Call it complaining because I root for a mid-to-small market team if you want, but I think it is time for Major League Baseball to consider implementation of a salary cap. As payrolls reach into the $170 million-$200 million range with the Dodgers leading the way at $242 million at the beginning of the 2017 season, it is becoming ever so clear that something needs to change in the way to team structure in baseball.
Now, granted, the Houston Astros did win the 2017 World Series while having the 18th highest payroll in the league but if you go back through the last few World Series’, more time than not the winners are in the top half when it comes to payroll.
The Cubs had the 6th highest in 2016, the Giants were 7th in 2014, the Red Sox were 4th in 2013, the Giants were 8th in 2012, St. Louis was 11th in 2011, and the Giants were 10th in 2010. The one outlier is the 2015 Royals who were 16th in payroll size, just outside of the top half of the league.
However, adding a salary cap would not always add parity to the winners of the World Series. If you look at the winners of the Stanley Cup since the 2004-2005 lockout, the Penguins and Blackhawks have both won three times, and the Kings have won twice. The parity comes in the form of the Hurricanes, Ducks, Red Wings, and Bruins all winning one in that span.
If you look at the NBA in the same timeframe, the Heat have won three times, the Spurs, Lakers, and Warriors won twice, and the Celtics, Mavericks, and Cavaliers won once. Along with that, outside of the Mavericks and the 2007 Spurs, every other team was either first or second in their conference.
As for the NFL, in that same span of time, the Steelers, Patriots, and Giants won twice while the Saints, Packers, Ravens, Seahawks, Colts and Broncos all won once. In terms of the actual champion, the NFL seems to have the most parity out of the three I just listed.
Now, let us look at the MLB in that span of time. The Giants have won three times, the Cardinals and Red Sox have won twice, and the Royals, Astros, Phillies, Yankees and Cubs have all won once so there is an argument to be made, in terms of champions, that the MLB has parity as well.
My main point in all of this, however, is the amount of competition in each league. Right now, the Patriots have just as much money to use on their team as the Browns: $168 million. With the Patriots, they have been smart in where they allot that money while teams like the Eagles, in the Chip Kelly years, were not. It also means that the Vegas Golden Knights have as much buying power as the Pittsburgh Penguins or that the Sacramento Kings are able to spend as much as the Golden State Warriors.
With that, let us use the Warriors as an example. The Warriors main core of guys is Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant. All but one of those guys was drafted by the team, and it was Durant. Durant took less money to be on a team he felt he could make even better and help lead to more championships, which he did in the 2016-2017 season.
Now, some might argue that this is not fair as well because they are still a super team despite having to play under a salary cap. But, who could have guessed that the Warriors would have drafted three All-Stars in the span of four years? Hell, Draymond Green was a second round pick and the Warriors selected Harrison Barnes in the first round; a good player but nowhere as good as Draymond Green.
You just cannot account for certain things like that. We can even look 40 miles south in D.C. where the Wizards drafted John Wall in 2010, Bradley Beal in 2012 and have recently extended both of them because most of their other players are on smaller contracts, like role players, or people still on their rookie deal like Kelly Oubre, Jr. Along with that, Wall’s extension does not start until the 2019-2020 season and players like Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat, and Tomas Satoransky will be off the books.
I would like to see something like this happen in Major League Baseball. There are reports now that guys like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper might be offered contracts worth $300 million or even more. With incentives, sponsorship deals, and other ways players make money outside of their actual salary, they will not be completely worse off if baseball were to adapt a salary cap. Sure, the player’s association would never vote in favor of one so the idea will probably never come up or get any footing in any serious matter.
In a MASN live video on Facebook, Dan Duquette said “[the Yankees and Red Sox] trump the market with their resources.” later saying that “the rich get richer” in regards to Stanton accepting a trade to the Yankees.
In a world where there is a salary cap in baseball, would that kind of contract for Stanton exist to where it created budget problems with the Marlins and force a trade in the first place? Or would he just sign with the Yankees for less in the offseason after his arbitration was done in Miami anyway? There are millions of possibilities in that aspect and it can be interesting to think about.
I personally think the idea of a salary cap in Major League Baseball would be a good one. It would allow for better competition during the regular season which could lead to some teams that may not get anywhere close to the postseason now have a shot at making it in.