The man who is trying to outsmart Major League Baseball and will keep every small market from winning
There is an elephant in the room in major league baseball and it is destroying all championship chances for small markets.
The debate is raging in the administrative offices of the teams: clubs are trying to buy the World Series.
These clubs are the Mets and the Padres.
The Mets will have a payroll of $336 million this year. It's crazy. That's $296 million more than the Oakland A's. It's the biggest payroll in North American sports history, and easy to boot.
Controversial multi-billionaire owner Steve Cohen is often described as the man trying to outsmart the Major League Baseball.
He loves poker, collects Picassos and has been involved in major cases of fraud.
As for the Padres, another multi-billionaire, Peter Seidler is trying the same recipe as Cohen. When he arrived 10 years ago, the team had a payroll of $71 million. It will be $236 million this year. All this in the San Diego market that has never rolled in gold.
Towards a salary cap?
Small markets are stressful. Could the actions of the two owners finally force the major leagues to set a salary cap? The powerful players' union is not interested.
But if parity continues to crumble and the same clubs win while others are never close, revenue will drop and the question will arise more and more.
In the meantime, Cohen and Seidler don't care much about whining.
Regarding criticism from other owners or general managers of the other teams, he believes that they should rather look in the mirror.
“I am not responsible for the way other teams build their clubs… There is disparity in baseball. But I follow the rules,” he told ESPN in February.
And when asked about it, Mets players don’t see their owner as a cheater. On the contrary. He demonstrates how badly he wants to win, in their view.
Why is this championship-buying debate hotter this year, when the Yankees have spent more than anyone for so many years?
Because there's nothing like this. what the Mets are doing this year. The Yankees were spending big, but never so much and the difference to the second-spending team was never so big. The Mets will spend $69M more than the second team in 2023. That difference is the payroll of five teams.
They're already not earning any more
If the trend continues, small markets have no chance. In fact, do they still have a chance?
Over the past 10 years, how many teams in the league's bottom third for payroll have won the World Series? None.
The Rays came close in 2020. But it wasn't enough against the Dodgers.
There were the Royals in 2015, but their mass was not in the worst. The team was in the middle of the pack.
Seven of the last ten champions were in the top 10 of the most expensive teams.
Last year, the 5 clubs with the biggest payroll reached the playoffs. One of the ten lowest spending teams managed to do it.
Carrots are cooked for small markets. Billy Beane's moneyball strategy becomes an old memory that we can only contemplate in the film. Silver is taking the upper hand too much to hope to reverse the trend with advanced statistics.