media that he thought Dimon was worth more. Apparently, that means that a CEO’s main role is to serve as front man for a bunch of bad actors. Jamie Dimon is a charismatic front man. Jamie looks and sounds like someone we’d like to know.

Dimon either hedged on the truth or misrepresented facts about the depth of the recent London Whale scandal. Is he oblivious to the operations over which he is chief executive? Either way, shareholders and the Board have reasons for concern.

Apparently, the message after the Whale and events like the company’s arrogant Madoff misrepresentations, is, “Thank you Mr. Dimon for avoiding steeper, rightful penalties and for keeping us all out of jail.”

Hopefully, Mr. Dimon will use his embarrassing experiences in 2013, to clean up JPMorgan’s act. If not, Board members should be held responsible for bonuses to any executives in the future.

Clayton Kershaw’s Record Deal

Yogi Berra’s highest annual salary as a professional baseball player was $65,000. The recent signing of LA Dodger 25-year old, two-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw to a 7-year $215 million contract is a staggering. It puts a different slant on Mr. Dimon’s bonus.

Kershaw will earn an average annual salary of $30 million during his contract, the highest salary in baseball history. In 2013, Kershaw started and appeared in 33 games. That’s right 33 games! If my math is right, he will be paid about $90,090 per start if he maintains his exceptional health and starts 33 games every year for the duration of his contract. No matter how you look at it, that’s a lot of money and way more than Yogi ever imagined possible, to play a game he loved.

The thing is, baseball analysts say Kershaw is worth every penny of it. In an organization that believes baseball is 90 per cent pitching, Kershaw is arguably the game’s best pitcher. He’s young, talented and will not lose or abuse anyone else’s money. Mr. Kershaw is healthy with a fantastic work ethic. On top of that, he is good for baseball. He and his wife started and support an orphanage in Zambia, where they are frequent visitors in the off-season.  In an era of high profile cheaters, Mr. Kershaw is clean and has a powerful, positive presence in the LA community and beyond. This is no Roger Clemens or Alex Rodriquez here. We are looking at a real role model.

Unfortunately, what goes on in New York baseball or finance does not stay in New York. The NY Yankees agreed to pay bad boys Clemens $28,000,000 in 2007 for one year. They signed a contract with the beleaguered Rodriquez for $27,000,000 per year from 2008-2017, with the new exception of his 2014 suspension.

The LA Dodgers reached the NL Championship Series. JP Morgan Chase share appreciate 16 percent in 2013.

The decision for the Yankees, Dimon and JPMorgan is whether it’s time to play the way Clayton Kershaw plays or the way Clemens and Rodriquez played. Here’s hoping the JP Morgan board insists on a clean Kershaw-like performance in 2014 and long before any bonuses are awarded again.

Only then will a Jamie Dimon card be worth a Clayton Kershaw card.

Image Credits: vladacanon/