View Full Version : One more proposed "fix" to baseball.

02-01-2012, 06:35 PM
A few threads and articles have suggested various ways to "fix" MLB lately... I have a suggestion that I have not seen discussed.

I think the greatest danger facing MLB is the current regime of the haves and the have nots... certain teams have the budget to be competitive three out of every four years, where as others must shoot for one out of every four years. I do not think this is sustainable.

Since a salary cap does not look like an option, the owners and players have settled on a luxury tax. The problem with this solution is that it creates resentment in fans who believe that their owner does not care about winning and is keeping his payroll at the bottom to rake in free money from the contenders. (True or not, that perception is there.)

I think the new FA compensation program shows how the luxury tax should go as well. The teams with the highest payrolls should surrender draft picks and/or 40 man roster slots to those with the smallest rather than, or in addittion to cash.

Think about it... small market teams have to focus on devleoping players internally since they do not have the cash to go out and sign the high dollar free agents. Sure, there are teams like Tampa that do that very well for a while, but over time the cash resources of the big dogs will win out. Why not balance the playing field by giving the have-nots more options to work with?

The problem is making this palatable for the players to sign off on.

I am not sure of the specific details, but I was thinking something along the lines of:

- Top 10 teams for salary in the current year surrender their first round pick for the following year.
- Teams that exceed a certain dollar figure of salary also lose one or more 40 man roster slots for one calendar year (depending on how much they exceed the max).
The bottom ten teams for salary then "bid" at auction on the surrendered picks and roster slots. Their bids are in percentage increases to their respective payrolls for the upcoming year. For example, if the Yankees surrender their 1st round pick, the Pirates could "bid" that they will increase their payroll numbers by 3% if they receive the pick. The Royals could then counter with a 4% increase in salary. (The same percentage increase could not be used to pay for more than one pick... if the owner fails to actually show the increased salary percentage... they lose their first round pick + more the following year). One more thing... there would be a minimum opening bid to secure a pick... say at 3 percent increase.

I think the players will like it because it creates an incentive for broad based spending accross the league. This is not enough of a disincentive for the "haves" like NYY or Boston to try to lower their payrolls to escape the top ten, but it should be enough incentive to convince a Pittsburgh to increase payroll because they get an immediate return on their investment. Currently have-not owners have a financial incentive to keep payrolls as low as possible to qualify for more "luxury tax" money. The "have" owners resent this and want proof that the money is being spent to build baseball. This ensures that the team they surrender picks to will be the one that is willing to pony up more cash. Further, since the only way to secure the extra picks is to increase payroll, it prevents teams from continually lurking at the bottom in order to gain the advantage.

The fans will like it because it will cause a legitimate leveling of the playing field. Yes, the have-nots will still lose their stars once they run out of arbitration years, but under this system, the have-nots will have a greater opportunity to restock quicker.

My impetus for this idea was the NYY "core of four". It seems just wrong that the Yankees should have the same access to the amateur talent as the have-nots while having far greater access to the free agent market. The benefit of home grown talent is also financial. Free agents are never as popular with the fan base as home grown talent. That financial boon in fan support should be redirected to the teams that need it most.

I know there are lots of issues in the eaches.. but what are your thoughts about the concept generally?

02-01-2012, 07:02 PM
Interesting proposal, but it would radically shift the shape of baseball in unintended ways.

Really big market teams (Yankees, Dodgers), after losing their best source of prospects, suddenly have less incentive to spend on their minor league affiliates and scouts. Instead, the entire focus turns to attracting the big names with facilities, big-name managers, etc. In a sense, they have to become an entirely different type of business from the rest of the league in order to sustain their business. Semi-large market teams (Cardinals, Braves) are going to resent losing that #1 pick every year, and again you have a problem with fan perception whenever those teams stop short of making a big signing. Truly small market teams can't sustain increased payroll, so the bids will be monopolized from year to year by a team like the Marlins, who can swallow up the bids and then take on some heftier contracts at the same time.

I'm not saying that it can't be done, but you're opening up a can of worms here.

