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New CBA - What's good for the game


8 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

The fans don't have to lose.  Each side has proposed certain changes.  Not all of them hurt the fans.

The owners have proposed ....

Expanded Playoffs.  Some fans don't like this but it would not be on the table if fans did not want to watch additional playoff games and we saw from the test season that it created more interest for fans of several teams. 

Universal DH.  Same thing.  Some fans will hate it but I think the majority find this a win.

Moving up free agency based on age.  Very nice for a subset of players.  No benefit to owners and a modest loss for fans in small markets but overall not a big impact. 

An increase in the league minimum.  Net gain for players.  I see this as relatively inconsequential for owners and completely inconsequential to fans.

Draft Lottery - Small win for fans

The players have proposed ....

Less revenue sharing and an increase in the luxury tax would be a big win for a few teams.  Obviously, it's a detriment to the fans of all of the other teams to varying degree depending on their relative revenue. 

Players have proposed to reduce the time to free agency although there are conflicting reports as to the actual demand.  This would benefit large market teams to the detriment of small teams and their fans.  The relative degree would depend on specific terms.

Changes to Super-two eligibility.  A win for players.  Relatively meaningless to fans.

I would say it's quite clear the fans would suffer some losses if the players prevail.  I see absolutely no detrimental affect for fans in anything the owners have suggested.  Actually, I some of their proposed changes are a modest win for fans although the expanded playoffs are probably a fairly significant win for fans of all of those teams that remain in the playoff race.

I don't think improving parity is essential.  However, the disparity has reached a point where furthering it would be detrimental to the game and certainly detrimental to the fans in mid and small markets.

Well, that's certainly a curated list you put together there. Funny how things like age-based free agency and the universal DH are under the "owners" category when they're the ones who will leverage those two things against other things that benefit ownership.

I also noticed you completely excluded the players' focus on de-incentivizing tanking, which makes the owners a boatload of money and is really bad for the sport and its fans.

Frankly, how do you not see just how skewed your viewpoint is here? You're literally crediting the owners with things they'll agree to but don't actually want because those things cost ownership more money. They're open to negotiate on those points but you can't possibly believe they won't be asking for a pound of flesh in return for it.

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17 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

The Milb wage is unfortunate and it’s not all that hard to fix.  The current arrangement is great for a very small percentage of the players.  Those players get this big money based on the assumption they will someday be great.  If that happens, they will make a boatload of money so why do we pay them millions before they prove anything? 

What if most of the bonus money was distributed in salary instead of going to a select few? I built a financial model to test this theory.  Using a max bonus of $1M for the 1/1 pick, and dropping the amount by 2% per pick, the bonus at the end of round 5 is $36K.  Rounds 6-10 get 30K, and 25K for the remaining rounds.  This would allow the teams to increase salary by around $60K/year.  Maybe it would be an additional $50K for A, $50K for A+, $60K for AA, and $80K for AAA.

As bean 5302 pointed out, the revenue disparity is just too large to make it feasible to have an NFL type model.  The difference between top and bottom in MLB is almost 3X.  With the exception of the Patriots and Cowboys, the NFL teams are all within $100M or each other.  The players are seeking a reduction in revenue sharing and a substantial increase in the luxury tax threshold so there is no way they accept a hard cap.  It's hard to see how we escape this without revenue disparity increasing so decreasing the disparity seems impossible.

Why does the time to free agency need to drop?  I see no benefit to the game.  Actually, I can't see any way it's not a detriment as it will put smaller market teams at an even greater disadvantage.  Why should the fans of mid and small market teams suffer?  The money to pay payers comes from fan not owners.  Why should we want changes that result in us losing players earlier?  The owners age based proposal seems like a decent compromise.   The players reaching free agency before the proposed age are extremely well compensated.

You're right that MiLB wages aren't hard to fix. They haven't been hard to fix for decades too, and that's what sad. No one seems to care about fixing them, and the cost per MLB team is that of a utility player to do it if they took it on themselves. It's definitely fixable and there are a number of ways to do it.

But on to the other parts, that disparity is essentially the big problem as there's a huge competitiveness problem. As I said before, I'm close to being done with baseball. Why? Because it's really hard to get excited for a season when you know your team has a razor thin margin of error in order to succeed. The deck is stacked against small and mid market teams, and while they can compete, as Tampa has shown, it's usually the same big teams in the mix every single season. The Yankees are not some spectacularly run team. They are a team with a huge competitive advantage due to the structure of the game that they can exploit. You ask why fans of mid and small market teams should suffer. I'm not sure where you're going with that b/c where I stand, they already are suffering. While it definitely isn't the only one, It's one of several reasons why baseball is not gaining younger fans. My son likes baseball, but he's not watching it much, and a big reason for that is that his dad isn't either.

Back to the economic disparity, big market teams aren't going to vote for anything that changes their revenue to the extent that it needs to change in order to fix the competitive issues. Approximately half the league is going to see a reduction in revenue in some way if we fix them. For the teams near the median, you may get their vote since they can see a bigger picture ROI, but you won't see either New York team, the Cubs, Dodgers, Angels, or Red Sox voting for it, and right there you've just about killed a new CBA that fixes the game. You have a similar problem on the player side, as those there couldn't care less about minors wages anymore... some might, but most won't. Most care more about the fact that analytics has vastly shortened playing careers. MLB is a bit different from other sports in that most players are going to spend several years in the minors at which point they have 6ish years of team control, only the last 2 do they really start to make money. It's a pretty crappy situation for them. In the NFL, you play immediately and have 4-5 years (though you cannot get drafted out of HS)... NBA is similar except that you have to do 1 season in college. That's a lot less time needed to get a second contract and their service time on the first contract is lower that MLB. So yeah, I don't think there's a scenario where the players don't get a concession here, and they're wise to push it.

