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Debate: Salary cap in MLB

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Should a salary cap be implemented in Major League Baseball?

Background and context

In professional sports such as baseball, a salary cap is a limit on the amount of money a team can spend on player salaries. The limit exists as a per-player limit or a total limit for the team's roster, or both. Several sports leagues have implemented salary caps, both as a method of keeping overall costs down, and to ensure parity between teams so a wealthy team cannot entrench dominance by signing many more top players than their rivals. Salary caps can be a major issue in negotiations between league management and players' unions, as they are designed to restrict the inflation of player salaries.
Currently, Major League Baseball uses a luxury tax, an arrangement by which teams whose aggregate payroll exceeds a certain figure (determined annually) are taxed on the excess amount. The tax is paid to the league, which then puts the money into its industry-growth fund. As of the 2009 season, only four teams have paid any luxury tax. Proponents of a salary cap argue that teams with consistently high payrolls including the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have traditionally secured high numbers of playoff berths, while teams with low payrolls such as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays have only made the playoffs once combined over the past decade. Opponents of the salary cap fear it will disrupt the free market system, by prohibiting teams with high payrolls from purchasing players at will. The debate below will focus on the pros and cons of implementing a salary cap in Major League Baseball.
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History

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Pro

  • National Football League uses salary cap.
  • National Hockey League uses salary cap.
  • National Basketball Association uses salary cap.
  • Major League Soccer uses salary cap.
  • "Salary cap in MLB will oppose free-market principles." the term "free-market principles" is being presented as a scientific theorem rather than an ideology without supporting evidence. "free-market principles", in the context of human economic history are relatively new and the predictive power of economics as a discipline (it really has no right to be called a science yet) is incredibly weak. a recent example of the catastrophic failure of "free-market principles" to create the balance or stability implied by the author on the other side are the events of 2008, when the US government had to bail out key players in the financial industry who were on the verge of collapse after having pursued "free-market principles" with great vigour.


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Con

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Feasibility

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Pro

  • Implementing a salary cap in MLB is feasible.
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Con

  • Implementing a salary cap in MLB is not feasible.
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Parity

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Pro

  • NY Yankees illustrate absence of parity without salary cap.
  • Salary cap would create level playing field. [...] "The basic idea behind the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1914 was to prevent unfair business acts that create an unfair marketplace such as monopolizing. Not that any team has created a monopoly in MLB, not even the Yankees. But there is a clear disparity between the 30 teams. And with such a large disparity comes unfair advantages for big spenders."
  • Salary cap would help small-market teams.
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Con

  • Having deep pockets does not necessarily win championships. [...] "The success of small-market teams in recent years has added fuel to the anti-salary cap side. The Devil Rays, Rockies and Marlins have all made World Series appearances in the past decade despite having payrolls in the bottom half of the league."
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Morality

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Pro

  • Many athletes are vastly overpaid.
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Con

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Economics

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Pro

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Con

  • Salary cap in MLB will oppose free-market principles. [...] "An owner who wants to pay Barry Zito $126 million over seven years should damn well be allowed to do so. It's their right as an American citizen. There should be no limit to the amount of money a team can spend on a player's salary in our free market society."
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Public Opinion

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Pro

  • Public opinion supports salary cap in MLB.
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Con

  • Public opinion opposes salary cap in MLB.

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