Baseball net fans know I am a traditionalist who has been against inter-league play and wild card teams. But hold the presses, baseball net! I’m now going to advocate that baseball be MORE like another sport.
In my wildest baseball net fantasies, I envision MLB Commissioner Bud Selig morphing into NBA Commissioner David Stern and pushing for an NBA-modeled salary cap. Baseball net fans realize that the players’ union will only support a salary cap when pigs fly, but if sweetened with some Stern-inspired incentives, they may be spouting wings sooner than we think.
Baseball net knows that MLB’s biggest problem is its lack of a level economic playing ground. Medium and small-market teams (e.g.,the Florida Marlins, several times) over have routinely unloaded high-salaried players in trades for far less than equal value, primarily minor league prospects, or simply lose them as free agents. Meanwhile, the same big media market teams ultimately end up with such stars as Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, and Josh Beckett. Are these transactions any different than Oakland owner Charles Finley’s selling Joe Rudi, Rollie Fingers, and Vida Blue during the 1976 pennant race?
Baseball net fans know that salary dumping never happens in the NBA. There, a cap has created salary slots that a team must match with players who make comparable salaries. For example, if a traded player’s salary falls into a $ 10-20 million slot, total salaries of acquired players must match that total, or no less than 20%. In return, all NBA players get a fixed percentage of total gross team revenue at the end of each season.
This would be the ideal policy for MLB: a fair, practical plan that would level each team’s playing field and provide enough incentives to compensate players in return. Baseball net should get behind this initiative.
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