HomeSportsBaseball:  Debating a Salary Cap for Baseball

What Is a Baseball Salary Cap?

The issue of a baseball salary cap is a greatly contested issue that has arisen repeatedly over past years. Essentially, a salary cap is a limit on the amount of money each team can spend to fill its roster, therefore requiring the team to work within a set budget as it adds each player. It is not rare for sports associations to have to work within monetary constraints: both the National Football League and the National Basketball Association have salary caps. It is a way of helping to ensure fairness so that the competition between the different teams remains intense and interesting instead of having one or two wealthier teams dominate and consistently win.

Baseball Salary Cap: The Arguments

The arguments over a baseball salary cap are generally not over its existence but over the lack of a cap. Without a cap, wealthier teams like the Anaheim Angels and Atlanta Braves undoubtedly have a significant advantage over other teams. These two teams are owned by people or companies who have a large amount of money that they are willing to spend on the team. As a result, these teams can offer larger salaries to potential players and therefore have a better chance of signing the players with the greatest skill and ability.

A salary cap also works to prevent contracts that offer players extremely large salaries that many people often feel are undeserved. Although it may not seem so at first, the salary cap is ultimately an issue of maintaining equal opportunities within the sport and ensuring that competitive play continues. However, this is not to say that without a salary cap the wealthy teams always win and the less wealthy always lose; this is not true at all. There are numerous examples throughout baseball’s history of unlikely winners that did not have unlimited funds at their disposal.

There are criticisms of salary caps, as well. Some argue that these caps punish success and long-established successful teams. In some (or many cases), well-constructed teams have to get rid of some important players due to the salary limit, and the cap makes trading players between teams difficult, too.

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