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16 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

Expanded Playoffs.  Some fans don't like this but it would not be on the table if fans did not want to watch additional playoff games and we saw from the test season that it created more interest for fans of several teams. 

I don't think improving parity is essential.  However, the disparity has reached a point where furthering it would be detrimental to the game and certainly detrimental to the fans in mid and small markets.

Expanded playoffs are a net loss if you're interested in seeing the two best teams in the World Series. It's a net gain if you want to watch mediocre teams play game 163 after the regular season is over.

What disparity? The disparity of only having 20 different teams make the playoffs in the last 3 seasons?

I get that some people like the NHL/NBA model of "everyone makes the playoffs" but honestly I completely ignore the NBA until the Finals. 

What is glaring about ALL of these suggestions is that NONE of them address problems with the game that are relevant to fans. We need more action and less waiting. Their response is "How about more playoffs? We stand around and do nothing even longer then! Plus, we guarantee the games will start late enough that you won't be able to watch them until the end!"

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If they do expand playoffs then they really don't need to make ANY changes to improve parity. Seriously, if your favorite team can't put together a .500 ballclub every so often they just aren't trying.

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19 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

The Milb wage is unfortunate and it’s not all that hard to fix.  The current arrangement is great for a very small percentage of the players.  Those players get this big money based on the assumption they will someday be great.  If that happens, they will make a boatload of money so why do we pay them millions before they prove anything? 

What if most of the bonus money was distributed in salary instead of going to a select few? I built a financial model to test this theory.  Using a max bonus of $1M for the 1/1 pick, and dropping the amount by 2% per pick, the bonus at the end of round 5 is $36K.  Rounds 6-10 get 30K, and 25K for the remaining rounds.  This would allow the teams to increase salary by around $60K/year.  Maybe it would be an additional $50K for A, $50K for A+, $60K for AA, and $80K for AAA.

 

I like this model in theory.  My concern with this is there are a lot of top of 1st round players who two sport athletes and would the lower bonuses drive them away from entering the MLB draft and go to play the other sport or decide to go play baseball and the other sport (usually football) in college?  Going to college and getting an education is a good thing, but I think a lot players, even top 10 guys know their chances of being a star in the Majors is not great.  Tons flame out.  But it's nice to know if you flame out after after 5 years in the Minors with and a few years of being a fringe MLB player that you still have that $5M bonus sitting in your bank account while you decide to do with the rest of your life.  That same guy may still be a top 10 guy after going to college and decide to enter the draft but they may decide they have a more lucrative career as an NFL QB.

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2 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Well, that's certainly a curated list you put together there. Funny how things like age-based free agency and the universal DH are under the "owners" category when they're the ones who will leverage those two things against other things that benefit ownership.

I also noticed you completely excluded the players' focus on de-incentivizing tanking, which makes the owners a boatload of money and is really bad for the sport and its fans.

Frankly, how do you not see just how skewed your viewpoint is here? You're literally crediting the owners with things they'll agree to but don't actually want because those things cost ownership more money. They're open to negotiate on those points but you can't possibly believe they won't be asking for a pound of flesh in return for it.

You have a point on the universal DH.  I am not sure if either side has proposed the universal DH.  I had the impression from numerous radio shows that both sides want it.  The Owners to liven up the game and the players because it adds high paying jobs.  Perhaps that should probably go under things both sides want.  Both sides have proposed amendments to free agency.

However, if you want to put the DH and free agency on the player’s side or position in whatever manner you like.  What exactly are the owners asking players to give up that they have now?  What is this pound of flesh?  The owners are not asking for anything in return.  There is no give and take here. They simply are not giving them everything they have asked for and as previously discussed, the other things they are asking for is detrimental to the game and fans of most teams.

Perhaps more importantly, how do these proposals of both sides impact fans.  That's where this was heading.  The owners proposals are all positive for fans.  Please feel free to point out any that are harmful.  We can't say the same for the players proposals.
 

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On 1/7/2022 at 12:14 PM, diehardtwinsfan said:

You're right that MiLB wages aren't hard to fix. They haven't been hard to fix for decades too, and that's what sad. No one seems to care about fixing them, and the cost per MLB team is that of a utility player to do it if they took it on themselves. It's definitely fixable and there are a number of ways to do it.

But on to the other parts, that disparity is essentially the big problem as there's a huge competitiveness problem. As I said before, I'm close to being done with baseball. Why? Because it's really hard to get excited for a season when you know your team has a razor thin margin of error in order to succeed. The deck is stacked against small and mid market teams, and while they can compete, as Tampa has shown, it's usually the same big teams in the mix every single season. The Yankees are not some spectacularly run team. They are a team with a huge competitive advantage due to the structure of the game that they can exploit. You ask why fans of mid and small market teams should suffer. I'm not sure where you're going with that b/c where I stand, they already are suffering. While it definitely isn't the only one, It's one of several reasons why baseball is not gaining younger fans. My son likes baseball, but he's not watching it much, and a big reason for that is that his dad isn't either.

