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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Hal Steinbrenner Open to MLB Salary Cap, Advocates for Salary Floor

  • The Yankees owner thinks his team would still spend big under a salary cap, depending on the number.
  • Steinbrenner wants a salary floor to fix MLB’s team payroll and revenue disparity.
The Yankees owner thinks a salary floor is needed to fix MLB's payroll disparity.
Mandatory Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Could the New York Yankees maintain their big-spending pedigree if MLB institutes a salary cap? 

Owner Hal Steinbrenner seems to think so.

“Yes,” Steinbrenner told The Athletic at MLB’s owners meetings. “But it depends what the cap is, it depends what the cap is. And it has to be, again, accompanied by a floor, so every club is doing their job to try to make it to the playoffs, for their fans’ sake.”

Steinbrenner isn’t against a hypothetical salary cap, but he wants there to be a salary floor. In 2021, MLB proposed a $100 million salary minimum, which nine payrolls of the 30 teams do not meet this season. The Yankees’ $279 million payroll is the second-highest in MLB history, behind only the crosstown rival Mets’ $344 million payroll bankrolled by Steve Cohen

“We went through this in the last agreement a year ago, right? I’m not necessarily against — depending on what it is, of course — a salary cap,” Steinbrenner told The Athletic. “But there has to be a floor to address just the problems that I was talking to you about just now. I think the two have to coexist.”

In February, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union is “never going to agree” to a salary cap. The league’s current collective bargaining agreement runs through the 2026 season. MLB banked a league-record $10.8 billion in revenue last year, while the average player salary increased nearly 15% year-over-year.

Steinbrenner acknowledged the payroll disparity that exists among MLB teams. Six MLB teams paid $5.2 billion in luxury tax for exceeding the league’s $230 million threshold.

“If you’re going to attack it, under the under the guise of, ‘We’ve got to fix this (revenue) discrepancy because it’s not good for the industry as a whole and the sport as a whole,’ then you’ve got to narrow the gap, not just by going down, right? But also by going up on the other side,” the Yankees owner said.

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