April 5, 2010
Many average Americans can't stand the fact that professional athletes are some of the wealthiest people in the US. They complain that Alex Rodriguez makes more money per game than the average Joe. The MLB is a business so I believe that the teams aren't doing anything wrong by paying their superstars eight figures per year. However, I definitely think that the MLB should put a cap on the amount a team can spend on team payroll per year.
Major League Baseball is basically an extremely large business with 30 different companies that all compete against each other for one prize every year. Obviously, the team with the best players has the highest chance of winning the World Series. The two main ways general managers develop a major league baseball team are through young player development and high spending on big name free agents. The most successful teams in baseball develop their young players very well and spend big money in the offseason on free agents.
Unfortunately, some teams have a distinct advantage over others because of money. The Yankees ($201,449,189), Mets ($149,373,987), and Cubs ($134,809,000) had the highest payrolls in 2009. These teams are located in huge cities with many baseball fans, rich owners, and large TV networks that all funnel money into their local MLB team. The Yankees, Mets, and Cubs are just a few of the "big market teams" in the MLB who can spend enormous amounts of money on the top players in the league.
The Marlins ($36,834,000), Padres ($43,734,200), and Pirates ($48,693,000) are the three teams who spent the least amount of money on payroll in 2009. These teams are located in cities that don't have much of an interest in baseball and can't seem to bring in money with large TV contracts and ticket sales. Aside from the Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays, no other team in the 2009 payroll bottom ten has been to the World Series in the last ten years. The Marlins, Padres, and Pirates will never be able to afford a player like Alex Rodriguez because half of their payroll would be spent on one player.
The best way to even out the payrolls of every MLB team would be to set a limit of how much money a team can spend on payroll each year. The limit would lower by a couple million every year until it reaches a dollar amount that almost every team could spend.
Creating a team salary cap for each team would naturally lower the average salary of each player. A limit on how much money a player can make per year would not be necessary. Teams would still be able to spend 20-25 million dollars per year on individual players, but their number of expensive players would be limited.
As a result of a team salary cap, the talent in the MLB would be much more evenly distributed. The number of bandwagon fans who follow teams like the Yankees would dramatically decrease and the overall interest in the MLB as a whole would improve.
Max Van Hollebeke is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com.