Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

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Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

Postby xbleed83bluex » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:03 pm

I don't know much about baseball, but I just read there is some serious "payroll inequality" among MLB teams. For example, the Yankees have a whopping 229M payroll, while the Astros only have a 24M payroll. That's a monumental difference there. That means there are likely players on the Yankees who make more than the whole Astros team!

This means, the Astros have no chance of ever beating the Yankees in a World Series unless a miracle happens. Do you think this is fair? Or should baseball be run more like the NHL, where each team is given a salary cap, and each team has a relatively equal payroll give or take a few million? This would give each team a chance.

I can't see Houston or Miami ever making enough revenue to match that of the Yankees or Dodgers. It's almost unfair, eh?

Advantages to salary cap: each team gets a relatively equal shot at the World Series and playoffs.

Disadvantages to salary cap: We won't see high-end teams equipped with lots of superstars dominate low-tier teams. (This is something I missed with the old NHL - when stacked high-salaried teams like the Avs (Forsberg, Blake, Sakic, Tanguay, Hjeduk) and Red Wings (Lidstrom, Yzerman, Hasek, Shanahan) would dominate teams like the Panthers and Wild and were fun to watch).
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Re: Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

Postby cardsfan04 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:36 am

I don't think there is a big problem yet, but I could see one coming. The Astros set an ML record last year for most net profit. Their owner made nearly $100 mil on the team. If he wanted to, he could have spent more. Not as much as the Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, etc. But, he could have spent more.

The fact that he could have spent so much more, but didn't, somewhat makes me want a salary floor, not a salary cap. One of the worst things in sports is for an owner to pocket loads of cash while fielding a shitty team with a really low payroll. While a salary floor would decrease that, I think it could actually have an adverse effect. There was nothing the Astros could have done to be competitive last year. If they tripled their payroll, they almost definitely would have been overpaying mediocre players just for the sake of having a bigger payroll, and then still been a cellar team. If mediocre players start making more across the board, decent players will too. And good and great, etc. It would just inflate salaries across the board IMO, not bring salary equality.

I'm most concerned right now about these huge media deals teams are getting. Don't get me wrong, if a team can get a huge deal, good for them. But, the Angels have a 20 year/$3Billion media deal which is somehow dwarfed by the Dodgers' 25 year/$8Billion deal. That's $320 million per year they bring in without any overhead. By comparison, the Cardinals have a $27 mil/year deal (ballpark anyway, could be off slightly). And, we're not even a small market team with bad ratings. The Dodgers could spend double our payroll and still have almost $100 mil left over from their media deal and we are fringe top 10 in payroll.

Both of those deals started in the past year or two and both teams started overpaying players immediately. If that continues to happen, it could cause a problem. But, the Angels haven't made the playoffs since they got their media deal (maybe not even finished .500). The Dodgers lost to the Cards in the playoffs. The Yankees who spend a zillion dollars every year missed the playoffs. And there has been a fair amount of parity the last decade. 17 different teams have won their division in the last 5 seasons. If you go back 10 seasons, that number goes up to 22. So, I don't see a huge problem right now. But, if these media deals skew the market, it could become a problem.
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Re: Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

Postby dmiles2186 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:01 am

The Astros are trying to turn over their roster. So while their payroll isn't very high, I recently heard an interview with Jeff Luhnow, their GM, and they're using their profits to allocate to draft picks and the international transfer market. So they're spending money on players, they're just not here yet.

I'm with cardsfan, I don't see a problem yet. A lot of teams, like the Cardinals, Rays, Royals, Pirates, etc. have seen this gap coming and they're building through drafting and developing as opposed to signing up every veteran they can find.

It would be nice to cap the spending to a degree, but in terms of parity, the MLB is up there with other leagues, surprising enough. I say this as a fan of the Cardinals, who are in good financial shape. It's gotta be tough when you are a fan of the Rays and have teams like the Red Sox and Yankees spending 2-3 times as much as your team is and you have to compete with that every year.
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Re: Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

Postby glen a richter » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:38 am

There should be a salary floor. That way scumbag dipshit assholes like Jeffrey Loria couldn't do the bullshit he does. Salary cap, though? No. What there should be is a cap on salaries all players who are found to have used banned substances. That cap should be zero dollars and a lifetime ban.

Back in the mid 90's when roller hockey was popular for about 2 years, the league had an interesting salary plan. You got paid based on how your team finished. I'm fairly sure that every player got paid the same amount. If there was a way to create a fixed pay scale based on any one players individual worth to a team (WAR, perhaps) that would be very interesting. Of course I'm talking out my ass here because that would never happen.
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Re: Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

Postby glen a richter » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:41 am

dmiles2186 wrote:The Astros are trying to turn over their roster. So while their payroll isn't very high, I recently heard an interview with Jeff Luhnow, their GM, and they're using their profits to allocate to draft picks and the international transfer market. So they're spending money on players, they're just not here yet.

I'm with cardsfan, I don't see a problem yet. A lot of teams, like the Cardinals, Rays, Royals, Pirates, etc. have seen this gap coming and they're building through drafting and developing as opposed to signing up every veteran they can find.

It would be nice to cap the spending to a degree, but in terms of parity, the MLB is up there with other leagues, surprising enough. I say this as a fan of the Cardinals, who are in good financial shape. It's gotta be tough when you are a fan of the Rays and have teams like the Red Sox and Yankees spending 2-3 times as much as your team is and you have to compete with that every year.