Back to the economic disparity, big market teams aren't going to vote for anything that changes their revenue to the extent that it needs to change in order to fix the competitive issues. Approximately half the league is going to see a reduction in revenue in some way if we fix them. For the teams near the median, you may get their vote since they can see a bigger picture ROI, but you won't see either New York team, the Cubs, Dodgers, Angels, or Red Sox voting for it, and right there you've just about killed a new CBA that fixes the game. You have a similar problem on the player side, as those there couldn't care less about minors wages anymore... some might, but most won't. Most care more about the fact that analytics has vastly shortened playing careers. MLB is a bit different from other sports in that most players are going to spend several years in the minors at which point they have 6ish years of team control, only the last 2 do they really start to make money. It's a pretty crappy situation for them. In the NFL, you play immediately and have 4-5 years (though you cannot get drafted out of HS)... NBA is similar except that you have to do 1 season in college. That's a lot less time needed to get a second contract and their service time on the first contract is lower that MLB. So yeah, I don't think there's a scenario where the players don't get a concession here, and they're wise to push it.

I think you are pretty much spot on.  I hate to admit it but I am satisfied to just keep the status quo where parity is concerned because it just does not seem possible to get either side to do much about parity.  What I don't want is shorter control or less revenue sharing in the form proposed by the players.  

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2 hours ago, Loosey said:

I like this model in theory.  My concern with this is there are a lot of top of 1st round players who two sport athletes and would the lower bonuses drive them away from entering the MLB draft and go to play the other sport or decide to go play baseball and the other sport (usually football) in college?  Going to college and getting an education is a good thing, but I think a lot players, even top 10 guys know their chances of being a star in the Majors is not great.  Tons flame out.  But it's nice to know if you flame out after after 5 years in the Minors with and a few years of being a fringe MLB player that you still have that $5M bonus sitting in your bank account while you decide to do with the rest of your life.  That same guy may still be a top 10 guy after going to college and decide to enter the draft but they may decide they have a more lucrative career as an NFL QB.

This came up earlier.  How many 1st rounders or any rounders are good enough to have a legitimate shot at being great professionals in two sports?  A couple a year and certainly not a 1st rounder every year.  Of those players, most turn out to be Kohl Stewart not Dave Winfield.  Should we / should the union  & owners take care of all of the Milb players or the 1 in a 5,000  that ends up being a great baseball player.   Half of those would still probably elect to play baseball.

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47 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

I think you are pretty much spot on.  I hate to admit it but I am satisfied to just keep the status quote where parity is concerned because it just does not seem possible to get either side to do much about parity.  What I don't want is shorter control or less revenue sharing in the form proposed by the players.  

To be honest, I think the status quo is bad for the game. It's dying a slow death because of it. The game is in real trouble with its competitive issues right now. Its fan base is aging and not being replaced by younger fans. The game itself has enough challenges with that crowd, but you're going to lose viewers when you know your team simply has no chance every single April.

Ultimately, as a passionate fan, I need to know that the rules are the same for the Twins as they are the Yankees. It's bad enough that we get to debate whether or not certain teams/players get a friendlier strike zone, but it goes beyond that. The Yankees will walk home with any player they want, regardless of cost and have the ability to unload said player should it end up being a sunk cost. The Twins will never operate like that in large part due to the disparities that you quoted. We all know that every year there are only a handful of quality free agents. That's true in most sports too I'd add. The problem is that in baseball's model, only a few teams will get those free agents and they get them every single time. In our world, we have to take the ones with question marks and hope we guess right. 

Some sort of revenue sharing model is going to be needed to fix that. There's no scenario that I can see where baseball can be fixed if teams like Pittsburg cannot keep up with the Yankee's spend. 

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1 hour ago, Major League Ready said:

Should we / should the union  & owners take care of all of the Milb players or the 1 in a 5,000  that ends up being a great baseball player. 

You should care about the minor leaguers who become major leaguers. Most of the guys in the minor leagues are there to give the prospects someone to play against. Minor league careers are typically quite short and I don't see any reason to pay minor league baseball players more than we pay an EMT or kindergarten teacher.

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50 minutes ago, diehardtwinsfan said:

you're going to lose viewers when you know your team simply has no chance every single April.

The Yankees haven't won a World Series since 2009. Are they the team that doesn't have a chance? Are you referring to the Mariners - the team with the longest playoff drought? Is revenue sharing the key to a Mariners or Rangers World Series victory?

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10 hours ago, Sconnie said:

I disagree, it would probably reduce the amount guaranteed on those long term high AAV block buster signings. You still have the huge long term deals in the NFL, they are not fully guaranteed 

Base contracts in baseball are 100% guaranteed, period. You cannot reduce the amount guaranteed in baseball unless you're talking about team options or incentives. Free agent players have traditionally been uninterested in contracts with significant incentives or team options and the MLBPA and agents both push players not to accept non-guaranteed contracts. The lack of a hard cap is the only reason teams can guarantee so much of their compensation.

Your proposal of a hard cap is:

  • Bad for fans - reduced competition
  • Bad for owners - increased risk
  • Bad for players - reduced compensation

 

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19 hours ago, Steve71 said:

MLB has hundreds of minor league players, NFL has none.  Revenue should go to those minor league players.

Average NFL player plays 2.3 years.  MLB is 5.6 years, 2.43 times as long.

MLB contracts are guaranteed, while most NFL contracts are not, but those are becoming more evident, see Kirk Cousins.

Despite these differences, I fail to see how full revenue sharing, a hard cap, guaranteed decent play for MiLB players, high salary floor would "hurt" the game.  How so?

This year (and most of the past decade), New York, the largest media market, has had two of the worst performing NFL franchises, the Giants and Jets.

That would be like the Yankees and the Mets (or Dodgers or Red Sox) finishing in the cellar for 8 years straight.  Is that ever likely to happen in MLB under the current system?  Not hardly.

Why would MLB funnel large amounts of revenue from MLB ball clubs to players who do not, and are not good enough to play on the MLB team? Fair compensation for non-roster MiLB players who are not covered by the CBA isn't likely to be part of a new CBA.

