Makes you wonder, if the Red Sox were in the A.L. Central, would they be saying the same thing? Surely the Yankees obscene offseason shopping spree prompted these comments from John Henry, but he’s not the first owner to mention the possibility of a salary cap this winter — Mark Attanasio of the Brewers suggest one as well. I know we’re living in a free economic system, but the NBA has the luxury tax and cap, the NFL has a cap, and so does the NHL. The competitive balance in the latter two sports is fantastic (in the NBA it’s harder to achieve because it’s so easy for the top players to dominate the game). Not to say that small-market teams can’t compete in MLB, but there would be a much better playing field if the Indians or Brewers were able to retain C.C. Sabathia instead of seeing him go to New York. Even the Angels — one of the strongest teams in the league financially — couldn’t keep up with the Yankees’ contract offer to Mark Teixeira.
Don’t get me wrong, small-market/low payroll teams are able to shine under the current system, but they do it through a series of shrewder moves like great trades and excellent drafting. Heck, a man’s entire reputation was based on this. But if you ask all front offices, including the Twins, Marlins, and A’s — three teams that have performed admirably given their circumstances — I’m sure even they would all prefer a cap that would help build competitive balance. Now the other side of the argument, beyond the simple free economy idea, is that the Yankees and other teams pay a luxury tax and contribute a generous portion to revenue sharing. Isn’t that already a cap? Well, when they’re out spending damn near a half billion dollars in a recession, my answer would be no. All the free agents in the world won’t buy them a championship, but it gives them an improved shot at one. And count me as someone in favor of competitive balance — that’s what I’d really love to see.