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Debate: Salary cap in MLB

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Revision as of 22:15, 30 June 2010

Should a salary cap be implemented in Major League Baseball?


Background and Context of Debate:

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.



  • National Football League uses salary cap.
  • National Hockey League uses salary cap.
  • National Basketball Association uses salary cap.
  • Major League Soccer uses salary cap.




  • Implementing a salary cap in MLB is feasible.


  • Implementing a salary cap in MLB is not feasible.



  • NY Yankees illustrate absence of parity without salary cap.
  • Salary cap would create level playing field.
  • Salary cap would help small-market teams.




  • Many athletes are vastly overpaid.


Free-market economics



  • Salary cap in MLB will oppose free-market principles.

Public Opinion


  • Public opinion supports salary cap in MLB.


  • Public opinion opposes salary cap in MLB.


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