As was noted previously, NFL team revenues are similar. MLB team revenues are not similar. Also, giving an example of a long term poor (or great) performances of any team in any market is an example of what fans do not want. Fans do not want the New York Yankees or the Milwaukee Brewers to suck for 10 years straight any more than they want the Los Angeles Dodgers to dominate for 10 years straight. 

Forcing teams who pay 100% guaranteed base salaries to players and a merit based arbitration into a situation where hard floor/caps are implemented can be catastrophic to the competitive level of the team because the team is unable to retain key talent even if they want because of other contracts for players they do not want to keep. A better, but still not great example is Zach Parise and Ryan Suter and their impact on the roster construction and severe limitations of the Minnesota Wild. Now imagine Zach Parise also had a huge and unexpected decline which happens far more frequently in baseball than hockey. In the current luxury tax system, teams can eat the bad contracts and go a bit above their preferred level of spending for the needed short term flexibility to retain key talent and remain competitive with a penalty.

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bean5302, I don't think anyone is suggesting a hard cap in isolation.

What seems to be getting some consensus support is full or greatly increased revenue sharing, a robust salary floor, and then also a hard cap.

Without seeming to be argumentative, can you share why you think this would be bad for baseball, including owners, players and fans?  (I recognize that this might be bad for owners of big-market teams, but looking at owners in aggregate).

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My opinion of trying to achieve parity?  That's just stupid.  I have no problem with a team that is dominant over an extended period (and that can be three years, ten years, or fifty years) as long as the dominance is gained through superior coaching, great personnel decisions, and inspired on-field performance.  My problem is the silly idea of giving away huge amounts of money to players who may be approaching the backside of their careers to try to buy a championship.  I am not providing any sort of blueprint to remedy this because I do not have the information needed to propose changes.  Any one not in the front office of a major league team does not have the information.  Many theories, assumptions, and guesses, but as long as the accounting books are sealed from the public we just don't know the true situation.

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1 hour ago, bean5302 said:

Base contracts in baseball are 100% guaranteed, period. You cannot reduce the amount guaranteed in baseball unless you're talking about team options or incentives. Free agent players have traditionally been uninterested in contracts with significant incentives or team options and the MLBPA and agents both push players not to accept non-guaranteed contracts. The lack of a hard cap is the only reason teams can guarantee so much of their compensation.

Your proposal of a hard cap is:

  • Bad for fans - reduced competition
  • Bad for owners - increased risk
  • Bad for players - reduced compensation

 

I did not propose or endorse a hard cap. I pointed out that a hard cap would not necessarily reduce the contracts as much as necessitate more flexible contracts.

I do propose revenue generation and sharing more similar to NFL. The current TV contract model is terrible, but this is only tangentially related…

I like the luxury tax model, I would propose a salary floor with punitive floor tax (that would raise the cost above the floor).

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48 minutes ago, Sconnie said:

I did not propose or endorse a hard cap. I pointed out that a hard cap would not necessarily reduce the contracts as much as necessitate more flexible contracts.

I do propose revenue generation and sharing more similar to NFL. The current TV contract model is terrible, but this is only tangentially related…

I like the luxury tax model, I would propose a salary floor with punitive floor tax (that would raise the cost above the floor).

This is pretty much where I’ve landed, too. 

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2 hours ago, DJL44 said:

The Yankees haven't won a World Series since 2009. Are they the team that doesn't have a chance? Are you referring to the Mariners - the team with the longest playoff drought? Is revenue sharing the key to a Mariners or Rangers World Series victory?

Stop it. 

 

The NY Yankees last had a sub .500 season in 1992. 28 consecutive seasons above .500.

 

It's your contention that massive payroll discrepancy plays no part in that?

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18 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

Stop it. 

 

The NY Yankees last had a sub .500 season in 1992. 28 consecutive seasons above .500.

 

It's your contention that massive payroll discrepancy plays no part in that?

Of course the Yankees get an advantage because they get more shots on goal. That doesn't mean other teams don't get to take a shot every once in a while. Pretty much every team HAS taken a shot in the past 5 years. With the current playoff structure a team can get a little lucky and end up in the World Series. It's possible to be the underdog, predicted to win 45% of your playoff games, and still flip heads enough times to win it all. All this garbage about "knowing my favorite team never has a chance" is so much whining. Go ask the Rays or Royals if a small market team never has a chance.

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4 hours ago, Steve71 said:

bean5302, I don't think anyone is suggesting a hard cap in isolation.

What seems to be getting some consensus support is full or greatly increased revenue sharing, a robust salary floor, and then also a hard cap.

Without seeming to be argumentative, can you share why you think this would be bad for baseball, including owners, players and fans?  (I recognize that this might be bad for owners of big-market teams, but looking at owners in aggregate).

I have no objections to a stepped cap with a luxury/hard cap at say $200 and $250MM and I don't think it would cause issues, but I also don't think it would almost ever come into play.

The reason I believe hard caps on their own will cause problems has been noted before so I'm just going to copy my previous responses. I expect a hard cap would be set about $150MM with a floor at $130MM or so based on the current economics of baseball.

