The Mariners ended last season in 3rd place in the AL West, ending the year at 89-73. Despite that, they ended the season a whopping 14 games out of first place. The Astros continuing to reign at the top, and the surprise Athletics getting a wild card game. The D-backs also finished in 3rd, with a record of 82-80, 9.5 out of first place and staying competitive for most of the season with the Dodgers and Rockies. However, both teams seem to have joined the movement of blowing it up and rebuilding. Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Mike Zunino, James Paxton, Jean Segura, Alex Colome, and Paul Goldschmidt have all been traded to new teams, as both teams look to the future when the Astros and Dodgers won’t be loaded with talent.
What does this mean for the MLB? It’s a growing trend that has always been around but became more popular when the Cubs went from nothing to World Series Champions with Theo Epstein. The Astros soon followed and were able to find the success in 2017. However, this trend is bad for the league as a whole. More and more teams are going to be fighting for the top draft pick, rather than for the playoffs. Rebuilding is something that happens across all sports each and every year. The problem is that teams so close to the playoffs have decided its best to sell and try and get a better draft pick. More and more divisions will end up looking like the AL central, with the Royals, Tigers, White Sox, all in a phase of the rebuild with the Twins not having a definite direction either. The D-Backs and Mariners just needed some pitching and they would’ve been able to compete for the playoffs. Instead, they plan to suck for a few years and bank on prospects that are less sure things than their current stars. The teams traded a total of almost 22 bWAR worth of players. Assuming Goldschmidt is likely the first of the dominos to fall for the D-backs, the amount of WAR should increase, with Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager also likely to be shopped this winter.
The solution to teams deciding to tank before they need to? A hard salary cap, and limit how much money can be deferred. It requires teams to spend less freely and gives smaller market teams a level playing field. While a salary cap isn’t always what makes or breaks a team, (look at the A’s who had the lowest salary cap going into the season and still won 97 games) but for teams like the Diamondbacks, it’s hard to compete when you have the Dodgers in the division. They can get players like Manny Machado and Brian Dozier while also keeping players like Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, and Kenley Jansen get paid big time.
When the current CBA runs out after 2021, There will be several issues that will be discussed between the players and owners and figuring out a way to fix the issue of tanking. It’s a pandemic that has swept across all sports with the NBA already taking steps to try and discourage teams. If not a salary cap, maybe a lottery system for the draft? Leave some of your suggestions on how to solve the issue with tanking below.
Featured Photo: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri