Red Sox officials renew salary cap calls

Open Thread: Girardi sets the heart of the order
A double standard for A-Rod (and his cousin)

After suffering through an off-season of Yankee spending and losing out on Mark Teixeira at the last minute, Red Sox owner John Henry and team president/CEO Larry Lucchino have renewed their calls for a salary cap. Henry last called for a cap following the 2004 trade of Alex Rodriguez from the Rangers to the Yankees, and while the Boston officials feel that support may be growing among other owners for an “enlightened” cap, the Yankees are sure to oppose a firm spending limit.

“I think you have to make an intelligent, persuasive case for it,” Lucchino said to’s Ian Browne. “I do look around and I see a hockey league, a basketball league, a football league, all with forms of a salary cap or payroll system, and I think it’s as inevitable as tomorrow that there will be some kind of system like that in baseball. It’s just not as imminent as tomorrow.”

According to Lucchino, the owners are already doing what Browne termed their “due diligence” in advance of the 2011 expiration date for the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. Obviously, the Yanks’ off-season spending has spurred on the dissent from Boston despite the fact that the Red Sox consistently are among the game’s top spenders. Lucchino slammed the Yanks’ winter spree despite the fact that the team’s Opening Day payroll will be on par with 2008’s. “I think we’ve seen when the Yankees have spent like the U.S. congress,” Lucchino said. “I agree whole-heartedly with John, that an examination of a salary cap, an enlightened approach to a salary cap, could make sense for the game. I think people in baseball are examining that possibility.”

Clearly, the next few years will be telling. If the Yanks continue to spend as they have, teams will band against them. However, the owners may be spoiling for a fight they can’t win right now. The Players Association will probably not support a salary cap, firm or otherwise, and the PA leaders aren’t too happy with the way they have been portrayed during the recent PED scandals. With the Red Sox on board, though, we’re just getting a glimpse of labor fights to come.

Open Thread: Girardi sets the heart of the order
A double standard for A-Rod (and his cousin)
  • whozat

    This seems to me like politicians scoring points by supporting a dumb piece of legislation that is popular with the masses but has no chance in hell of passing.

  • A.D.

    Classic Red Sox temper tantrum. We didn’t get our expensive player and the big bad Yankees did, we must stop them!!!!!

  • Mike Pop

    Sure, have a cap.


    I’m good with that. ;)

    • Tom Zig

      Hah if there was a minimum of 140, 1/3 of the teams would go bankrupt.

      • Steve H

        No, their owners pockets just wouldn’t be as fat. And they’d have a better chance of putting a decent team on the field, creating more revenue for themselves, instead of relying on the handouts from the Yanks, Sox, Mets, Dodgers, etc.

        • Hawkins44

          You are right on the money, the MINIMUM number will be more debated than the maximum. The maximum effects only one team as you know the Red Sox will try to position the cap at THEIR budget number. The minimum has far greater implications as owners in Pittsburgh, Minnesota, TB, San Diego will get very nervous about their personal profits as owners…… Me thinks the Yankees will use that emotion to block the cap …something like “Jeff Moorad (Padres new owner, financed the whole deal and is leveraged financially), if you aggressively support the Red Sox with a MAX cap, we will aggressively support a 80 million minimum cap – so be careful”

          If there is a cap the yankees will through the financial resources into the draft….. 8th rounders getting multi-million signing bonuses….. This whole debate is silly.

  • AndrewYF

    The owners have so much more to lose from a labor strike than the players.

    A salary cap will never, ever, ever happen. Even if the Yankees were for it.

  • Matt

    All the families are lining up against us.

    • Joey

      Heh, we are the Corleones and the Sox are the Tattaglias and the Brewers the Barzinis.

      • Double-J

        So wait…that means Hank Sr. is Vito, Hank Jr. is Sonny, and Hal is Michael?

        Does that mean Cashman is Tom Hagen?

        Maybe Swindal is Fredo. :P

      • Matt

        See, I’d reverse that. The Barzinis are the powerful ones, so give that title to the Sox whereas the Brewers are just tools in the equation and they’re the Tattaglias.

    • Johnny

      epstein is mo green!!!

  • dan

    A cap would also put the Pirates, Marlins, and Royals out of business.

    • kSturnz

      yup, you’d need parity; with a cap, you’ll need a floor. and lux tax will be gone, and you know Lon and Hal will probably try to do away with revenue sharing if they can’t spend free.

  • MikeD

    Pretty funny, yet painfully transparent on the part of Henry and Lucchino.