02-02-2012, 02:37 AM
I love the thoughts but I think there are some complications which might not ever be resolved. The one thing that I would like to add is the "Amnesty Clause" which was added to the NBA new CBA. A couple of things that would help make it applicable:

1. All the top ten payrolls can not have a player qualified for the amnesty list (based off of 2011: Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox, Angels, White Sox, Cubs, Mets, Giants, Twins, Tigers)

2. Teams can use it once every 7 years and the player must be in the last year of his contract

3. It cannot be used on any contract longer than 6 years (prevents teams from ridiculous 9 and 10 year contracts)

4. Any player claimed on the Amnesty Waiver will be paid as follows: 50% buy former team, 35% buy new team, 15% by MLB (use money from the luxury tax).

5. Teams bid on the player by percentages offered to be paid towards their contract (former team must pay 50%, new team must pay minimum of 35% but can go up to 50%).

6. The money owed by the former team is not applied to that year's payroll.

7. The deadline is before the free agency period begins so needs can be filled. The waiver period however is a lot longer than usual, say 18 days.

8. If the player is not claimed, he is free to sign with whom ever but is not allowed to sign a minor league deal until after spring training. This prevents teams from not bidding on a waiver player to sign them to a minor league deal because they are already getting paid.

Obviously, some kinks need to be fixed but I don't what it could be. I think it will work because players are still getting paid, small market teams are given a chance to make those risky long term contracts and fan bases won't blame owners/GM for not dishing out money for superstars like Votto.

Our example for 2012, Rolen could be placed on the "Amnesty List". We could sign Aramis Ramirez to replace Rolen at 3B and hit 4 hole between Votto and Bruce. Use Francisco as additional trade bait to upgrade LF or SP. Now I don't know if that would have been the best use but I think since we are going for it in 2012 it would be.

02-02-2012, 09:21 AM
I would like to see a modified Japanese posting system go into effect. If a team signs a Type A free agent, the losing club not only gets draft picks but cash. Maybe something like 5 or 10% of whatever the contract is. After all, the losing club not only loses talent but they also lose all the costs associated with developing that talent. The losing club also has to have money to sign the additional first-round draft choice(s). If a small-market club only has X amount of dollars set aside for the draft, all the high draft choices in the world does not help them if they can't sign them.

02-02-2012, 09:34 AM
this is one of the best ideas I have ever heard in terms of changing the game from the financial aspect....are there downsides to it such as teams not wanting to spend on farm systems? sure...but there are tons of downsides to the current luxury tax that teams spend.....so I dont see why teams should not at least put this on the docket to discuss at next years winter meetings...or even this years spring training gatherings that almost all general managers have.....

20 years ago Baseball was Americas game, no doubt about that...back when the Reds were not on TV as much, I would find out the dates that they were on TV and my family and I would make a whole event out of it...invite people over, cook out, and turn it into a party almost....nowadays, the Reds are on TV every game so its not a big deal, but still the need for excitement for every game is in the dumps....I see my own kids fall victim to it each year...get excited in March, April and May, then forget about the Reds till August or September......

I dont know if its a coincidence or not, but 15-20 years ago is about the time that Baseball started getting contracts out of whack and big market teams started spending absurd amounts of money on contracts....Football has now taken over as America's game and I dont see Baseball catching up anytime soon....is it because Football forces teams to be equal in terms of how much they spend to win? is it because of Fantasy Football bringing more fans to the game?

I used to be neighbors with a Pirates fan back in the days of Dave Parker, he got just as excited about the Pirates as he did the Eagles....nowadays he could care less about the Pirates...his claim is they will never amount to the Yankees, NEVER.....so why should he care...and he makes a good point...Low market teams just simply are never going to compete on a year in and year out basis....sure you will have teams make a run for a few years such as the Twins, Rays and Marlins.....but they are never going to do it each and every year....In football, when your team sucks, you can blame the players....or the coach....but you cannot blame the Owner cause he has spent the same amount of money as the Patriots.....

I am not saying this idea would work perfectly but its the best I have ever heard....make these teams that spend tons of money pay for it terms of draft picks....force them to make a choice...not just open to books and spend freely....

When the owner of the Yankees, George S, was asked about signing ARod to a contract and forcing them to pay more in lux tax, George laughed and said although he did not agree with paying the tax, it was chump change and he would do it 7 days a week 365 days a year if it meant getting a player like ARod......and he is correct...the Lux tax is not hurting these teams and its barely helping the lower level teams...

great idea Briscoe, you deserve a like button

02-02-2012, 02:47 PM
I like it however i can't see any owners wanting a system like this escpeaicly the top ten payroll owners because they will be missing out on alot of trade chips so they will just go and dominate on the Latin american and Asian markets even more than they already do.