But the second requirement is potentially more meaningful: each recipient team must “report on the performance-related uses to which it put its revenue sharing receipts in the preceding Revenue Sharing Year“. In other words, on April 1 each of these poor teams must submit a plan to improve its on the field performance.
Here is an opening to have a bit of fun. Post what YOU think some of these plans might say. For example:
Pittsburgh Pirates: Who can question our on-field performance? Jack Wilson, Xavier Nady, Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez. At every trading deadline, teams line up to buy our on-field performers.
Florida Marlins: We’ll pocket our revenue sharing. As always. We’re the most profitable team in baseball. I don’t know what kind of performance YOU’RE talking about, but …
Seriously, folks. If you were a fan of one of these teams, wouldn’t YOU want to know what plan your team has in mind?
So we come to the heart of the problem with revenue sharing. These reports are sitting in a file in some MLB office, gathering dust. We can’t see these reports. The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) can see these reports, but they’re not permitted to disclose their contents.
Actually, the MLBPA is one of the villains in this piece. As reported in The Biz of Baseball, the MLBPA has the power to file a grievance if they feel a team is not living up to its revenue-sharing obligations. The MLBPA has never done so.
To my view, any effort to improve revenue sharing must begin with these secret plans for on the field improvements. If these plans are sound, but teams lack the money to implement their plans, then let’s increase the funding available through revenue sharing. If the plans are sound but teams are failing to implement their own plans, then let’s get MLB and the MLBPA to take the necessary steps to enforce these plans.
But what if the plans themselves are no good? What if they’re vague, poorly thought out, lack benchmarks, and fail to provide for any sort of accountability? Sure, my guess is that the Twins and the A’s have good plans in place. But I suspect that most teams purposely draft plans without specifics, to make it impossible for people like us to determine whether the plan was carried out. I bet that most of these plans were drafted by lawyers (like me), and not by baseball professionals.
So, here is my challenge to any team lobbying for more revenue sharing:
You want more money? Show us your plan.