  • Bad for fans - reduced competition. Teams which have bad, fully guaranteed contracts in combination with up and coming talented players will be unable to shed the bad contracts and therefore incapable of retaining key young up and coming talent. An example would be the Angels prior to the 2013 season, assuming a $150MM hard cap at the time. They had $80MM committed to Pujols, Hamilton and Wells on long term contracts. They also had C.J. Wilson under contract long term for a salary ramping up to $20MM a year along with a fairly talented young player named Mike Trout. In a hard cap system, the Rangers and Yankees would have been much less willing to take on the bad contracts of Hamilton and Wells, even if the Angels still ate a big portion. Could the Angels have found a way to retain Trout if the only had $20MM to sign 20 of the 25 people on their active roster? Essentially, no team big or small would be able to make significant mistakes on long term contracts or they'd be locked into a long term period of being non-competitive during which they'd also be unable to retain young breakout talent. Could you imagine the fans watching Trout be traded simply because the Angels couldn't afford him because the league's salary cap wouldn't allow it? 
  • Bad for owners - increased risk. Since owners would be backed into a hard corner like in the scenario above, big contracts would become far more risky, but teams committed to winning would still have to make big bids and pray they get Max Scherzer instead of David Price.
  • Bad for players - reduced compensation. While owners would still pay big dollars, the truly long contracts, say anything longer than 5 years, would be pretty much non-existent without accepting team options. Top players will now have much less security and lower contract value. In my opinion, Price would have maybe gotten 4yrs and $100MM guaranteed with $25MM in incentives he wouldn't actually hit instead of 7yrs $217MM fully guaranteed. Players are aware of how valuable the fully guaranteed contract is in MLB today. With a hard cap, the guarantee becomes so risky for owners that it severely reduces contract length and total compensation for player seeking security.

The only way around this is to ditch the base guarantee contract structure for baseball. But even if baseball did ditch the guarantees (which would obviously be the ultimate never in a million years case scenario for MLBPA), the caps wouldn't be workable.

The average player payroll for teams in MLB last year was about $150MM. Setting the hard cap at $160MM and a floor at $140MM to ensure competition wouldn't work. There would be no more luxury tax to pump into revenue sharing, and due to the enormous disparity in team revenues in MLB, probably at least 1/3 of teams would be projected to lose money while 1/3 of the teams would be fabulously profitable. So then MLB would need to completely revamp revenue sharing to a full pooled revenue system. This means the Yankees, who achieved $683MM of revenue would profiting probably $240MM after revenue sharing and the Oakland Athletics at $220MM of revenue would be ($75MM) in the losses even after revenue sharing and operating at the league minimum.

So the current revenue sharing system would need to be totally replaced... basically with an almost fully pooled system. Why on Earth would the large market teams even consider this to be acceptable? When teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and the like have worked tirelessly to market their brands, build competitive teams and reinvest in their organization while teams like the Twins (who didn't need to) and the Rays and Athletics (who did need to, but who cares?) have fed off those large market teams' hard work and success already. Now we're going to tell those successful owners they have to give up everything they worked for because Jim Pohlad doesn't feel like opening his wallet and trying to win because there's a risk his team won't make money one year? That's the never in a million years scenario for the big teams ownership, and rightfully so. They've worked hard to make their franchises profitable and they've earned the additional profits which have come with the investment.

But let's say the MLBPA agreed to ditch base contract guarantees and a hard salary cap which would potentially severely reduce their compensation and MLB ownership agreed to fully pooled revenue to support a hard cap and floor methodology which would slash profits from large market teams, does that make baseball more competitive? It's already the most competitive sport of the big 4 in the United States. I don't know as it would. 

It's honestly all moot to me, the fan, because baseball is as boring to watch as paint drying right now with the 25 second delay between pitches as the hitter backs out of the batters box, checks his shin guard, takes 3 deep breaths, inspects his bat, re-tightens his batting gloves, steps back in, and takes 5 practice swings while waiting for the pitcher to perform his amazing dance routine on the mound before he's ready to throw the next 100mph ball in the general direction of home plate at least 2 more times before his UCL blows out again all with with only 3 possible results, and by far the likeliest, just one more of the 30 strikeouts which will be recorded during the game. Don't mind me, I'm standing in line for the Walleye on a spike and some cheese curds. Not like I'm going to miss anything in the 30 minutes it takes, anyway.

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13 hours ago, DJL44 said:

You should care about the minor leaguers who become major leaguers. Most of the guys in the minor leagues are there to give the prospects someone to play against. Minor league careers are typically quite short and I don't see any reason to pay minor league baseball players more than we pay an EMT or kindergarten teacher.

The Milb players that become MLB players are going to do just fine.  Perhaps more to the point is that the a high percentage of high bonus players never make it to the majors.  Why should Mark Appel get a bonus equal to what 3 EMT’s would make in their entire lifetime?

Perhaps more to the point is that ML teams are already paying out almost $300M a year in draft bonuses.  More than that if you count International.  It’s paid based on a presumption these are the players that will make it when we know for certain a high percentage fail.  So, why don’t we pay them when they actually earn it and in the meantime pay all of the players their fair share?

You want to have the bonus pool start at $2M.  Fine, the amount of money redistributed as salry goes from roughly 77% of the bonus pool to 60%.  You want to weight the distribution more heavily to AA and AAA to take care of more tenured Milb players, fine.  There are many ways to reconfigure the present system but paying players who fail a bonus equivalent to a hundred years salary for the average American and then paying all of his peers squat seems unfair to me.
 

I am not even a little concerned about the guys who make that on average make 100X your EMT example and I surely don't see a need to protect the guys making $100M or $200M or $300M.   They will be just fine without our concern.

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2 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

You want to weight the distribution more heavily to AA and AAA to take care of more tenured Milb players, fine. 

This I can get behind. Pay minor leaguers more once they reach AA. They don't have to touch the signing bonuses to do it either.

AA is getting $600/wk and AAA is $700/wk minimum. They get the $25/day meal per diem on the road and there is an agreement to provide housing now. That still seems a little low ($800 to $900/wk would be better) but there has been tremendous progress on this in just a couple years.

