Capping Competitiveness

By: Jordan Cope, Staff Writer

What is it that the NBA, NFL and NHL all have in common that keep teams competitive year in and year out?

The answer is a salary cap.

While each year in the NBA, NFL and NHL any team has the ability to go from worst to first, teams in the MLB do not.
MLB is the only major team sport in the United States that does not have a salary cap which is why it seems that the same teams remain competitive year in and year out.

Larger market teams like the Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers have the ability to spend more money because they play in larger markets.

For example, the Yankees sold 49 percent of the Yankees Entertainment Network to News Corp. in 2012 which guarantees the team $200 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization through the year 2042.

Along with ticket prices, merchandise and other ways that the team makes money, this deal will give the Yankees more money to spend in the free-agent market in the upcoming seasons.

However, smaller market teams like the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins and Pittsburgh Pirates are not able to spend as much money because they play in smaller markets and do not draw as many fans and cannot sign big television contracts.

In 2014, the Angels, Dodgers, Yankees and Rangers payroll was a combined $730,835,897 million, nearly five times the league average, according to Deadspin.

On the other hand, the Indians, Royals, Twins and Pirates 2014 payroll was a combined $338,457,312, according to Deadspin.

Here is where the problem lies.

The larger market teams are able to buy as much of their talent as possible whereas the smaller market teams have to develop their talent through their farm system which is why it can take longer to turn a team around.

Take the Baltimore Orioles, who had 14 consecutive losing seasons, as a prime example of a small market team struggling.

Before the Orioles turned things around in 2012, the team spent little money in the free-agent market and relied heavily on their farm system to produce talent.

When the Orioles farm system did not come through, the team had to give up their lone star Erik Bedard for prospects Adam Jones and Chris Tillman to have a nucleus to build their team around.

On the other hand, when the Boston Red Sox went 69-93 in 2012, the team made a splash in the free-agent market by acquiring stars Jonny Gomes, Koji Uehara, Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster, and Shane Victorino.

Coincidently, the Red Sox won the World Series the following season.

If the MLB ever wants to be like the NBA, NFL or NHL where every team has a chance to win year in and year out, they need to implement a salary cap.

The fact that the league allows teams in the bigger markets to benefit by buying all of their talent while letting teams in the smaller market have to suffer until they can build up a solid farm system makes for a predictable October year in and year out.

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