2019 MLB Preview: Early Playoff Outlook

wstrophyLast year’s postseason race was interesting as the separation between the haves and the have nots was only growing.

It has been a battle in almost every support and one that the leagues and the player’s unions have figured out through the CBA.

These leagues saw the impending issues before they became a major problem and realized that certain teams were able to buy championships.

They were able to put in a salary cap as a way to curb the spending and put more teams on a level playing field.

The cap in itself is not the most popular with the players as it limits their earning potential but when every team is forced to spend the same amount the talent level begins to even out.

In the MLB does not have a salary cap but they have their own version that is usually less effective.

The Luxury Tax is a system where teams have a limit on spending but unlike a salary cap that punishes teams by losing draft picks the luxury tax charges an extra tax based on the amount of money they spent over the limit.

For years it was the least effective way to curb spending as teams went over every year because they could spend the money on the tax.

Teams that earned massive amounts of money like the New York Yankees didn’t even flinch at having to pay that tax.

They continued to sign big names and essentially bought title with some of the best talent in the league.

Surprisingly the Yankees became a responsible team a few years ago when Brian Cashman took over the team.

He was determined to get them under the tax and began shedding big contracts which also led to a downturn.

The Yankees are no longer the poster boys for the Luxury tax but that doesn’t mean there are no teams who will need to pay the tax.

Last year only two teams were over the limit as the Washington Nationals and the eventual World Series Champion Boston Red Sox were the two teams paying for going over the limit.

It was evident in the way the Red Sox ran through the season and although the Nationals couldn’t make good on the spending the gap created was noticeable.

The Red Sox had one of the best seasons in their history and they ran away with the top spot in the league.baseball-sidebar

They also ran through the postseason to the World Series losing only three games throughout the postseason.

It was clear that they were the best team and like the Yankees of the 1990s, they were the team spending the money to win.

With 108 wins it showed and for another year they will be paying more money just to have the level of talent they have on the team.

The Red Sox enter the season over the Luxury Tax threshold but they are joined by a familiar team as the Yankees are back above the threshold.

Along with the Cubs, there are three total teams over the threshold entering the 2019 season and if history is an indicator all three could be favourites this year.

That would leave the Cubs, Yankees and Red Sox as the teams to watch and all have the talent to compete.

Then again the teams with a tighter fist are still full of talent as the Astros remain strong, the Nationals are reloaded and the Dodgers are still the Dodgers.

Surprising teams could come through in the end as well with a long season to go before anything is solved.

There will be a lot of teams looking to break the separation between the teams who can spend and the teams who can’t.

They will look to unseat those powerhouses and bring a title to an unexpected city but it is going to be a tough thing to do.

postseasonoutlook

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