• Red Sox Owner Has A New Plan To Try & Combat Yanks

    Posted by on December 1st, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Via Nick Cafardo

    Red Sox principal owner John Henry is calling for Major League Baseball’s revenue sharing system to be overhauled and replaced with a “competitive balanced payroll tax” in an effort to create competitive balance in baseball.

    Henry’s comments via e-mail came after he was asked to respond to agent Scott Boras’ comments to the Globe two weeks ago in which the super agent said teams aren’t spending their revenue sharing money and central funds on player salaries, which is what revenue sharing was intended to do for small market teams. Boras received backlash for his comments from MLB executive vice president Ron Manfred, who said Boras’ figures of teams receiving $80-$90 million from revenue sharing and the central fund “not based in reality” and “fantasy land.”

    But Henry is certainly going his own way on this very sensitive subject and is certainly not in lockstep with some of his fellow owners on the revenue sharing plan that was adopted in 1997 and distributes the wealth from large market teams to small market teams.

    “Change is needed and that is reflected by the fact that over a billion dollars have been paid to seven chronically uncompetitive teams, five of whom have had baseball’s highest operating profits,” Henry responded in an e-mail. “Who, except these teams, can think this is a good idea?”

    Henry added, “While the Red Sox are in the 16th largest media market we’ve found a way to be very competitive even though we are funding other teams. At the end of the day, the small market clubs still cannot begin to compete with the Yankees and have a very hard time competing with the teams that are struggling to pay them so much. Consequently, a system that directly impacts competition has to replace the current system, that hoped to, but ultimately did not cure competitive imbalances.”

    About $400 million – 34 percent of each team’s net local revenue – will be distributed to small market teams this year. Most of that percentage comes from the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, and other high-revenue teams.

    Henry wrote that baseball “needs slotting for amateurs, a worldwide amateur draft and most importantly, an effective competitive balance tax that directly addresses disparity once and for all for baseball.”

    The Red Sox principal owner reiterated that baseball’s free market system should continue and that teams should be able to operate as they please, but that those who spend a lot will pay a lot of payroll taxes. “If the Yankees and the Mets spend a billion dollars plus of their investment dollars to build new ballparks, they should be allowed to keep their revenues from that,” Henry wrote. “But if they want to spend $200,000,000 annually on payroll, they should be heavily taxed directly on that – and if they want to spend more than that, they should be even more heavily taxed. So should all clubs who spend heavily on payroll – to the extent necessary – to bring the system into balance.”

    Here’s how Henry’s system would work:

    “It’s a very simple approach in which payroll tax dollars replace revenue sharing dollars and go directly to the clubs that need revenues in order to meet minimum payrolls that should be imposed on each club receiving revenue. Further, players would have to be protected with a guaranteed minimum percentage of overall revenues. This would be a very simple and effective method in reducing top payrolls and increasing bottom payrolls with no tax on revenues,” Henry wrote.

    Henry added that “The World Series should be determined by fully competitive teams on the field – not by how much particular clubs can afford to spend. A better solution is to address competition directly so that clubs can generate revenue more equally as teams become competitive across baseball.”

    While Henry, a former part-owner of the Yankees, has no love-loss for his biggest rival, he does believe that the current revenue sharing formula unfairly penalizes the Yankees and other big market teams which generate big revenues.

    “Baseball has determined that the best way to deal with the Yankees is to take as much of their revenue as possible. I see that in direct opposition to the ideals this country was built on. Baseball is a business and should be treated as such. Baseball is also a sport that needs competitive balance in order to prosper. Taxing their revenues and other “large markets” in the way it is presently done, is simply confiscation on an order of magnitude never seen in any industry in America,” Henry said.

    Betcha ol’ John Henry would like the line for his competitive balance tax to be drawn just above the Red Sox payroll and directly below the Yankees payroll…

    Interesting plan – let teams, including the Red Sox, keep their revenue and tax the Yankees on their crazy payroll. And, then, make the teams getting that tax money from the Yankees spend it on the players. Basically, Henry’s looking to try and get the Yankees to foot the bill for players playing against them while keeping the Red Sox revenue from being a hand-out to other teams…if I read this all correctly.

    These are the days where I really miss Big Stein. I’m sure he would have a reply to this plan – and then some…

    In any event, on a related note, Neil Paine offers some food for thought on why baseball needs a minimum payroll rule.

    Comments on Red Sox Owner Has A New Plan To Try & Combat Yanks

    1. Raf
      December 1st, 2009 | 2:34 pm

      Well, now that the Yanks have a shiny new stadium, they don’t have to share as much of their monies so the league has to figure a way to get more money out of the Yanks 😀

    2. Evan3457
      December 2nd, 2009 | 2:01 pm

      Speaking just for myself, I’d like to see teams be taxed not on payroll, but based on the number of pretentious jerks who claim to be fans, and waste everyone’s time typing up paens to the ballpark they play in, the seasonal nature of life and baseball’s relation to it, and the way baseball teams that lose are a metaphor for suffering and loss in real life, and make fans of those teams superior human beings because their teams have suffered disastrous losses in the past.

      And treble the taxes based on the number of ESPN correspondents who think baseball revolves around that team’s navel.

      But that’s just me.

    3. butchie22
      December 2nd, 2009 | 3:27 pm

      Interesting how Henry actually mentioned how the Yankees are penalized, very strange indeed. I’m for a payroll cap actually , I don’t care if the Yanks pocket 500 million , the Mets 200 million or the Sox 100 million. I want real competitive balance in baseball. Make it like footballl and the other sports where you can’t just buy the best free agents. The Yankees are by far the worst culprits under the current system BUT the Red Sox are no angels either (no pun intended). No John Henry nothing convoluted with a cap …..emulate football,basketball and hockey in the US and I’d like to see how big market teams like Boston and the Two New York Teams would do…ah, BUT then the Red Sox couldn’t buy big ticket players left and right then could they?

    4. Raf
      December 2nd, 2009 | 5:37 pm

      butchie22 wrote:

      I want real competitive balance in baseball. Make it like footballl and the other sports where you can’t just buy the best free agents.

      It will never happen.

      emulate football,basketball and hockey in the US and I’d like to see how big market teams like Boston and the Two New York Teams would do…

      They’d do the same as they’re doing now. From the Yankees pov, for example, it becomes a question of whether they want to keep Jeter @ 20m per year, or do they want to give the job to a kid they have in the system, or do they trade for a shortstop that is making less than Jeter, or do they sign a free agent shortstop that would make less than Jeter.

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