MLB: Why A Salary Floor Is Necessary for Team Owners

Major League Baseball is the only major sporting organization that does not have a salary cap. Many people including myself felt that the one individual holding MLB back from a salary cap was the late great George Steinbrenner. He owned the biggest and most profitable team in baseball with the New York Yankees.

The Yankees had the power like most big market MLB teams had; a shot at all the high market free agents where the small markets teams had no shot. The fans of these teams have been sick to their stomachs over this because they know that no matter the big market teams would have an advantage. A salary cap would fix that but until there is no cap to this day.

On the flip side, the small market teams get luxury revenue for the big market teams. Now, there may never be a salary cap, but some of these small market teams don’t spend all the dollars they should be so there should be a salary floor. What this means is that these teams have to spend the dollars on their teams instead of pocketing it for themselves.

These teams want to build new stadiums and want the taxpayers in those states to pick up the tab instead of them. May have received money from TV deals and other sponsors that should be reapplied back into the teams. One of these examples is the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays ownership has been threatening the city of St. Petersburg, Florida that they want a new stadium and already have a site picked out in the city of Tampa. The Rays have a lease with the city until 2022, and it would cost them a boatload to buy out of the lease. The Rays are a small market team and they reached the World Series in 2008 but didn’t capture the trophy. They have built their franchise around drafting players and using the minor league system because they can’t get big free agents. They are not the only small market team out there.

Rays ownership thinks that a new stadium will fix their attendance problems. Many of the Rays fans say the reason they don’t come to the games due to the location of Tropicana Field. Tropicana is in the southern part of St. Petersburg that has had crime-related issues in the past. The city has made many upgrades in the area to make sure this criminal element is not a problem. Tropicana Field used to be home of the Tampa Bay Lightning when the franchise was in its earlier years. Ownership wants to have the taxpayers of Hillsborough County where the city of Tampa is located to pay for the stadium.

There should be a salary floor in baseball. The Rays organization just received 2.5 billion dollars. Yes, that is billion with a B. They just signed a multi-year TV contract with Fox Sports. Why can’t they use that money to fund their new stadium?

The people that live and work in Hillsborough County should not have to pay extra taxes to have a stadium built. If a salary floor was in place, it would force ownership to use that money to build the stadium. If the Rays and the other small market teams want new things or build from within the organization, start by using all of their money instead of pocketing it and putting the burden on the taxpayers.

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