So yeah - minor leaguers in AA and AAA deserve a $200/wk raise. $200*30 players*60 teams = $360,000 a week * 20 weeks = $7.2M.

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Yes, as I noted initially, the huge market teams are not going to like revenue sharing. Just like the Cowboys lose lots of revenue in the NFL.  It is the price to be part of a LEAGUE of competitive teams.

Hard cap, hard floor cannot work fairly without full, or nearly full, revenue sharing.  I admit that, and yet endorse the move.

Will it happen, unlikely.  But we were discussing, I think, what would be ideal.

I don't think any Royals or Pirates fan goes into a given season with any near the hopes and expectations as a Yankees or Red Sox or Dodgers fan enjoys.  Can it happen, sure, but not a fair playing field at all.

Not sure why the players would object if they were guaranteed the same amount of salaries/revenue, or an increase each year for inflation or whatever.  Might it cost the very elite players some money, possibly, but is that a bad thing overall?  Wouldn't the average player enjoy the raise, and wouldn't there be more average players?

If you had 10% of players taking a net reduction in future income, and 50% getting a net increase, wouldn't it pass an MLBPA vote quite easily?

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Fascinating conversations, I am thankful sites like TD make possible these discussions, and a community like TD that is invested in making them interesting. I am not able to contribute much to the macroeconmics side of things, but am glad to have a place to make a fool of myself trying. And it says something that discussions about the CBA are more interesting than watching most MLB games.

Plenty of problems to address, and you guys are hitting on so many of them. I just found this one small piece of the pie  interesting: In 2021, the 50 highest-paid players are getting 33.4% of all salaries, up from 28.6% in 2017, and the 100 highest-paid are receiving 52.4%, an increase from 42.5% in 2017, which is 6% and 12 % respectively of the total MLB roster player pool.  (sourced Assoc Press reporting). This is not good for MLB imho. Miggie, Pujols, Strasbourg, et al? So cap the contract length.

But pay the younger guys who are producing. Why should a rookie who breaks through not be looking at league median salaries for year 2? Make them arb eligible if necessary.

Establish a hard floor for salaries. Is there any franchise that could not manage right now a 125M floor? 150? Redistribute national tv monies., whatever is needed, including contracting non-complying franchises.

Do not expand franchises. There are too many marginal players rostered as it is. Diluting the quality of the talent is no way to improve the game.

Stop manipulating balls for homeruns, or goo, for spin rates. Just stop. It's just BS.

Upgrade MiLB salaries. The enormous bonus discrepancies should be redressed. Why in the name of Thor would a MLB franchise want to sign an 18 year old for multiple millions when the chances of that person actually contributing to the success of your franchise are somewhere on the order of 10 percent at the most? And then pay the 1st year rookie who does break out minimum ? Makes no sense.

And if we are talking about fair distribution of revenue for employees, the office and administrative staffing need to be in the conversation as well, and while we are at it, the pension funding for retired MLB players, especially those who played pre-FA years. Lets not pretend today's players are not standing on the shoulders of the previous generations, as are the current owners.

MLB is privileged to drive their business on the fumes of the cultural cache that is baseball in America. If the owners and players cant see that I can only say I feel badly for them. Because right now the game they are producing is a tedious borefest. Without the cultural symbols and mythology built up around the sport, MLB would have to compete with other entertainment options solely on the quality of its product. That is to say, not compete at all. Both sides can argue for eons about sharing revenue percentages, but if they refuse to take into account that their product exists largely within the imaginative experience their fanbase, they will never make game itself more accessible and enjoyable for the fans. I used to think that was the bottom line, but these days I am no longer certain.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Game7-91 said:

Do not expand franchises. There are too many marginal players rostered as it is. Diluting the quality of the talent is no way to improve the game.

I am 100% in favor of expansion. MLB has never had as much pitching talent as it has right now - see the ever increasing strikeout rates. Careers are ending earlier than they did a decade ago due to the availability of young talent. MLB level players like Freddy Galvis are signing with Japanese teams just to get playing time. It has been nearly 25 seasons since the last expansion - a period of stability as long as any other period in baseball history. I don't think anyone would even notice a difference if two more teams were added.

This is one thing I worry about with increased revenue sharing. Do you really think the Yankees and Dodgers will vote to have their revenue siphoned off by two more teams? There are no expansion locations that would be more profitable than the median team but several as good as the lowest revenue teams. 

Encouraging MLB expansion should be a core strategy of the player's union. That's 52 more MLB jobs and 8 more minor league teams.

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Just going to toss in a few of my own "what's best for baseball" ideas:

1] While I'd like to see changes in milb salaries, I simply don't see this being a priority for either side. I wish it was! The only way I see this being an issue is if the players push for it and to the best of my knowledge, they never have. It is, unfortunately, a moot point as far as the next CBA.

2] DH in both leagues. Same rules across the board for both leagues. Nobody is affected negatively and a few older players continue to be viable without having to be locked in to a position. Might even provide a little more excitement.

3] A 27 or 28 man roster. The game has changed. I'm tired of seeing short benches due to 12 and 14 man staffs. I thought the 28 man roster in 2020 worked really well. And like that season, you can cap the number of pitchers. 

4] I'd like a more balanced schedule. It doesn't have to be fully balanced, but I'd rather break up some of the monotony of playing within your own division quite so much. (Plus the schedule makers seem to CRAM your divisional opponents in to short windows far too often).

5] I'd like to see greater, and more even revenue sharing amongst all teams for a greater competitive balance opportunity. BUT, I also want to see a payroll floor for all teams to avoid tanking. From a fan perspective, and for the good of the game, this a step for better competition across the board which is better for fans, players, and interest in the game as a whole. (If you make bad choices, that's on you as an organization). 

