Small Market Owners Want a Salary Cap (and Probably a Bailout)

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It's the middle of January, which can only mean it's time for baseball owners to get together in the sunshine and collude! This year, the small market owners are breaking away from the script and talking about a salary cap, mostly because the Yankees just committed a half-billion dollars to three gentlemen. Brewers owner Mark Attanasio is pretty vocal about instituting an anti-competitive cap, probably because his biggest fish from his playoff team just got eaten by the Yankees.

"I would ask, if it's such a bad idea, what sport doesn't have a salary cap other than us?" Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said Wednesday.

The answer, Mark, would be 'none', because no other sport has such a powerful players union as baseball, where players actually get 'compensated' at a fair rate for services provided. Well, almost every player. The collective bargaining agreement between owners and players expires in 2011; does Attanasio really think the players will ever agree to cap their earnings just to even the playing field a bit?

Besides, other sports like the NFL share their television revenue. The individual teams all sup from the gigantic teat of the FOX, CBS, ESPN, and NBC money pit. The games themselves are scarce, so TV ponies up big dough for the rights to show 'em. Baseball's revenue structure is far different; each team makes their own money with their own regional sports network or local TV deal. So we should let the teams dictate their own expenses based on their incomes. If you tell the Red Sox they cannot spend more than $100 million on player salaries, how are they going to spend that $50 million surplus? Perhaps they'll redirect it towards player development costs and signing bonuses, making it even harder for Attanasio's Brewers to compete.

"I think there's a lot of owners that would like to have that right now," Oakland owner Lew Wolff said. "I think the parity is what we're looking for, and the more ways you can get to parity the better. I think it's pretty good now, but I think it could be better.

Parity? Eight different teams have won the World Series in the past 9 years. Twenty different teams have been in the playoffs in the past four years. Tampa Bay made the World Series last year with a payroll that was merely a fraction of a 100-loss Mariners team. How does a limit on payroll force parity when teams are free to make smart (and stupid!) decisions with the cash they have or don't have?

Don't cry too hard for these dudes anyway. They were partying it up at an 'exclusive mountainside resort' in Paradise Valley, Ariz, probably either the Sanctuary on Camelback (with a relaxing meditation garden!) or the InterContinental Montelucia. I doubt they're saving some cash and staying at the Knights Inn.

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Why would yo want a salary cap? God forbid the teams had an equal chance at winning.


But if we had a salary cap, what would we fans of small market teams have to bitch about?

Not having a salary cap provides better incentive for small market teams to improve their team.

It forces them to make smart decisions, and if they can better the team they have more revenue coming in, via attendance and TV revenue and then they will have the money to pick up the pieces they need to make that run.


No question they need to be a lot smarter. The problem is that say they are smart and bring along a prospect who turns out to be the real deal. After the first contract they can no longer afford him. As a small market team you need to be smart, and lucky, and that still only gets you a few years with a player.

Or you can tank for ten straight years, hoard draft picks, and then sign young players to an early undermarket deal and tie up their first few free agency years because your crack scouting division realizes their potential, a la Tampa Bay. Ask Jonah Keri. He's writing a book.

Are the Pirates done tanking yet?

Are the Pirates done tanking yet?

Brian Cashman just shit his pants

MLB will probably set the cap at 1 billion dollars though.

There are exceptions to every rule. Even if MLB devised a cap, there would be eleventy billion loopholes and workarounds. The NBA, with a moderately powerful player's union, has one of the most retarded set-ups I've ever seen. Just the idea that an injured mega-buck like Carl Pavano or Mike Hampton or Jason Giambi could ever be considered 'valuable' because of their expiring contracts make me woozy.

And, yeah, yeah, Giambi had a great year last year. Mustache mustache comeback comeback. I get it.

Anything that made baseball close to professional basketball would be enormously frowned upon. Unless FOX hires Chaz Barkley to replace Tim McCarver.

Honestly, I have no problem with the way it is; I like the luxury tax keeping the Yankees and Red Sox remotely in the same solar system as the Royals or Pirates (no 1960s-era Yankees), giving the smaller teams a little money to throw around, and letting the smart teams win from there. So small market teams have to work a little harder, and be a little smarter, and have a much thinner margin for error. Life ain't fair.

Dance teams would be nice

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