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Monday, June 24, 2024

MLB Owners Confront Payroll Disparity Among Teams

  • MLB launched an economic reform committee in part to address payroll disparity between teams.
  • Owners differ on the need for reform.
A detailed view of an MLB baseball sitting on grass.
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

As Major League Baseball looks to shift its economic model, owners are not all on the same page.

“I believe the vast majority of players, agents, and clubs dislike baseball’s economic system,” Boston Red Sox owner John Henry said. “Competitive balance continues to be a huge issue for clubs.”

MLB payrolls range from the Oakland A’s $61 million to the New York Mets’ $355 million, per Fangraphs.

That disparity was partial motivation for the economic reform committee MLB launched last week. Mets’ owner Steve Cohen, however, said that he was “absolutely not” the target of the committee, despite running a payroll $83 million higher than the second-place New York Yankees.

“They laid down the rules, and I’m following them,” Cohen told reporters last week.

The creation of the committee has raised the prospect that owners could push for a salary cap, which the MLB Players Association has long opposed.

“We’re never going to agree to a cap,” said MLBPA executive director Tony Clark. “Let me start there. We don’t have a cap. We’re not going to agree to a cap.”

While some have questioned the sustainability of Cohen’s approach, San Diego Padres’ owner and chairman Peter Seidler has pushed back on that term saying, “Putting a great and winning team on the field in San Diego year after year is sustainable.”

The Padres’ payroll is $262 million after agreeing to an 11-year, $350 million extension with Manny Machado over the weekend.

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