From an owners perspective, I don't feel the BIG MARKET teams would be against greater revenue sharing if they knew the $ they were throwing in to the "kitty" was actually being spent and not pocketed by an ownership group. A floor forces them to spend what they are given.

I oppose a hard cap, not because I don't want one, or reject the very healthy structure of the NFL, but unlike the NFL, contracts in MLB are guaranteed. Further, the BIG MARKET owners simply won't agree to a hard cap, nor will the players. But I fully endorse keeping a soft cap in place with penalties to provide some sort of "control" to maintain a more level playing field. I think ideas of $250M are bogus and somewhere around $200-215M should be in place. I believe that's approximately where it has been recently. Said floor and ceiling could have a sliding scale from year to year based on total revenues and be adjusted based on growth as well as recession. 

6] I have no problem with yearly player salaries being bumped higher with automatic increases per year. I'd rather see that that bickering from either side. If there was some way this could get rid of arbitration entirely I'm even more in favor of guaranteed raises.

7] I can fully appreciate players wanting to see FA before they turn 31-32yo plus. But I am NOT in favor of players reaching FA "too soon" and potentially walking away from their teams. The problem is how do you define "too soon" and what is fair? 

If age is used, then someone who becomes a regular at 22yo and has to wait until 29-30yo, that's not fair to the players. On the other hand, if a player is drafted older, has injuries, etc, and doesn't reach the ML until 26yo, he could be gone in just 3-4 seasons.

I think manipulation of service time should be addressed and gotten rid of. (Not sure I have an answer how to do so). But FA status should continue to be based on VIABLE service time and not just age. I feel a bump in average yearly salary that is "locked in" can satisfy both sides fairly...possibly avoiding arbitration as a mentioned...and service time can still be the answer. This still allows players to be released if necessary, (one extreme), or signed to a long term deal (the other side of things).

The game needs to grow. And there are a lot of smaller details to make the game better, faster, etc, but aren't key points to a new CBA. Better competitive balance and opportunity across the entire spectrum of MLB ARE KEYS to the health and growth of the sport.

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18 hours ago, Game7-91 said:

Plenty of problems to address, and you guys are hitting on so many of them. I just found this one small piece of the pie  interesting: In 2021, the 50 highest-paid players are getting 33.4% of all salaries, up from 28.6% in 2017, and the 100 highest-paid are receiving 52.4%, an increase from 42.5% in 2017, which is 6% and 12 % respectively of the total MLB roster player pool.  (sourced Assoc Press reporting). This is not good for MLB imho. Miggie, Pujols, Strasbourg, et al? So cap the contract length.

But pay the younger guys who are producing. Why should a rookie who breaks through not be looking at league median salaries for year 2? Make them arb eligible if necessary.

Establish a hard floor for salaries. Is there any franchise that could not manage right now a 125M floor? 150? Redistribute national tv monies., whatever is needed, including contracting non-complying franchises.

Do not expand franchises. There are too many marginal players rostered as it is. Diluting the quality of the talent is no way to improve the game.

Stop manipulating balls for homeruns, or goo, for spin rates. Just stop. It's just BS.

I agree that capping contract length would have advantages that are good for the game and would be more equitable in terms of how revenue is distributed among players.  The problem is players would fight this tooth and nail.  They see this as something that would reduce the total amount paid to players and increasing their split is the start, middle, and end of why we might not have a full season this year.  If contracts had length limits, Pujlos and many others would not get paid huge money to be replacement level and the players think this increases the amount owners spend. That’s a very parochial view and contradicts 50 years of history.  Teams have spent and are going to continue to spend 85-90% of revenue less operating expenses.  

The long contracts also contribute to a disproportionate percentage of total salaries going to the top 5% of players.  Obviously, the guys with the 7 or 10 or 13 year contracts are the players making massive amounts of money.  If you want to pay players earlier, you can’t pay guys $25 or $30M to play at replacement level.  You have to believe there is a Boras effect here.  His interest is laser focused on the top earning players.

While I agree with your position, we need to be cognizant of the current state of these negotiations.  The players are asking for a laundry list of concessions.  The owners are asking for more playoff games which is as much a win for the players as it is for the owners.  Asking them to concede something at this point would result in a short season or none at all.

I also agree that redistribution of revenue would be great for mid and small market teams.  However, let’s think about what we are asking.  We are asking one business owner to give up their competitive advantage.  We are also asking them to give their competitor many millions of dollars.  Why on earth would they agree?  Would you suggest those top 50 players you referenced that are making a boatload give a significant portion of their salary to the younger players?  Same basic concept, right?  

We need to keep in mind that players are going to fight for whatever they believe will get them every possible dollar regardless of the long-term impact on the game.  They are here for a very short period.  Owners are going to protect profits.  That’s literally the goal of every for profit business.  Our expectations as fans tends to ignore this is a business.  The good news is the owners have a big time invested interest in the long-term health of the game.  The bad news is these divergent interests have resulted in a lock out and may result in less baseball this summer or perhaps none at all.  
 

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On 1/7/2022 at 12:25 PM, DJL44 said:

If they do expand playoffs then they really don't need to make ANY changes to improve parity. Seriously, if your favorite team can't put together a .500 ballclub every so often they just aren't trying.

You are assuming fans should be happy with a 500 team "every so often".  Sounds like you are from NY or LA?  We should be happy to be mediocre.

