Monday, August 8, 2016

Revisiting the Idea of a Salary Cap in MLB


Whenever I was asked the question, as a Yankees fan, whether I would care if Major League Baseball instituted a salary cap I always claimed that I would be all for it. Much like we see in the NFL or the NBA year after year there are always those one or two veterans who have always wanted to play for (fill in the blank) or are chasing a championship ring or trophy who sign for the league minimum. There are also the players who are willing to take less money and restructure their contracts to bring in or keep another player a la Peyton Manning or Tom Brady which are all factors that I think would help the Yankees still “get their man” while playing within the rules. Then I got rethinking the whole salary cap thing with the new collective bargaining agreement expiring after the 2016 season.


First and foremost why would you want to fix what isn’t broken? Major League Baseball has been flourishing in attendance, television deals etc. for quite a few years now with loads of young talent and money flooding the game right now. Why mess with that by forcing a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Yankees or other high market teams to carry lesser players just to save a few bucks here or there? Also, why bankrupt (for lack of a better word) teams like the Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays who aren’t lighting $100 bills in their fireplace all winter long to stay warm because with any sort of salary cap comes a salary floor as well.


Player salaries are down across the board in Major League Baseball believe it or not from a high of 56% of all revenue being paid to players in 2002 down to 38% as recent as 2014. These rates will continue to go down as you see fewer and fewer Alex Rodriguez type mega contracts and more and more reliance on young studs and rookies, not to mention new television deals like the St. Louis Cardinals just signed last year for an easy $1 BILLION.


The Yankees would continue to win with or without the salary cap simply because of the team’s popularity and such not only domestically but around the world as well. The problem here is that I think the league would lose in the long run more than the individual teams with a salary cap so let’s hope the owners and MLB Players Association pass on that before the beginning of the 2017 MLB regular season.

8 comments:

  1. A salary cap is a solution that has no problem to solve.

    I disagree that no large contracts are signed anymore, though. Sure, that's true when it comes to free agency. But you still have guys like Stephen Strasburg, who signed a 7 year $175 million extension with the Nationals earlier this year. Or there was Giancarlo Stanton's 13 year $325 million extension he signed with the Marlins a couple of years ago.

    And while there aren't as many big free agent contracts being signed, you still get deals like the one given to Prince Fielder (9 yrs/$214m in 2012) and Jason Heyward (8 yr/$184m before this season).

    Overall, the game has gone as Daniel says... towards scouting and development. But big signings will not go away.

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    1. You're right Bryan, I was very unclear and shortsighted with my "no more large contracts" comments. Large contracts will still happen, just not with the consistency that we once saw. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will get A-Rod type deals as did Strasburg and Stanton. Those are special cases. For a while it seemed like 5th starters were inching towards $20 million annually.

      And by the way Heyward, like Harper and Machado, are special cases since they are so young hitting free agency.

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  2. Totally agree. Salary caps will never happen in baseball, nor should they. The only way salary caps work is with non guaranteed contracts. If a team has to pay athletes whether they're hurt or nonproductive, they'll never be competitive. Most teams would have too much money tied up.

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    1. I agree that it will never happen and all that but would non-guaranteed contracts be the worst thing to ever hit MLB? I don't think so. Neither would salary floors that force small market teams to spend, thus increasing parity, rather than pocketing millions of dollars because of greed (ironic coming from me but stay with me).

      Remember when the Pirates were getting more in luxury tax benefits and profit sharing than they were spending in salary? Which meant that every ticket sale, every merchandise sale, every $40 parking job etc. went straight into the owner's pockets while the fans continued to suffer for 20-some seasons. That's all I want to avoid again.

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    2. I absolutely agree with you. It wasn't just the Pirates either. Miami, Tampa Bay, Oakland, and probably a few others are just as guilty. I like the system in place now. I like the luxury tax. I like the qualifying offer. I don't like the guaranteed salary's, but you have to give something to get something.This will be an interesting CBA for sure.

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  3. Nice job by Severino, doing his impersonation of Ivan Nova. Again.

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