As the back and forth has gone on between owners and players recently, it made me think of a topic I had thought about a lot the years leading up to the Machodo and Harper free agent years.I thought about how there was going to be a work stoppage because the free agent classes were weak and teams were not willing to pay top dollar for not top talent just because it was best available.Think about it, if you were knew next week the best steak was going to be on the market, would you pay similar price for ground beef this week, simply because the steak was not available yet?No, you would pay the market price for the ground beef, not above market, and wait for the steak.
How can the players make more money under a salary cap?Seems not possible.Since free agency started players never wanted a salary cap.They always wanted to be paid top dollar and not have some number block what they could make.They wanted a full open market.However, what players forget with all caps, comes floors.The caps are based on revenue.The players during this recent argument keep talking about the revenue the owners get that are not sharing with the players.The players claim the value of the teams go up, but the value of players contracts are not, as a whole, of course the top players are still setting new records, but the middle players and vets are making less and less.
So under current market, the owners can choose to spend as much as they want, just have to be willing to pay the tax.Nothing will stop them from spending all they want.The players agreed to a tax, which is basically a cap, but without the floor.So right now, tanking teams can load up on minor league talent, much of which are not part of their future, or on vets at league minimum because no one will pay more.Then they lose, get better drafts and load up minor league talent for a big push.Similar to Astros years ago.Those teams have not incentive of paying money for vet talent beyond minimum because they can call up a rookie to go out there and lose for less.
The owners have no incentive to bring in a competitive team if they cannot win the whole thing, and nothing requires them to sign a vet.This is because they can have a very low payroll and nothing can stop them.So when the teams actually trying to win are looking to sign a free agent, they end up bidding against themselves.I remember when J.D. Martinez was a free agent.The only team looking to sign him was the Red Sox.Of course, if the red sox offered him too low another team may have stepped in.However, when you are only team making an offer, even if the player wants more, who hold the power?The team does of course.Yes, the player can hold out asking for what he thinks he is worth, but the team can say no, and move on.The team needs to decide if the player is worth the cost compared to someone else.When a player has no one to bid against the team they talking to it is hard to get what you asking for.
So where does the cap come in?Well with the floor, teams cannot get by with bottom dollar rookies to lose with.They have to spend money on someone.Now, if they still want to manipulate the service clock, they will most likely spend that money on mid level vets that can still play, but many not be top talent on a competing club.The way it used to be.Now the bottom pay teams would have to pay more to field a team.This means more money for players.
So what about the top paid players will they lose out on some money?Maybe, depending on how the deal works out. I would think of something similar to the NBA soft cap.You allow teams to go above cap and luxary level like now, mainly if they retain their own players, or players from the last season.This would allow big pay days still and would raise the amount of vets that sign I would think.
In the NBA, there was one season where cap jumped a ton.This lead to middle of the road vets to getting huge deals.Why?The teams floor went up and they had to spend money.Now those contracts look terrible as top free agents were getting just barely more, but they have a cap on max contracts.MLB could work out different deal.The main situation is that with the floor it would take away from just running out league minimum rookies for years of tanking.The vets that are retiring, like Span, would get better offers most likely because money has to be spent.
Think of this analogy.You want to do a house reno.You think of all the things you would like to have.Get a price for it.Then you think do I need those things or can I live with less to save money.Now, someone comes along and says I will give you 100K to spend on the house reno.You think okay should I spend it all on the upgrades or go with what I can live with and pocket the rest.Some would pocket go bottom dollar and pocket rest to spend on other things not house related.But, what if the stipulation is you must spend on the house reno, then you will spend on the house reno get the things you really like, because the money will be gone either way.That is what the salary floor would be like.Teams would be told spend X amount on players or it goes to the player pool anyways and you do not get to pocket the money to spend on other things.
Of course this is a very simple break down of salary cap and floor situation.However, the open market has not seemed to be working for players.They have called for collusion of the teams not offering record deals on good but not great talent.Is that collusion, or just smart buying?To go back to steak vs beef analogy.If you were given 10 bucks to spend on meat this week and had to spend it, you would buy the beef and then spend money next week on steak.If you did not need to spend it but could save it, you would save it.
That is what the tanking teams are doing, is saving for later, but still never spending what they saved before.That is why players are mad is they are not seeing the fruits of the savings.