It’s Not Crazy To Suggest That Baseball Players Should Seek A Salary Cap – Forbes

There has never been a time that I could see salary caps in sports as being wholly a good thing. Leaning back on my long history of examining Major League Baseball, for over a decade I have written that the current system in place was best for the players and owners.

In many ways, this exemplifies what Forbes has been about. Free market without a lot of regulating, works.

MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark has said that the players in MLB are getting a fair cut of revenues into the league. But there’s little denying revenues are growing faster than player salaries. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

But when the players and owners reached its latest collective bargaining agreement last week, something began creeping into my thoughts that has run counter-intuitive to where I have seen MLB’s open system, but who might look to change it.

This is not a hot take. This is not crazy. But, when this new labor deal expires in 2021, what if the players, not owners, sought a salary cap in baseball?

Before you ask whether I need to get my head examined, let’s examine why this isn’t as crazy as you might think.

For years, the players have had the advantage in an open free market system. The minute free agency hit in baseball, salaries skyrocketed, much to the consternation of the owners who had a hard time looking themselves in the mirror and saying they were controlling the spigot of money. The topic of a cap in baseball was so toxic that we saw the 1994 strike that eliminated the World Series as its outcome. When I asked the late Marvin Miller, the former Executive Director of the MLBPA a few years before his death, what he thought of just a salary floor, his response was,”There already is one. It’s called the minimum salary.”

But a funny thing happened along the way: the owners have gotten not just a little bit rich, they’ve come into truck loads of revenues. In 2016 MLB saw the 14th consecutive year of record revenues, and watched them grow approx. $1 billion in just two years. The league is now approaching the $10 billion mark.


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