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Dilemma for Yankees: a salary cap

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Some owners recently revived the idea of a salary cap. It's a dilemma for us Yankee fans: we love that the Yanks have an automatic advantage over most (if not all) teams, but for the long-term good of the game, would a cap be beneficial?

There are lots of practical problems with trying to introduce a cap. For starters, it caused the strike in 1994. The MLB Players Association is the strongest union in pro sports (causing multiple work stoppages over the years), which is the reason a cap hasn't already been instituted. How ardent would the fans and owners be? Would we be prepared to lose another World Series or an entire season (ala the NHL)?

For all the talk of how the current fiscal situation destroys parity, it's a false accusation. A greater number of teams have won titles in MLB over the past 30 years than in the NFL, which is supposedly the King of Parity.

Not to be forgotten is the free market. Is the supposed greater enjoyment of fans worth taking the freedom of occupation from ballplayers? I don't know. A Royals fans might say yes. A Yankee fan might say no. The NFL salary cap can prevent players from signing with the team they want to play for (even if the team wants them) because it would put them over the cap (e.g. Joey Porter, Derrick Ward, Alan Faneca, Reggie Torbor, etc).

I'm not totally comfortable with the MLB draft - how an amateur has to play for the team that drafts him; he has no choice as to where or who he works for. The rest of us have that choice - why shouldn't pro athletes be afforded the same right?

Another aspect is the free market of MLB, which motivates amateur athletes to pursue baseball over other pro sports. CJ Henry and Drew Henson (despite failing at baseball) are examples. Dave Winfield, CC Sabathia and (hopefully) Austin Jackson are successful examples. It's also part of the reason Latin Americans pursue baseball; the other pro sports don't allow 16-year-olds, but MLB encourages teenagers to sign into pro organizations. There's no question that the money ML teams can offer (at a younger age as well) is a prime motivating factor in bringing the best talent into baseball. Don't we enjoy watching the best athletes the world has to offer?

What would help the game more would be a salary floor. From my point of view, a bigger problem than teams 'overspending' is teams like the Marlins and Twins who 'underspend'. Their owners take the luxury taxes that the Yankees pay and pocket them instead of improving their teams. Right now, there's nothing that forces teams to spend even a single dollar on their team.

 

On the other hand, I totally understand and empathize with small market fans who go into every season having no hope whatsoever (I'm a Knicks fan afterall). Despite all the reasons listed above, I would not be totally averse to a cap. It would (probably) make things like ingenuity, management, hard work, scouting and evaluation more important than money. Let's face it: the Yankees' money allows them to take a lot of chances small market teams cannot (like sign an injury prone pitcher to a 5-year, $82.5 million deal, or sign a Quadruple-A/Japanese pitcher for $46 million!). But I'd only accept a cap if it came with a floor.