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Opinion

With no salary cap in baseball, small market teams will suffer

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March 5, 2009

The New York Yankees are sometimes considered synonymous with baseball. They have a tradition of winning and winning often. However, what is going too far to ensure that the winning tradition continues on?

This past offseason the Yankees signed three superstars to their roster for a whopping average of $141 million. Pitchers C.C. Sabathia, the most coveted free agent of the offseason, and A.J. Burnett and first baseman Mark Teixeira will all be wearing the pinstripes this season, and combined will make more money than the entire Twins team. That’s not to include Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, who already have contracts set in stone that will have them enjoying retirement very comfortably.

Where do you draw the line and say a team like the Twins cannot compete with a team like the Yankees?

The MLB has allowed too much, and like most professional sports leagues, should institute a salary cap to make the playing field more equal.

Most people have already placed most, if not all of their money on the Yankees winning the World Series this year, before the first official pitch of the regular season has been thrown because of their offseason acquisitions. Not having a salary cap in baseball discourages teams such as the Twins or Brewers from even attempting to negotiate a contract with a free agent superstar.

Teams like the Yankees, Angels and others are willing to pay outlandish figures to some of these players, who simply play the waiting game; waiting for the team who will make the largest offer.

This disadvantages small market teams immensely. Teams like the Twins have to simply try and stay in business, while teams like the Yankees are rolling in the dough.

Not having a salary cap also makes it difficult for teams to hold onto their players. For example, Joe Mauer is, in my opinion, one of the best catchers in the league. When his contract with the Twins expires he will be offered large sums of money to go and play baseball with another team. Can the Twins even match some of those offers if that time ever comes? Most likely they can’t, which takes away a large part of the draw for Twins games at the Metrodome.

I hope that Mauer decides to continue his career in front of his home crowd but it would be difficult to pass up $20 million to play a game, instead of the 10 or so million the Twins could offer him.

Finally, not having a salary cap in baseball places the power within a few teams of the league. Before the season even begins many, if not all, of the Yankees, Angels and Red Sox games are almost completely sold out at their respective stadiums. However, the Metrodome and Miller Park have a hard time filling the stadium some nights. This power disadvantages a large percent of the league, and needs to stop before baseball becomes the next bail out for our national government.

Adam Vircks is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.