Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees exceeded competitive balance tax threshold in 2019

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Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees exceeded the competitive balance tax (more colloquially known as the luxury tax) threshold for the 2019 season, set at $206 million. It will rise to $208 million for the 2020 season and $210 million in 2021.

Teams that exceed the CBT threshold pay a penalty on the overage, which is compounded depending on how consistently they have exceeded the threshold. The base penalty is 20 percent. If a team has exceeded it in a second consecutive year, the penalty rises to 30 percent. Three or more consecutive seasons yields a 50 percent tax on the overage. Furthermore, teams that exceed the CBT threshold by $20-40 million see an additional 12 percent tax. Above $40 million brings a 42.5 percent penalty which rises to 45 percent if the team exceeds the CBT by more than $40 million in a consecutive year.

The luxury tax has acted as a de facto salary cap. Front offices typically have gone out of their way not to exceed it, especially in recent years. The Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees are each widely believed to be looking to stay below $208 million in 2020.

In pursuit of payroll efficiency, the Cubs are believed to be willing to listen to offers for catcher Willson Contreras, third baseman Kris Bryant, outfielders Kyle Scharber, Albert Almora, and Ian Happ, as well as pitcher José Quintana. The Red Sox are believed to be pursuing trades of outfielder Mookie Betts and/or J.D. Martinez. Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is also believed to be available.

As we have been discussing the ongoing labor tension in baseball lately, one wonders if the CBT threshold might also be changed within the next collective bargaining agreement. It has served ownership well, giving them something to point at as a reason not to invest as much into putting together a competitive and entertaining product for fans.

Nike Swoosh to appear on the front off every uniform in 2020

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SAN DIEGO — We knew as of last January that this was coming — and the new uniform designs teams like the Padres, Brewers and Rangers have released in the past few weeks have shown it — but today the images were all released: all 30 teams will wear jerseys with the Nike Swoosh prominently placed on the front starting in the 2020 season.

The move is the result of the deal in which Nike has taken took over from Majestic Athletic as Major League Baseball’s uniform supplier. While Majestic’s logo had long appeared on MLB uniforms — they were making BP jerseys as early as 1982 and were the exclusive game uniform supplier for the past 14 years — that little M had appeared on the sleeve.

The Nike Swoosh, however, is a lot more prominent:

You can see all 30 of them here.

They aren’t all that bothersome on most uniform styles, particularly the newer and busier ones. But to my eyes the Swoosh is a desecration of the more classic, cleaner uniforms like the Yankees, Dodgers, and Tigers as shown above. Yeah, that’s some traditionalism on my part talking — OK, a LOT of traditionalism on my part talking — but it does, objectively, throw off the balance that some of the better uniform designs have long had.

Not that anyone is gonna do anything about it. That ship sailed long ago and the money has already been put in the bank. And, yes, like most things along these lines we’ll likely all get used to this pretty quickly. By May someone will likely have to remind me that I was pissed off about this here in December. I’ll grant that this is a me issue.

Still, at some point down the road, someone at Major League Baseball is going to broach the idea of advertisements on uniforms and a lot of people are going to get angry about it. When they do, I hope you’ll remind them that we’ve already got prominent advertisements on jerseys. We Just Did It.