A little improvement in parity could not hurt but that's not really the situation before us.  The Player's ask is a significantly higher Luxury Tax Threshold and reduce revenue sharing.  Those two thing individually would produce greater disparity.  Together they are a big problem.  Then, add the players want shorter terms of control and the top players are all in a big market a year earlier.  That's their goal.  Great if you are from a top 5 or even top 10 market.  Just a kick in the groin for the rest of us.

Here are the win percentages for the top 3 revenue teams since 2000 as well as number of 90 win seasons.  Below them is the same for the bottom 14 teams.  The result of their revenue advantage is quite obvious and while I agree improving the current level of  disparity is very unlikely.  I just don't understand for the life of me why any Twins fan or small market fan would be OK with the players demands.

Dodgers 0.557   11
Yankees 0.582   13
Red Sox 0.551   11

-------------------------------------------

Oakland 0.535   10
Indians 0.516   9
Rays 0.490   8
Twins 0.502   6
Dbacks 0.490   4
Rockies 0.489   1
Brewers 0.488   4
Reds 0.481   3
Mariners 0.480   4
Marlins 0.480   1
Padres 0.476   1
Orioles 0.459   2
Pirates 0.452   2
Royals 0.442   1
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55 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

You are assuming fans should be happy with a 500 team "every so often".  Sounds like you are from NY or LA?  We should be happy to be mediocre.

A little improvement in parity could not hurt but that's not really the situation before us.  The Player's ask is a significantly higher Luxury Tax Threshold and reduce revenue sharing.  Those two thing individually would produce greater disparity.  Together they are a big problem.  Then, add the players want shorter terms of control and the top players are all in a big market a year earlier.  That's their goal.  Great if you are from a top 5 or even top 10 market.  Just a kick in the groin for the rest of us.

Here are the win percentages for the top 3 revenue teams since 2000 as well as number of 90 win seasons.  Below them is the same for the bottom 14 teams.  The result of their revenue advantage is quite obvious and while I agree improving the current level of  disparity is very unlikely.  I just don't understand for the life of me why any Twins fan or small market fan would be OK with the players demands.

Dodgers 0.557   11
Yankees 0.582   13
Red Sox 0.551   11

-------------------------------------------

Oakland 0.535   10
Indians 0.516   9
Rays 0.490   8
       

I'm saying that the playoff structure is set up now so every team making the playoffs has nearly the same chance to win the World Series. This is especially true if the team with the worst record buys some reinforcements at the trade deadline. With so many teams making the playoffs everyone has a chance to win the World Series. If fans aren't happy with a chance at the World Series every so often then I don't know what to say. It's impossible for everyone to win every year. This isn't tee ball with participation trophies for everyone.

It's funny your chart here shows that the massive payroll difference of the Dodgers has netted them exactly one more 90 win season than Oakland. They're spending all that money to gain a couple more shots at the World Series than the lowest payroll teams in the league. It also doesn't show the absolute futility of the high spending Angels. Money doesn't buy anything if you don't know how to run a ball club.

I'm in favor of reduced revenue sharing because it forces teams to invest money in their product to make money. Tanking works because teams can just slash payrolls to the minimum and become more profitable even without drawing any fans. It's wrong when the worst team in the league with the fewest fans is the most profitable because the successful large market teams are giving it a bunch of money to exist. I want the Twins to make the most money when they win and the least when they lose so they have a financial incentive to win.

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45 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

I'm saying that the playoff structure is set up now so every team making the playoffs has nearly the same chance to win the World Series. This is especially true if the team with the worst record buys some reinforcements at the trade deadline. With so many teams making the playoffs everyone has a chance to win the World Series. If fans aren't happy with a chance at the World Series every so often then I don't know what to say. It's impossible for everyone to win every year. This isn't tee ball with participation trophies for everyone.

It's funny your chart here shows that the massive payroll difference of the Dodgers has netted them exactly one more 90 win season than Oakland. They're spending all that money to gain a couple more shots at the World Series than the lowest payroll teams in the league. It also doesn't show the absolute futility of the high spending Angels. Money doesn't buy anything if you don't know how to run a ball club.

I'm in favor of reduced revenue sharing because it forces teams to invest money in their product to make money. Tanking works because teams can just slash payrolls to the minimum and become more profitable even without drawing any fans. It's wrong when the worst team in the league with the fewest fans is the most profitable because the successful large market teams are giving it a bunch of money to exist. I want the Twins to make the most money when they win and the least when they lose so they have a financial incentive to win.

Once again, you are over simplifying to suit your narrative.  The Dodgers hired a new front office and drastically changed their approach.  The first several years of this century they tried to buy free agents and trade for stars.  Enter the new front office that used their revenue advantage much more wisely.  They kept top prospects, resigned their own great players, and they were much more selective in the free agents they added.  The result is 9 straight years of 90 wins seasons and I am sure they will be there again this year. This is how dominant a top revenue team can be with the right practices.

You also single out one team (Oakland) and ignore that 6 of these teams have 2 or less 90 win seasons.  The top 3 teams all have 11 or more but you want to focus on the one team that has managed to beat the odds.  I guess that would be important if the goal was to determine if it were still possible to win.  I think the more relevant thesis is the probability of winning given the disparity in revenue.  The answer is quite clear if you ask the relative probability of winning.

Where reducing revenue sharing is concerned .. You are suggesting that if we take away revenue these teams are more likely to invest more money.  That's really ill-conceived.  If you want to be absolutely certain to diminish their capacity to contend., this works.  If you want to curtail tanking, there are much better options.  I would also ask what did Twins fan want when the season was lost.  Did they want to see veteran players that were not part of our future or did they want prospects to get a shot?  Teams focus on youth because they know it's essential to rebuilding.  The Tanking thing has become propaganda for the players because it's a good sound bite.   

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