Totally unfair. Ridiculous. What's the point?
It was the same old storyline: How can the Blue Jays ever realistically expect to compete when a maximum of two teams from one division make the playoffs, and the Jays reside in a division with the two biggest spenders in the sport?
Of the last 27 AL East teams to qualify for the playoffs, 24 of those births have gone to either the Red Sox or Yankees.
When the inevitable finally occurs and Cliff Lee accepts somewhere around $160 million from the Yankees in the next few days, the two Evil Empires will have spent around $530 million on five players (Crawford, Gonzalez, Jeter, Rivera, Lee) over the last two weeks. (The Red Sox have agreed to an extension with Gonzalez for about $154 million but won't announce it until opening day in order to save money on the luxury tax.)
In an attempt to have another baseball geek console me and remind me that the Rays have managed to sneak past both Boston and New York and into the playoffs twice in the last three years, I turned to my friend Marshall and quickly began texting up a storm. After several exchanges, neither of us were particularly hopeful that things would get better.
And that's when Marshall came up with gold.
Rather than luxury tax payments going into a pool that is then evenly divided between all the non-luxury taxed teams, why not have all (or at least the bulk) of luxury tax payments stay within the division? Why should the Pirates or Padres or Marlins get an equal amount of Boston and New York's luxury tax dollars when it's the Jays, Rays and Orioles who have to compete with them?
And wouldn't this model actually potentially curb the spending of these teams? If the Sox and Yanks knew that going into luxury tax territory would mean directly financing their AL East counterparts, wouldn't they think twice about their next big acquisition?