FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox and New York Yankees, baseball's two most profligate spenders in the last decade or so, are on record as saying they wish to reduce their payrolls in coming years to avoidsteeper luxury tax penalties and qualify for revenue sharing rebates.
But Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League BaseballPlayers Association, said Thursday that the new collective bargaining agreement, signed last winter, is not serving as a de facto salary cap.
"That's not the way we see it,'' said Weiner, "and frankly that'snot the way that it was negotiated. What we did was, we lowered the lowest tax rate associated with the competitive balance tax (CBT). That was a benefit, we thought. We also changed the rules that apply to clubs that had exceeded the tax multiple times.
"It used to be that a team like the Yankees, if they had beenpast it several times and then dropped below, that the next year they could still face one of the higher tax rates. Now, face the first-time tax rate and start clean. We thought that was a good thing. That means, if the (Red Sox and Yankees) get below the (CBT)for a year, now they have a better incentive to spend money.
"The revenue sharing feature, we understood that that, on the one hand, created some additional incentive for a team like the Red Sox or the Yankees, on a short-term basis, to get below (the CBT level). On a longer term, the incentives flip for them to be in a position to spend even more. With respect to the other 28 clubs, it provides better incentives for every club to try to increase their revenue, which means(more) incentive to spend on major league payroll.''