I think the Rays are doing quite nicely for themselves. It helps they have the smartest front office in baseball and one helluva manager. Given what he does with what he gets and the payroll they maintain, it's a travesty Joe Maddon doesn't win manager of the year every season. If only they could add a couple of offensive chips, they'd be deadly even with such a low payroll. It's ashame they consistently have amazing pitching but half their lineup can't break the Mendoza line.
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Re: Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

Postby cardsfan04 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:43 am

Loria is the worst. I'd say I don't know how he gets away with it, but I'm pretty sure he and Selig are friends. The fact that he swindled tax payer money for a new stadium and unloaded his team less than a full season into the new stadium is one of the most unethical, sleazy things I have ever seen in sports. It should be criminal. While I understand what the Astros are doing, I think what the Marlins are doing is significantly worse.

I don't really like the idea of a fixed payscale though. Part of what I like about sports is the ability of a front office to build a team. It's interesting to me to see how different teams put their rosters together with both short and longterm goals. I think a fixed payscale based on performance would take that aspect of the game away somewhat. Fangraphs does analyze this a little bit though. I don't understand exactly how they do it, but they assign a dollar value to WAR that correlates to salaries. I don't think it's as simple as total wins/total salaries though. When Yadi signed his extension, it was something like $3.1 mil/WAR.
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Re: Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

Postby glen a richter » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:33 am

The Astros and the Marlins aren't even in the same league (figuratively speaking, also). The Astros have a plan, a pipeline of very good talent and a future that looks to be really good in 2 years. The Marlins are hopeless. And as big a scumbag as Loria is, the fact is the Marlins organIzation has been a bit of a joke since the days of Wayne Huizenga. Buy a championship, then unload everyone. Few years down the line you win another championship and then unload everyone. It seems almost like Loria was attempting to follow the Huizenga blueprint when they swindled the people for the new stadium and acquired all that talent. The only part that didn't come to fruition was the WS title. So now they're back to square one and still have no fans going to their games.
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Re: Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

Postby cardsfan04 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:30 pm

Yep. I used to give them a pass because they have won 2 WS in the past ~15 years. But, let's be honest. There was a fair amount of luck involved in that. They had good teams twice. But, if we replayed the seasons from 1997-2013 over again a bunch of times, they wouldn't have won those 2 titles, on average. Don't get me wrong, those teams won them and deserved them. But, their management style experienced a bit of short term positive variance. You can't win every 5 years doing that.
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Re: Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

Postby glen a richter » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:49 pm

The 1997 team was loaded. They would win again and again and deservedly so.
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Re: Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

Postby dmiles2186 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:59 pm

glen a richter wrote:
dmiles2186 wrote:The Astros are trying to turn over their roster. So while their payroll isn't very high, I recently heard an interview with Jeff Luhnow, their GM, and they're using their profits to allocate to draft picks and the international transfer market. So they're spending money on players, they're just not here yet.

I'm with cardsfan, I don't see a problem yet. A lot of teams, like the Cardinals, Rays, Royals, Pirates, etc. have seen this gap coming and they're building through drafting and developing as opposed to signing up every veteran they can find.

It would be nice to cap the spending to a degree, but in terms of parity, the MLB is up there with other leagues, surprising enough. I say this as a fan of the Cardinals, who are in good financial shape. It's gotta be tough when you are a fan of the Rays and have teams like the Red Sox and Yankees spending 2-3 times as much as your team is and you have to compete with that every year.


I think the Rays are doing quite nicely for themselves. It helps they have the smartest front office in baseball and one helluva manager. Given what he does with what he gets and the payroll they maintain, it's a travesty Joe Maddon doesn't win manager of the year every season. If only they could add a couple of offensive chips, they'd be deadly even with such a low payroll. It's ashame they consistently have amazing pitching but half their lineup can't break the Mendoza line.


I totally agree with this. I just mean, as a fan, you know that every year you have an uphill climb because two teams in your division have an All Star or former All Star at every position and you're scratching and clawing with a mix of talent (David Price is a boss), young guys, and cheap veterans. I love Joe Maddon. He's my favorite manager in baseball. The front office has done great. They've taken a team that was a laughingstock and turned them into a 'how to' for competing with the big boys. But fact of the matter is, from the day the season starts, they're always facing the two money giants of the league.
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Re: Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

Postby cardsfan04 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:34 am

glen a richter wrote:The 1997 team was loaded. They would win again and again and deservedly so.


Yeah. That's probably true. I just mean that build a team to win, unload, rinse, repeat, won't produce a championship every 5-6 years like they were trying to do.
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Re: Should baseball/MLB have a equal salary cap!?

Postby cardsfan04 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:39 am

I found where Fangraphs explains their $/WAR idea. I'm a bit of a math geek, so I find it interesting, but I definitely wouldn't call this an exact science. He seems to make some assumptions that may or may not be accurate. Anyway, if anybody is interested, it's decently interesting. I was a little off on my $3.1 mil/win thing though. Apparently that's a dated number. I'm also not convinced that teams pay players linearly as he suggests. Kershaw just got $30+ mil/year. I think, at least for the top players, they pay them exponentially because there is a bigger loss if you lose a top player than a middle of the road guy. This was written in 2008 though, so maybe teams have adapted since then.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/win-valu ... -part-six/

It's actually part of a bigger article (or series of articles) that explains WAR fairly well. I understood the concept of WAR, but didn't really know how they calculated it. I haven't read the entire thing, but it seems to be fairly well written.

http://www.fangraphs.com/library/misc/war/
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