Friday, January 14, 2011

Why a Salary Cap in Baseball Would be Ridiculous

Two things happened today that made me want to write about the salary cap in the MLB. For one, the Yankees are paying Rafael Soriano $35 million for three years to be their set up man. And secondly, Minnesota just signed Jim Thome to a one year contract worth $3 million plus incentives. Oh that Jim Thome. The one who hit .283 with 25 homers in just 276 at bats.


Well, the idea of a salary cap in baseball has been kicked around by fans for quite a while now. With the offseason the Red Sox just had who can blame those who support it. OK fair enough. But I'm going to break down three reasons why things are fine the way they are. 

1. People complain about the Yankees and the way they callously overspend year after year, on players that, let's face it, WOULD NEVER MAKE THAT MUCH MONEY PLAYING ELSEWHERE. That's right I'm looking at you Derek Jeter. Would any team have shelled out $51 million for a player who is clearly in his decline? That's right. The answer is no. But we all knew Mr. November was going to sign with the Yankees. And we also knew that they could afford him. But therein lies the problem with the Yankees. They spend vast amounts of money on players that wouldn't make nearly as much playing elsewhere. So when you complain about the Yankees spending, just sit back and relax, because in the next few years they are going to be in hell. Alex Rodriguez is in decline, same with Jeter, their outfield is laughable compared to other teams, and they just spent $35 million on Rafael Soriano to be their set up man. So we can't complain about the Yankees and their riches anymore. They don't know how to spend their money. When you complain about the Yankees just remember that Alex Rodriguez will be making $20 million in 2017.

Martin Scorsese is that you?

2. So we covered the posterboys for the salary cap in baseball talk. Now lets look at the posterboys of the draft. The Tampa Bay Rays. Who will always be the Devil Rays in my heart. Last year the Rays spent $72,323,471 on payroll. That's 19th in the league! Yes, this is the same team that won the AL East last season. This is the same team that has more draft picks by the second round in the upcoming draft than the Detroit Tigers have, until the TENTH ROUND! This is an organization that's Triple-A team can probably smoke the Pittsburgh Pirates. Teams like the Rays and to a lesser extent the Blue Jays are what I call asset collectors. They build up on prospects, use those prospects to make trades, or let the prospects carry the team to a World Series berth (Evan Longoria comes to mind). So the Rays were perennial losers up until 2008 when they made it to the World Series. And coming off a season in which they won 96 games, they lost Soriano, Carl Crawford, Matt Garza and Carlos Pena, among others. In the MLB you get picks back when a Type A free agent signs with another team, so yes, look forward to more years in which the Rays are right back in the playoffs and maybe even the World Series.

3. Remember I mentioned the Minnesota Twins before? That brings me to my third point. The Twins got Jim Thome on a bargain. An absolute bargain for a guy who hit 25 homers the year before. Teams can take notes from the Twins. Any team in the AL could have had Thome. He was one of the best designated hitters last season. But the Twins got him for a bargain. The Blue Jays have been notorious for this the past few seasons as well. The Jays signed Marco Scutaro to a bargain deal, he performed well, and signed with the Red Sox after his breakout season. The Jays got draft picks back. The Jays also traded Brandon League for Brandon Morrow last year. And look how that turned out. Morrow had 178 strikeouts last season and cost the Jays $400 000. Sometimes teams need to make decisions on low risk guys. They might turn into a gem. Or you could be like the Yankees and overpay guys. But hey, how many playoff appearances have the Jays had in the last ten years? Maybe I'm just bitter.

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