The Dodgers players find themselves in an awkward position as pitchers and catchers report to spring training in one week.
There is currently a dispute between the players and players union of Major League Baseball, and the owners of Major League Teams. With so many big-name free agents still on the open market, some players have suggested not reporting to spring training in protest. One of those players is Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen who suggested that players may have to go on strike.
Whether the issue is various teams tanking to rebuild like the Astros did or simply teams like the Dodgers wanting to avoid luxury tax penalties, there is a rising sense of tension between the players and owners of teams. Rich teams like the Dodgers and Yankees, are not willing to stay above the luxury tax for multiple years in a row due to the rising luxury tax and the possible loss of draft position in the first round.
Then there is the issue of teams like the Royals and Padres who have plenty of cash to spend, not choosing to sign free agents just to stay average. They would rather stay on the bottom of the pack until they draft and develop enough young players to compete. The mixture of rich teams sitting out free-agency on the sidelines, and small market teams not signing expensive players is causing the usual hot stove to be stuck in a frozen state.
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What could be done to thaw out the frozen hot stove? One of our readers suggested that Major League Baseball should reset the luxury tax for all teams just one time. This is a brilliant idea and would definitely spark up some off-season activity. Repeat offenders of the luxury tax would no longer face stiff penalties as their slate would be wiped clean. Teams like the Dodgers and Yankees would definitely reverse course and start signing a free agent or two.
What kind of impact would a luxury tax reset have on the Dodgers? For starters, they would almost certainly sign Yu Darvish to a long-term deal. It’s been reported that the Dodgers are trying to clear room to sign Darvish since they have roughly seven million dollars to spend in order to stay in compliance with the luxury tax. The biggest reason the Dodgers refuse to go over the tax line is that they have already gone over the threshold five years in a row and are entering the dangerous territory of losing ten spots in the first round of the draft.
With the tax being reset once the Dodgers would have a clean slate and still be able to sign a big free agent or two. With large amounts of committed salary coming off the books the next few years, the Dodgers could definitely sign one big free agent after a tax reset and still be in good position to add another bonafide star in next off-season’s stellar free-agent class. If the Dodgers did not sign Darvish they could possibly look into another option like Jake Arrieta or even JD Martinez.
The Dodgers have a clutter of outfielders for their left-field spot but being able to plug in JD Martinez in left-field would put the Dodgers ahead of teams like the Astros and Yankees offensively. While this is admittedly a long shot to happen, it is something MLB should consider to ease the growing tensions of everyone. The NBA came up with an amnesty rule allowing teams to slash one bad contract from their salary cap books, so that is another option that MLB could take. A league-wide tax reset would let everyone start on even ground especially since small market teams would still benefit from revenue sharing.