With another Yankees World Championship comes another round of salary cap debate. The Yankees have an infield that costs a gaudy amount and easily make the most revenue of any other team. The idea of implementing a cap limits how much they can spend on free agents or absorb via trades, which seems to make the playing field a bit more even. But there’s a forgotten aspect to all of this: If you limit the Yankees Major League payroll from $200M to $100M (or whatever) without imposing a cap on the amount of money a team can spend on amateur and baseball operations talent, then really you aren’t helping anyone but the Yankees.
Why? Because if you knock that $50M off the Yankees payroll, that doesn’t mean they cannot spend it; instead, it simply means they must reallocate it to another part of the game. Now they can really go over-slot on a consistent basis. Or, if a hard-slotting system is imposed, they can reap the international talent market like none other. Not to mention the amount of front office talent they can add to the fold — ranging from scouts to quantitative analysis guys to medical staff and so on.
Living off free agency is usually a poor habit to fall into, because when signing a 30 – 32-year-old player, teams are paying for his past performances more than his future performances. By eliminating that practice for the Yankees, they can quickly develop the best farm system, player development, and front office staffs around and still have money to burn. Then, when those young players turn into young stars under a cost efficient umbrella, the Yankees can go out and do their spending thing on the free agent market with a bunch of homegrown studs intact.
You could argue they could do this already, but won’t for whatever reason. Maybe they haven’t realized it, or they would rather bank off the big-time free agents. I don’t know. This may result in fewer wins in the short-run, but a healthier organization in the long-run. Baseball would actually be doing the Yankees a service by saving them from themselves.
Perhaps that’s a wee bit hyperbolic, but the answer to any question about baseball’s competitive nature and balance lies beyond a Major League roster salary cap.
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