With the somewhat recent news that Demarcus Cousins has joined the Golden State Warriors for 5 Million Dollars, a lot of baseball fans have become concerned with their own sport. There were some fans calling for the salary cap, which I made a whole video on by the way, and there were others that were concerned that a team like the Yankees or the Red Sox could gather a bunch of free agents and create a super-team of their own. But do not fear baseball fans, because in this article, I am going to be explaining why a “Warriors” situation could not happen in baseball ever again.
Now first, we need to describe what a “Warriors” situation is. We aren’t talking about just a dynasty here. We are talking about complete domination to the point where you know who the champion is before a single game has even been played.
Some of you may have noticed the word “Again” in the title. And that is there because there was a version of the Warriors in baseball. Enter In: The New York Yankees.
The Yankees dominated Major League Baseball in the 1950s. They won the 1949 world series, and also the 1950, 51, 52, 53, 56, and 58 World Series. It got to the point that the Yankees were so dominant, attendance in the National League was much higher, since in the AL everybody knew that at the end of the day, the Yankees would end up on top. But there are a few reasons why a team as dominant as the Warriors or the 1950s Yankees couldn’t happen in baseball ever again.
#1 - The Draft: Ahh yes, the MLB Draft. The place where you draft your future franchise star, unless you’re the Rangers. Sorry Rangers. But seriously, this is the place where bad teams get the chance to draft the best young talent to turn their franchise around. But the thing is, the MLB draft didn’t exist until 1965. So before that, teams could just sign players off the street. Mickey Mantle, who is one of the greatest Yankees ever, signed with the Yankees just after his high school graduation. Also, scouting is so much better now as well, that is would be a challenge for teams to miss on a guy like Mantle. And in the draft, there are picks known as “compensation picks” that are given to teams when a certain free agent leaves that team. Also, it is not like the compensation picks don’t mean anything. The Angels received a compensation pick in 2009 because guess who, the Yankees, signed Mark Teixeira in free agency. And with that pick, the Angels selected outfielder from New Jersey, Mike Trout. And I’m not nitpicking here either, there are plenty more instances of superstars being drafted with compensation picks.
#2 - Baseball Randomness: Baseball is one of the hardest sports to predict a winner in. There are hundreds if not of possibilities for every single batter. For example, on a 0-0 count the pitch could be, a strike, a ball, a single, a double, a hit by pitch...do you see where I’m going with this? But in basketball, per possession, the simple version is you can score 2 points, 3 points, or 0 points. Basketball is more skill based, it is less situational then baseball is. Author Michael Mauboussin explains this concept in his book The Success Equation. Michael uses a statistical technique that ranks different sports by the contributions of luck and skill in each sport. As you can see by the chart (below), basketball takes more skill, and baseball is more on the luck side than basketball. Now obviously baseball skill does matter, I wouldn’t expect a team like the White Sox to sweep the Yankees in an 11 game series based off of luck, but hey, you never know. They could get a little lucky.
Chart Via: Vox
#3 - Free Agency: Yes baseball does not have a salary cap however, there is a system in place to keep some sort of balance in free agency, and it is called the competitive balance tax, aka. the luxury tax. Teams will do almost everything they can to avoid the luxury tax. That's why during this past off-season when Arrieta and J.D. Martinez were asking for massive contracts, teams like the Giants and the Dodgers stayed away, to try and avoid the luxury tax. And that brings me into my next point...
Number 4 - Players Are About Getting That Bag (Money): As seen by this most recent off-season, players are willing to wait on their contracts until they get paid whatever the amount they think they should get. And since there is no set amount for a max contracts, players are told by their agents what they should expect, and if they don’t get that offer, then they are willing to wait. Of course players do care about winning. However, if a good team is offering them $5 million a year, while other mid-level teams are offering $15-20 million, it would be hard for anyone to pass up on that mid-level team offer. And also another thing to keep in mind, unless you are a superstar player, then you can’t live off of your shoe deal alone in the MLB. In the NBA, you see guys that haven’t even played a game yet signing a 5 year shoe deal (Marvin Bagley III). So all of the money for players in the MLB, basically comes from contracts.
And before we finish I just wanted to say, even with all of these different restrictions and situations, the occasional dynasty will still happen, but they won’t be that common. And I suppose a baseball version of the Warriors is possible. But will it happen? No.