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11-14-2012, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Originally Posted by
MLB had this opportunity.
After the Supreme Court ruled the reserve clause unconstitutional, the MLBPA could have made every player in baseball a free agent every year. They agreed to the six-year reserve system THEN unrestricted free agency, because they knew that flooding the market wouldn't escalate salaries like limiting the flow of free agents.
There simply isn't a vast difference between the quality of players if everyone is available. There's tiers of players, but the reason guys like Suter and Parise broke the bank was because they were the best of a small number of players available.
With the supply of players at total supply, the demand the players are used to wouldn't be there. Would Parise get a max deal if Stamkos, Malkin, Ovechkin and the top 50 players in hockey are also available?
Every player would EXPECT a big pay day like free agents get now…
but that desperate market would be there. There'd actually be less total cap space than there was in the summer because of the new CBA and a lower cap.
There would be middle-tier guys turning down offers and finally having to take paycuts because everyone ran out of cap room.
(If I were a GM, I'd target second/third tier guys and sign as many as I could while the other teams waste their cap space. I'd go for a deep roster rather than a star-studded one.
The Supreme Court did quite the opposite, ruling the reserve clause to be perfectly legal and constitutional. That goes back to the Federal League case, and then was upheld in the Toolson case and in Flood v. Kuhn.
It was Peter Seitz who ruled (correctly) that the reserve clause was too vague to be clearly interpreted as "one year plus one year plus one year (in perpetuity)" rather than the "one year means one year". Seitz was the arbitrator for MLB/player grievances. And since one-year contracts were the norm, it technically would have meant that any player with an expiring contract could become a free agent in short order.
That's where the backdoor dealings came in. Mike Marshall (pitcher for the Dodgers) publicly threatened a lawsuit against the MLBPA and Marvin Miller if free agency were bargained away; this was ordered by Miller himself. It made Miller's desire to choke off the supply of free agents in a given year (to trigger bidding wars) seem like a sane middle ground, and it also allowed for substantially more concessions from MLB owners that weren't even on the table originally.
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