Game Point:

Imagine a sport where everyone is, financially, on an equal level. No team has any advantage whatsoever over other teams, teams have optimistic views for the upcoming season, and fans remain interested in the sport year in and year out.

This isn’t necessarily the case for baseball, where teams that are down in the dumps usually remain there, and teams in the upper hierarchy of baseball success continue winning. Money is usually the main factor because the successful teams are usually those who can afford to have high-priced players, and the losing teams usually cannot afford to pay for them. This is why I propose that baseball should have a salary cap.

During the winter break, I sat and watched general managers of numerous baseball teams dole out serious cash to prized free agents as if money was growing out of their armpits. Teams that garner high revenue such as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox continued their usual spending spree, but teams such as the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Devil Rays remained relatively quiet.

A salary cap would have an immense impact on baseball. Naysayers may argue that a salary cap would hurt teams that generate a lot of revenue (i.e. the Yankees and the Red Sox), which may be true, but it would mean that each and every team would be on an equal level because they could only spend a certain amount on players’ salaries.

The NFL is a perfect example. Watching general managers release players to stay under the imposed $94.5 million salary cap is nothing new, but it’s a common practice reminding them of the mistakes that they made on free agent signees. Because each team has an equal spending limit, general managers must make more intelligent personnel decisions with how they spend their money. It’s successful not only because it makes the game more fair, but it also keeps the fans’ interest at a high level. Within the last seven to eight years, fans and professionals have realized that although they may have a bad team, it can make a complete turnaround within a few seasons, and sometimes in just one season because teams have learned to put more value on younger players and patience, and less on overspending on older players.

There isn’t a salary cap in baseball, but there is a “luxury tax.” It was a plan made in order to create more competitive balance where teams must pay a tax if they go over a specific spending limit. This idea has been a complete bust because it hasn’t created any balance at all. Teams such as the Yankees continue to dish out money on high priced veterans with ease, and teams such as the Oakland Athletics continually see their beloved, young stars sign with other teams. Currently, there are players whose salaries are close to the spending limit of certain franchises. The Devil Rays have a lowly cap figure of about $50 million, but the Yankees have a cap figure of a little over $200 million, a lot of it going to superstar Alex Rodriguez, who is making about $25 million a year.

If there were a salary cap, uncompetitive teams such as the Tigers would have as good a shot at signing a superstar as the Yankees would. Newly-built stadiums would no longer be empty, because fans love watching their teams when there’s an optimistic feel, and/or if their team signs a new player. Last but not least, teams would have a shot at being successful, and not in fear of being relocated to another city or being contracted.