Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 14, 2023

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File

Discussions to limit MLB organizational spending on various departments geared toward on-field improvement and performance, such as technology, player development, scouting and health, have taken place between Major League Baseball and high-level team officials.

Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic broke that news Tuesday. An MLB spokesperson told them that the focus on curtailing spending is on technology vendors.

“There is nothing happening on that front,” the spokesperson told The Athletic. “What we are focused on is gathering information on vendor costs to find potential cost savings through efficiencies and to ensure equal access to all technology.”

However, Drellich and Rosenthal stated that multiple sources revealed the discussions and lines of thinking include personnel caps as well. They also said that MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Morgan Sword spoke about the cost-control topic with club financial officers last week.

One unnamed club official provided some remarks to Drellich and Rosenthal on the matter.

“I heard (the idea of limits) discussed at the ownership level. I don’t know where it originated. It’s about competitive balance. … I’ve been in the game 20 years. The number of people we have in our clubhouse working with the players has tripled, quadrupled in size.”

Another executive noted that the issue isn’t with teams spending more money than others on various expenses. Rather, the issue is that those teams aren’t bringing in enough money to invest in those departments.

“Enough on the expense side,” the executive said. “You should be encouraging people to learn how to make money.”

There’s a massive gap between teams on the player payroll side as it is, with some owners willing to go all out for wins while others prefer to save as much money as possible. Per Spotrac, the No. 1 New York Mets outspend the No. 30 Oakland Athletics by $285 million, for example.

It’s not a surprise that there’s murmurs about capping spending on certain departments, especially with some notoriously tight-fisted teams spending far less than the league average. Ultimately, these reported talks don’t appear to be leading to anything immediately concrete, but it’s certainly a development to watch moving forward.

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