Tom Hicks, the Texas Ranger owner, is asserting that the owners will push for a salary cap should the players strike. In a series of statements that are so ironical they would cause Buck Mulligan to split a seam, Hicks speaking from his yacht yet says apparently with a straight face:
I think a majority of owners, including me, would probably like to have even stronger cost-containment than we're talking about right now.
For the good of baseball, we need to have cost-containment and competitive balance.
I think a lot of owners would have a preference for a hard salary cap like football has. That would probably be better for baseball, but that's not what we're negotiating this time.
Every team in baseball that has any kind of business sense would try to manage its payroll to stay under that tax threshold. There might be one or two that wouldn't, but that's a decision those teams have to make. Certainly, I can assure you, the Texas Rangers wouldn't be among them. If this system is implemented, the Texas Rangers will be under the threshold.
This is the man who offered Alex Rodriguez $10 million dollars more than the going rate just last year. This is what Rafael Plameiro had to say about it at the time, "At first they were talking about $200 million -- $250 (million) came out of nowhere. It's just incredible." Here are the 18 men that the Rangers are paying over a million dollars this year. Take a look at this list and tell me if this team "has any kind of business sense:"
Alex Rodriguez $22,000,000
Juan Gonzalez $11,000,000
Ivan Rodriguez $9,600,000
Rafael Palmeiro $8,712,986
Carl Everett $8,666,666
Kenny Rogers $7,500,000
Chan Ho Park $6,884,803
Rusty Greer $6,800,000
John Rocker $2,500,000
Ismael Valdes $2,500,000
Frank Catalanotto $2,475,000
Jay Powell $2,250,000
Jeff Zimmerman $2,166,667
Dave Burba $2,000,000
Todd Van Poppel $2,000,000
Gabe Kapler $1,850,000
Dan Miceli $1,000,000
Rudy Seanez $1,000,000
Isn't Hicks' last statement the best argument that the luxury tax is seen as a salary cap? No team with business sense will transgress it. Then isn't it a de facto cap, exactly what the players have been stating and the owners have been denying all along? Isn't he confirming that?
Is Hicks speaking for himself or is this another PR leak on the part of the owners? If he is just spouting off by himself, then shouldn't the commissioner's $1 million dollar labor gag fine? What are the odds that he'll be fined? If the owners are leaking this as a thinly veiled threat, why would they use the free-spending Hicks to convey it?
These and other questions will be answered. Same Bat Time. Same Bat Channel.