Billion Dollar Blunder: The MLB Needs a Salary Cap

Bennett KaplanCorrespondent INovember 6, 2009

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 06:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees celebrates on a float during the New York Yankees World Series Victory Parade on November 6, 2009 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images


Benjamin Franklin was once quoted saying "A Penny Saved is a penny earned". If you were to tell this to the Steinbrenner family, they would simply grin, shake their heads, and point you toward their six world series trophy's, all won under the Steinbrenner reign.

In 2009, the Yankees rampaged through the American league, winning the American League east by 8 games, whilst winning 103 games. They eventually beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the world series, and were crowned champions of the world.

Behind the Success of the Yankees, is a very very true financial tale. The Yankees Payroll for 2009 exceed $208,000,000. The Yankees had 9 players earn more than $10,000,000 this year, and 18 players make over $1,000,000. Compare this to bottom feeding teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the numbers make a lot of sense. The Pittsburgh Pirates Payroll barely exceeded $25,000,000. Alex Rodriguez, famed Yankees 3rd basemen, makes $33,000,000 a year, which is $8,000,000 more than the Pirates use to pay their entire team.

Compare the success of the Pirates, to that of the Yankees, and it goes to show how far money can go in baseball. The Pirates have not had a winning season since 1992, while the Yankees have only had one loosing season in that same time period, and have only missed the playoffs once in the past 14 years.

This season, the Yankees invested almost $800 million into newly signed players C.C Sabbathia, and Mark Texeria. After these signings, the Yankees were almost unanimous favorites to win the World Series. A team like the Pirates, or Reds, or Indians, would not have been able to make these kinds of deals with star players, because they simply do not have the money to sign or keep this kind of talent. Teams like the Yankees come in and offer lucrative contracts, that low-budget teams are not able to hold on to their prized players.

The Yankees have all the money in the world, and can sign any talent they want, making it almost unfair competition for the other teams. If the MLB would institute a salary cap, similar to that of the NFL, more teams would be able to afford talent, and the rich teams like the Yankees would be brought back to earth a little.

If there was a spending cap in the MLB, teams would have more access to star players, because there would no longer be big budget teams taking away the star players with their lucrative contracts. Until the league institutes some sort of policy similar to the NFL, teams like the Pirates, Athletics, Reds, Indians, and Nationals, will never have any hope of success.

Take this for example. The two starting pitchers in the first game of the world series, Cliff Lee, and C.C Sabbathia, are both former Cleveland Indian Pitchers. They were stripped from the Indians, because the Indians simply did not have enough money to pay them. If there was a salary cap in baseball, the Indians might have had enough money to hold on to at least one of their star pitchers, and possibly be a competitive team.

Although Benjamin Franklin Makes a good point, until their is a salary cap in baseball, the Yankees will continue to spend, spend, and spend some more, until their is no competition left in the MLB.