Major League Baseball: Salary Cap? No, a Salary Floor!

Richard MarshSenior Analyst IJanuary 7, 2009

I am sick and tired of all the complaints about the big-market teams spending all their money and buying a championship.

I have been hearing that nonsense since the days of Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson. My buddy Schmitters, a Phillies fan, wrote an excellent article actually defending the action of the Yankees, Mets, and other teams that are willing to spend the money to make their teams competitive.

My pet peeve has to do with the ownership of Major League Baseball teams. Every single one of them comes from a business background, where they made a 'gazillion' dollars during the last 20 years. In those 20 years, more billionaires have sprouted from the woodwork than all the previous years combined.

At that time, the chic thing to do was to purchase a team so you could tell all your friends and business associates that you owned one and they could watch the games in the luxurious owners boxes and suites. The problem with these owners is that all they believe in is the bottom line.

In business, it's all about profit and loss. If you became a billionaire, loss was never part of the plan.

So what happens? They run their teams just like a business that has already made them richer than rich. They don't take chances. They are not going to do anything that could possibly hurt the bottom line. They refuse to break even or, God forbid, lose a dime.

These people do not belong in Major League Baseball. Their teams never win, nor can they really compete. They'll waste hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new stadium but won't fill it with a couple of highly paid superstars.

By Memorial Day, they are 10 games under .500 and 16-1/2 games out of first place in their division. By the trade deadline, they're lowering their payroll some more so a profit can be made by the end of a season.

Frankly, it's a disgrace. Luckily, I have a solution.

It's quite simple. All owners must make a commitment to winning. They will have to have a minimum payroll of $100 million a year, with an increase for a cost of living every other year.

If they refuse, then they will have to relinquish their ownership to MLB until a suitable replacement can be found.

I don't want them to lose money, and they won't. Baseball is very healthy right now. Each owner with that minimum payroll would make a profit because their teams will remain in close races all season long and attendance will remain high. More concessions, more merchandise, and more visibility can only keep the coffers growing.

Owners must take the responsibility to make their team competitive every single year. 

I heard Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman say when introducing Mark Teixeira that the Yankees felt they owed their fans their commitment to contend every year. I'm not a Yankee fan by a long shot, but the fact remains that the Yankees, win or lose, will do everything that is necessary to build and keep a team winning baseball games, including spending whatever they feel is needed.

For all the fans out there who feel that baseball is unfair because of the big-spending teams, don't complain to us. Complain to the owners who don't deserve to be involved in the greatest sport in the world today.