That's the question CNBC Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell asks at cnbc.com/id/45554847
The mistake would have been made by allowing Owners to connect revenue sharing with the luxury tax, "effectively putting a soft cap on player payrolls and discouraging traditionally heavy spenders from spending more."
The details: Fifteen mostly big-market/high-revenue stream teams are disqualified from receiving revenue-sharing dollars: The usual Boston-NY-Philadelphia-Chicago suspects, plus Toronto, Nats, Braves, Texas Two, Giants and A's (?). What? No LA teams? No StL?
Beginning in 2013, Rovell says, teams can get a rebate on what they pay in revenue sharing: 25%, rising to 100% by 2016. BUT, they only get the rebate if they are NOT paying the luxury tax, which is triggered by a payroll of $178 million in 2013, rising to $189 million in 2014-2016. A team which exceeds those payroll levels pays the tax AND loses its rebate.
Moreover, according to Rovell, a provision in the new CBA allows a big-spending team to lower its tax if it gets back into spending line and doesn't exceed the threshold.
And this: Rovell says the latest agreement requires teams receiving revenue sharing -- presumably including the Pirates -- to spend 25% more than they receive on payroll. Easy Peasy.
Rovell concludes it's hard to understand how the MLBPA could have agreed to spending caps without demanding a spending floor as well. Of course, the players might claim the revenue sharing plus 25% IS a spending floor.
Another thought occurs: If Rovell's characterization of the new CBA provisions is accurate, it might explain why outrage over the new draft spending caps has been confined to sites like Bucs Dugout, with nary a peep from those lovable loudmouths in the Pirates FO. Some draft spending flexibility was given up, some leveling of the ML salary playing field (if Rovell's report is accurate and I'm understanding it correctly) was received in return. To be fair, as we've noted before, current MLBPA members also benefit by having more of the available cash flow directed to their salaries.
A final caveat: Analytical reporting like Rovell's piece rarely happens by accident. IIRC, the new CBA hasn't been ratified by Owners or Players. Someone may be trying to upset the applecart. Paging Mr. Boras!