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Manfred open to salary cap: MLB only major league in N.A. with 'different system'

Julio Aguilar / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred acknowledged that a salary cap may be the answer to a growing discrepancy between big markets and small ones that's creating a gap in on-field competitive balance.

"I don't think anybody on the club side has made up their mind that a salary cap (system) is necessarily the answer. We have, over a long period of time, avoided making the salary-cap proposal," Manfred said Tuesday on the "The Show" podcast when asked about the system in place in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLS, according to Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post.

"But there is one truism that is hard to ignore: There are arguably … five major professional sports in North America. Four of them have one system. One of them has a different system. I'm sort of a believer in the idea that the majority eventually gets it right. When you're the outlier, you have to ask yourself the question of: Does somebody else have the system right?"

There are 14 teams out of 30 in the majors that have a 40-man payroll above $200 million heading into Opening Day, according to Cot's Contracts. On the other hand, there are seven clubs under $120 million, including four below $100 million. The New York Mets are at the top of the financial food chain with a record $375.3-million payroll, while the Oakland Athletics are at the bottom with $77.1 million.

Major League Baseball Players Association head Tony Clark said in late February that the union would never agree to a salary cap.

The subject may end up being the biggest issue when the current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2026 campaign.

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