This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and has been a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.
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"The Pirates are the extreme, if inevitable, product of a system that has been put in place over the past 20 years, step by arduous step. The core problem is a revenue-sharing system that is designed not to level the playing field between teams in large and small markets, but to lower the returns on paying for players, and therefore the industry's labor costs as a whole. MLB has never once entered a negotiation with the union with any goal other than lowering labor costs, and all proposals, from a payroll cap to a luxury tax to revenue sharing, have been proffered with that objective foremost in mind."
"That’s an important distinction. Were the more accurate term 'payroll cap' used, the effects and intent of the tool would be more clear: to restrict the amount of money management can spend on labor. It’s an agreement among competitors to inhibit the labor market, lowering salaries.
"A salary cap transfers wealth from labor to management."
"Recognize, though, that the only people who gain anything from a salary cap are those member owners. A salary cap doesn’t benefit fans, it doesn’t benefit the game as a whole, and it doesn’t do anything for competitive balance. It reduces the financial incentives to improve and innovate and succeed."