Orioles’ Alex Cobb trade further proves MLB needs a salary floor

The Orioles trading away Alex Cobb is yet another example of much-needed MLB changes.

The Baltimore Orioles made some news Monday and as fans may have guessed, they made a move that won’t help the team win in 2021.

The Orioles trading pitcher Alex Cobb to the Los Angeles Angels. He is set to earn $15 million in 2021 and it is clear what the plan is in Baltimore.

Orioles illustrate larger MLB problem

The Orioles’ salary table is wild. Chris Davis is set to earn over $21 million in each of the next two seasons. Then there is Trey Mancini making right under $5 million. Add in the rest of the entire roster and the payroll is under $35 million total. That is an abomination.

There are going to be fans in Baltimore fine with this total rebuild approach. There is nothing they can do about Davis and trading other veteran talent will hopefully help the team compete sooner than later. However, it has to be frustrating to see the team also sent money to Los Angeles with Cobb.

But this is just not an Orioles problem. What about the Colorado Rockies sending Nolan Arenado to St. Louis, along with $50 million, two years after signing him to an eight-year extension? Or the Cleveland Indians trading Francisco Lindor to New York instead of signing him to a long-term deal? Or…whatever it is the Pittsburgh Pirates are doing?

MLB does not have a salary cap. What it may need is a salary floor that works like a cap to ensure teams cannot just field a Triple-A team and alienate fans in the process for the sake of balancing the budget. This also creates a competitiveness problem given the structure of the schedule. A team could win well over 100 games if one or two teams within their division are an automatic win.

Owning a professional baseball team should not solely be a money-making venture. A generation of Pirates fans can attest to having your favorite team actively not care about winning for far too long. The damage from doing that too long can lead to general apathy toward a franchise in any given city.

No one is expecting a team like the Orioles to spend over $100 million after a half-decade of nonstop losing. However, not even spending $40 million and claiming to be a competitive team is just a slap in the face to fans. The only exception is the Tampa Bay Rays and they have proven success to back up their strategy. A general lack of attendance makes that a unique case as well.

The Angels desiring Cobb proves he is seen as a bonus to their pitching staff. Paying half his salary and not even keeping him up until the trade deadline is a concern worth noting for the entire league.