My proposal to fix this;
- All National revenue is equally split amongst all 30 clubs (after MLB corporate operating expenses are paid--commissioner, umps, marketing, etc.).
- The first $100M of each team's local revenue is taken by the league, and then split back out in such a way that teams still remain in the same order in terms of total revenue
- The next $50M of each team's local revenue is taken by the league at 50%, and split back out same as above
- All revenue each team earns above $150M is kept by the earning team in totality.
This system ensures smaller teams will have access to more revenue, while still encouraging the big-market teams to maximize their revenue.With this established, the below changes are implemented.
- A salary floor is established at 1/30th of 45% of the previous year's total MLB revenue (national and local, and would include any sales like MLBAM, or expansion fees, but not the purchase of existing franchises).If MLB revenue is $10B, that means the floor is 1/30th of $4.5B, which is $150M.
- A hard salary cap is established at 15% above the salary floor.At $10B in revenue, that works out to a cap of $172.5M.If every team spent to that, the salary share of revenue would be 51.8%, so splitting the difference, players would get 48.4% of all revenue (which is an increase to where they're at today).
- The salary cap and salary floor apply only to players who are either on a team's 26 man roster OR have signed a contract after their initial drafting/international signing contract
- Any team which does not meet the floor is ineligible for any form of revenue sharing
- Teams which exceed the salary cap have their first $200M of local revenue taxed at 100% (some of which will be distributed back to them), and all subsequent revenue taxed at 50%
Small teams will be forced to invest every year in players, and large teams can still spend like crazy to win a world series if they want, but the revenue hit would only be sustainable for a couple of years at most.Now for the changes to the players;
- All players enter unrestricted free agency in the offseason after the regular season during which they are 27 (even if it's only on the last regularly scheduled day of the offseason).They enter restricted free agency (any team can make any offer they want, and if the player signs, their current team has the right to match.No poison pills--RFA deals can only cover years, money, and no trade clauses.Opt-outs are not allowed in RFA deals) two offseasons before UFA.The salary for any player who has yet to reach RFA is $2M a year
- No player can account for more than 15% of a team's salary cap, no two players can account for more than 25%, no five players can account for more than 40%, and no 10 players can account for more than 60%.This is voided if MLB revises the salary cap down after a contract was signed.
This means teams have no reason to not bring players up as soon as they think they're ready, and players make more money early on.It will be much harder to assemble super teams, which means small market teams with clean balance sheets into the future will be able to offer more money than big market teams (for example, the maximum contract for a team spending to the cap in a year with $10B in revenue is $25.875M.If a team already has a player making that amount, the most they could pay another player is $17.25M, whereas a team with no player making that amount could offer it).
I think this solves the problem of everyone--small market teams get guaranteed revenue, big market teams still get to make more than the small market teams, the players get to make more money earlier, prospects get called up faster, and fans get to see 30 teams that are all going to be competing pretty much every year, since it would be hard to put together a team that would be awful, and still spend $150M or more.