    What they’re saying is they want a “Yankee salary cap,” but not a baseball salary cap. In other words, his team has always been one of the top spenders, so he’d like the salary cap above where his team’s salary is now so the Red Sox can still outspend ALL the other teams not named the Yankees, but below where the Yankees’ team salary is so the Yankees can no longer outspend the Sox.

    I guess you can’t blame them for trying, but it’s not going to happen. The Player’s Union is way PO’d right now, so there’s zero chance for any give back.

  • Pat (Brookfield, CT)

    Sounds like a classic case of “whining” and “cry babies” by the Red Sox organization. I don’t recall them calling for a salary cap when they signed Dice-K or JD Drew.

    • Matt

      I have family in Brookfield!

      • Thomas

        One of my roommate is from Brookfield.

    • Let’s Talk About TEX Baby

      I’m going to go out on a limb and guess they don’t think neogtiating rights costs should count against the cap.

  • ExpiredMilk

    I wouldn’t mind a cap but how do they go about implementing one through the extensive minor leagues

    • steve (different one)


  • YankeeJosh

    On the salary cap issue, if MLB wants to keep the best talent worldwide it needs to remain capfree.

    A salary cap artificially caps the money players can make, obviously. That limits the ability of the league to lure the best players from around the world. Money becomes a huge factor for all teams and that means that fewer chances can be taken. The Yankees wouldn’t have had the cap room to make offers for Matsui years ago or the Red Sox for Matsuzaka in 2006. No team would bid the money necessary for a player like Dice-K who was unproven in MLB. It would kill cap flexibility if the player was a bust. Likewise, those players wouldn’t have signed for less to come to the states and would have remained in Japan, and MLB would be an worse league for it.

    We’re already seeing some of this in the NHL and NBA. Some basketball players are playing in Italy, and European hockey stars are being courted by Russia’s KHL. As a worldwide sport, MLB would likewise be impacted. The NFL can keep a hard cap in place because there is no competition from leagues overseas and the majority of the talent is American. That isn’t true for baseball.

    The quality of the talent in the league will suffer. Will it be enough to make MLB an inferior league to those of other nations? No. But it will have a noticeable impact on the quality of the league. How can MLB lure Asian talent, when its teams can’t pay for the talents? With MLB committed to developing China and other Asian nations ino baseball hotbeds, instituting a salary cap would be the worst possible idea.

    • kSturnz

      true, but this will forever be America’s pasttime

  • Chris

    In 2004, the Red Sox were calling for a salary cap because they weren’t willing to pick up about $6 million more of A-Rod’s salary. Now, they’re complaining because they weren’t willing to go about $10M higher (over 8 years) for Teixeira. At least when Milwaukee complains, I can understand where their reasoning.

    • Whitey14

      It’s the fundamental difference between one team saying we have a financial philosophy and will not allow it to be impacted by what our rivals do. They have a threshhold with every player they persue and they don’t allow the Yankees to force them to go past it, which is not always true in reverse. Carl Pavano comes to mind.

      The problem here is that there’s the Yankees way over and above everybody else. Then there are the Bostons, Los Angeleses, Chicagos and the Mets that make up much of the next tier, spending about 2/3 to 3/4 of what New York does. Whereas I agree that the PA will never go for the cap, it would be healthier for baseball if they did. Their argument should be “if you want a cap, we want a floor” and they shouldn’t agree to any deal that doesn’t include a floor.
      If teams go out of business, or have to move, so be it. It’s happened several times before. The strong survive, but the strong should be determined by who does the best job with equal conditions. Not which teams are lucky enough to be situated in the best markets. I’m guessing many commenters here play fantasy baseball. Would you go into your draft feeling it was fair if one owner was allowed to spend 50% more than you just because he lives in a nicer neigborhood? I’m guessing if the deck was stacked against you right from the start, you might not play.

      • deadrody

        Oh please. The Red Sox are CHEAP and nothing more. Nobody is buying this “they have a philosophy” BS. Where in their philosophy do the horrid contracts for JD Drew and Julio Lugo fit exactly ????

        I take it back, they are both cheap AND stupid considering signing guys like Drew and Lugo.

        • Thomas

          That has to be why they want a cap. With a cap they won’t have the money to spend on FAs like Lugo, Drew, and Renteria.

      • Clayton

        All salary caps do is put more money in the owners pocket. If John Henry really wanted Teix, then he could easily find some more of his own money to pay for the difference.

        But won’t someone think of the billionaire owners!

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        They have a threshhold with every player they persue and they don’t allow the Yankees to force them to go past it, which is not always true in reverse. Carl Pavano comes to mind.

