- Jul 15, 2005
If there's one thing that looks like a near certainty it's that there will be a baseball lockout or strike. The CBA has expired and both sides look dug in. Here's a bit of a recap from the off-season thread where we've been discussing the issue. So how long do you think this stoppage (if we have one) will last?
Looks like there will be a lockout if a new deal isn't agreed to by the end of the month.
Silverman in the Glob looks at the situation:
What the owners want:
The bolded would be a tough blow for fans of teams that spend money to try to win. And obviously a disaster for the players. So I wouldn't be surprised if Tony Clark agreed to it.
What the players want:
No mention of actually wanting to tie the luxury tax to the game's revenues. NFL, NBA, and NHL salary caps are tied to revenues. Doesn't look like either side is looking at doing the same for baseball.
In MLB, player's share of revenues dropped from 57% in 2015 to 54% in 2018.
I have no idea how that has changed since the pandemic hit, but I doubt it's increased.
nd Like I have said about 10 times this season, the so called “Luxury tax” is a salary cap just with a different name. There is a reason the Sox and the Yankees and the dodgers rarely if ever go above the highest threshold since that idiocy was implemented. The penalties for doing so are drastic that it can cripple a franchise for constantly going over. And that’s not even getting to the asinine caps on draft spending and the penalties for exceeding those as well. I mean we all saw how the Yankees and Sox spent in FA when those rules were not in place.
Mlb should be more worried about the cheap-ass owners who not only don’t spend money but don’t give a shit about fielding a competitive team. Those types of owners are bad for the game and are the ones who need to be “punished” Not the ones who actually want to spend money to field a team.
$180 million is a negotiating point. Happy to make a Jimmy Fund bet that we don’t see that as a rule.
The proposed $100 million salary floor is interesting. Looking at Spotrac (not sure if there's a better source), 12 teams were under that threshold for 2021, some by just a few million (e.g. Milwaukee, at $97.4 million), some barely halfway there (e.g. Cleveland, at $50.2 million). If you add up the total shortfalls by those 12 teams, that's an extra $284.5 million that would be going into players' direct deposits if each team spent up to the floor, which works out to about 7% of the ~$4 billion in total player salaries league-wide this year. That may not be worth accepting in exchange for what amounts to a fixed salary cap, and fighting for a defined percentage of revenue may well be the better path, but that's real money going from the owners to the players.
The devil is in the details, of course. How would the floor be tracked, on a rolling basis or an annual basis? What are the penalties for falling below, would it be just a payout of the difference to the team's current players, or would it be more punitive, like docking draft picks or reduction in revenue sharing income for repeated failures to meet the floor? The MLBPA would probably prefer something that incentivizes teams to go out and participate in the free agent market, driving up salaries for everyone, so the nature of the penalties beyond just a make-up payment would be a point of contention as well due to the potential knock-on effects.
EDIT: I should probably also do the analysis for the reverse, the teams that are over the proposed $180 million number. That's a total of 7 teams, ranging from crazy over the line (Dodgers, $267.2 million) to the barely over (Angels, at $180.35 million), for a total overage of $153.5 million. Assuming no team spent over $180 million nor under $100 million, that's a net increase in player salaries of $131 million, amounting to an increase of about 3.23% to total player salary. Again, not better than tying spending to revenue, but better than status quo.
EDIT 2: Looking at the Spotrac chart again, that appears to be just for the 26-man roster. Changing the drop-down menu to "Luxury Tax Allocations" and using the "Luxury Tax Payroll" column to presumably get full 40-man payrolls (not sure if it's going by actual salary or AAV), the numbers are very different: 5 teams under $100 million by a combined $131.2 million, 9 teams above $180 by a combined $278.2 million. From that perspective, looks like a worse deal for the players.
So the question is, in the salary cap/luxury tax era, as one collective bargaining agreement expired and negotiations began on the next one, has there been a case where owners have publicly demanded that players accept a lower salary cap than existed in the previous CBA? I'm not asking whether they've demanded a lower percentage of growth over the previous salary cap/luxury tax. I'm asking whether they have said, The salary cap in the just-expired CBA was X. In the new CBA we want it to be Y percent lower than X.
Again, there may be multiple examples of this kind of thing but I am unaware of them. I’m banging this drum because I wonder what this seemingly radical stance augurs for the stand-off to come. As I posted earlier, MLB broadcast revenues are estimated to be up significantly, from both national and regional outlets. We know that franchise valuations have continued to grow rapidly. The game appears to be flush with cash. Can the players accept making not just a lower percentage of those growing revenues but fewer actual dollars in their paychecks?