        IIRC, Whitey, Pavano took LESS money to come play in the Bronx. I remember it being widely reported that the Orioles, Tigers, and even your Red Sox had slightly larger offers than our 4yr/39.5M deal; Pavano simply wanted to pitch for the Yankees.

        You have a point that we often use our big stack of chips to force other teams out of the bidding, including the Sox, but Pavano isn’t a good example of that.

        • Whitey14

          I stand corrected TSJC.

          However, as I recall it was Pavano’s wife who wanted him in Pinstripes moreso than himself…

          And Deadrody, cheap teams don’t routinely come in in the top three or four spenders in the league. With regard to Lugo and Drew, I never said all the guys they bring in are smart choices, but that’s what they felt their value was so that’s what they were willing to pay them. It doesn’t even remotely disprove my point that they have their philosophy and they stick to it.

  • Rich

    Next, you’ll be telling me that the Sox are calling for a change in the agreement that prohibits signing Japanese amateurs. Oh wait, they just ignore it when it suits their interests.

    The Sox are the most nakedly hypocritical entity that exists outside of the world of politics.

    • kSturnz

      TIB, This is Boston

  • Jay CT

    Its funny… I don’t remember Larry arguing for a salary cap when he was in San Diego. He felt that small market teams could still make money and be competive if they did the right things. And, in the book Feeding The Monster, not one word was mentioned of a cap, but instead of their guru Bill James working with wonder boy and how they are the best mix of money and most intellegence around.

  • andrew

    god i hate the upper echelons of the redsox organization. they should all shut up.




  • Thomas A. Anderson

    For everyone sick of the Yankees spending and wanting MLB to institute a salary cap they are slightly misguided.

    Here is a bitter dose of reality:

    1) A salary cap alone is not going to help small market teams afford to sign great players in free agency or re-sign their own at market value. The Yankees can spend more because they GENERATE much more revenue and have more profitable revenue streams than any other team in baseball.
    The market for player salaries with a cap may come down slightly, but a player that makes 20 mil per now isn’t going to go all the way down to 15 mil.

    2) What people are asking for when they say they want a salary cap is actually a salary cap, salary floor, much harsher luxury tax (if you use a soft cap) and league-wide revenue sharing. The revenue sharing part of that would be particularly hairy because of the inequity in TV revenue among markets, but we’ll leave that alone for now.

    3) Other users have mentioned this one: restructuring MLB’s financial infrastructure would NOT be instantaneous. The changes on a salary cap alone would not be felt for years into the future. Almost all of the contracts in MLB are guaranteed contracts. You can’t grandfather them in for a cap next year and you can’t un-guarantee a contract either. So even if the powers that be agree to institute these changes, it may not be established for maybe 5-7 years at best.

    4) To get all of these changes instituted, you would need to shut down the sport for at least a year, maybe more. That isn’t going to happen. Why? Let’s look at the 3 main parties in MLB that would have to sign off on shutting down the sport to make all of these changes:

    MLB Player’s Association
    They are one of the most powerful unions in the country. Asking them to go on strike to have a salary cap instituted makes zero sense. You find me a union in this country that would shut down operations for a year to ensure that their constituents would end up making LESS money when they started back. Yeah, that isn’t happening

    MLB Comissioner
    MLB is worth about 6 billion dollars IIRC. Revenues for the sport are increasing every year. Attendance is going up every year. Tv revenue is pretty good as well across the sport. Why would the commissioner of the sport recommend that MLB shut down for a year when every real indicator says that the sport is actually more financially viable than it has ever been?

    MLB Owners
    The owners that express outrage over the Yankees’ spending also make money themselves. How much? Depends on the owner. But, if they were REALLY that outraged over the current financial structure and how large-market teams can take advantage, you are telling me the other 25 or so of them couldn’t overrule the will of the few large market teams? Of course they could, but they don’t. Why? Obviously because they are making decent to crazy scratch from the current economic climate. So why would they upset the apple cart and shut down the sport?

    I could go on and on, but here’s the point. If fans are really that outraged about the system the way it is, then they should not devote their time, viewership, and money to MLB to show them that what is going on isn’t right. Until that happens, MLB is roughly a 6 billion dollar a year company that is only increasing in revenue each year because the fans sign off on the product.

    Fans as a whole probably can’t help themselves to turn away, so them complaining about things is just spitting into the wind. Money talks and BS walks in this life. If MLB sees that viewership and revenues are down and continuing to fall because of the current economic structure of the game, then they will make changes. Otherwise, what incentive to do so do they have?

  • Jamal G.

    This is from a commenter on SoSH:

    Isn’t the NFL a lot more fun because teams have to keep under the cap, teams like the Cardinals can go from worst to almost taking it all– and doesn’t all that help to build the popularity of the league, and the mystique of ‘On Any Sunday’?

    The 2008 Tampa Bay Rays and 2006 Detroit Tigers say “hi”, dumb-ass.

    • Thomas

      Somehow, I don’t see the Lions going from worst to first anytime in the next 5 years.

    • whozat

      The 2007 Rockies too.

    • Craig


  • Januz

    The Red Sox are just looking to score brownie points with the media, and they have limited if any credibility with most people, because they are not exactly the Minnesota Twins, when it comes to payroll. Keep in mind, they claim that Fenway Park will be around for another 50 years. No one can predict that, if for no other reason the structure of the stadium could severely deteroiate long before then. That is just a cheap and jealous shot at the New Yankee Stadium.
    The reality of the matter is this, because of the strength of the Players Association, you will not see a salary cap, and of course a mininum salary floor in baseball( See if the Pirates support that?) . The only way you see that, is if teams start to go out of business (Which did not even occur during the Great Depression). The market itself is correcting some of the imbalances in this sport, so a salary cap is not needed (Look at how many guys got contracts longer than 3 years?). Ask Andy Pettitte & Bobby Abreu if they are happy with the market, where they took huge pay cuts?
    I think a contraction of about two teams would actually improve the sport ( I recommend two franchises that may NEVER get new facilities……. The Florida Marlins (Whose hope for a stadium on the Orange Bowl site is dying by the day) & the Oakland A’s (Who are seeing increased opposition to moving to Fremont)) because it would make the weaker teams much stronger, and allow them to better compete without an artificial restraint (Imagine Henley Ramirez on the Washington Nationals. Think that night generate interest in baseball in DC?).

    • Mike Pop

      No Gerrit Cole, just the parenthesis.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Plenty of, commas, though.

  • jon

    Funny the last thing I heard Henry talk about was how with the new stadium the yankees once again are blowing the sox out of the water with their financial power.

    So what do we do about that? look inward and see how the sox can keep up? or bitch about how its not fair

    Nice job taking the high road Henry

  • Bo

    is anyone shocked by Bostons reaction to losing out on a player? They have never gotten a player when they go to head to head vs NYY.

  • Pingback: Hank responds to Boston salary cap jabs | River Avenue Blues

  • usty

    If I’m the Cardinals and I have to give Pujols A-rod money to stay, there is 0 chance I’m voting for a cap.

  • Craig

    I will start by pointing out my honest feelings regarding the salary cap. I don’t want a cap because I like the Yankees to be able to reinvest as much money as they want/need back into the product. They have earned that privilege and if they want/need to commit over $400 million to help their team and provide their fans with the best product possible then so be it. Now that I’ve been honest and up front with how I feel about the Yankees I can do so with the red sox as well. They’re a joke. They have a half a decade of good baseball, they put together a nice organization and all of a sudden they think they’re recreating the wheel or something. As biased as I may be, this really does sound like jealousy and feelings of inferiority on their part. I mean, who else is doing better than the red sox? It’s not many. But because they are still inferior to us in the grand scheme of things, they want to bring us down to their level.

    People haven’t looked at the issue of parity in a wide enough view yet either. In the past five seasons MLB has had 16, 16, 14, 14, and 16 teams with winning records. Now, a winning record should not automatically qualify you for the playoffs, but since only four make the postseason, that’s a lot of good teams going home in October. Also consider that over that span four teams with at least 90 wins have missed the playoffs. If anybody should be complaining about anything, its them.

    The reason why the NFL and NBA seem to have more parity is because 37.5% and 53% of their teams make the playoffs each year. I guarantee you that if MLB had 16 playoff spots there would be no problems or complaints about salary caps. 16 spots is obviously ridiculous unless we cut a huge chunk of games out of the regular season, but how about increasing the field to ten teams? Add one more wild card team, let those two play a best of three to see who moves on to the Division Series. It isn’t drastic but its a start and it increases the percentage of teams making the playoffs from under 27% to 33%.

    My point is, if people are arguing for parity, they need to look at other ways to do so. If people HONESTLY want more parity, then I just thought of a way to improve that INSTANTLY. The fact that I haven’t heard anything from “baseball people” about suggesting additional ways to improve competitive balance makes me think that people/teams just have it in for the Yankees.