White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, speaking from his team’s Spring Training location in Glendale, yesterday said the Sox won’t be in on Pujols, should he actually reach free agency after this season.

In doing so, Williams criticized the current economics of the game, even going so far as to suggets a shutdown in order to straighten things out.

“For the game’s health as a whole, when we’re talking about 30 million dollar players, I think it’s asinine,” Williams said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet. “We have gotten to the point of no return. Something has to happen. And if it means the game being shut down for the sake of bringing sanity to it, to franchises that aren’t going to stop the insanity, I’m all for it.”

Considering the White Sox just raised their payroll for 2011 to around $125 million, a franchise record, one could say that Williams is just as guilty as the other big market teams who are contributing to the escalating salaries. But Williams is simply playing by the rules that the league set forth, a system without a salary cap, that gives big market teams a significant advantage over the smaller teams.

And get this: it’s a luxury Williams says he doesn’t even want.

“I personally, from a competitive standpoint, would love to be on an even playing field with everyone,” Williams said. “But it’s really difficult for me to complain too much when we still have a higher payroll than some of the others. So at least we have a fighting chance.”

Pirates, Royals, Marlins…Kenny Williams is looking out for you. And he’s not the only one.

“Jerry Reinsdorf put it best when he and I had a conversation about it, he said, ‘It’s a shame that our game is played, and when the game starts, everybody plays under the same rules, the same 27 outs. The problem is, before the game, the rules are completely different.’” CSNChicago.

I must confess, I have some respect for Williams advocating a position that goes against his interests (though, given that Reinsdorf supports the position, Williams isn’t really going out on a limb) – though it’s probably a popular, if quiet, position among baseball executives outside of New York and Boston.

It’s nice to learn that there will be one fewer large market team bidding on Pujols, if nothing else.

  • coolness

    A) sounds like Kenny just doesn’t want to Cubs to sign Pujols

    B) If anything, baseball should have a minimum salary cap. Teams like Pittsburgh who receive money from the luxury tax but do not reinvest it needs to stop.

    • Ace

      Well, a minimum without a maximum wouldn’t do enough, right? You can force the Pirates to spend $80 million, but if the Yanks are consistently spending $200 million, the same problems will exist, albeit tempered.

  • Philoe Beddoe

    Don’t you find it ironic that in our capitalisitic society, baseball is the only major sport that does not have a salary cap, and the NFL, NBA, and NHL do(akin to socialism I would suppose)? Yet everyone whines about baseball being so outta whack…but it is true supply and demand, and competition….I am not saying which is right or wrong…I just think its a great analogy…there would have to be a salary floor for baseball…and I don’t see a cap coming to the MLB…because the MLB players union is the most powerful union in the history of the universe.

  • Jeff

    You are right Philoe, baseball is pretty much a socialist system. All teams pay into the pot, and it is distributed throughout the league. Teams like Florida and Pittsburgh have been pulling in far more in shared revenue than they have been putting into team payroll. It is a big problem, but much like Ace said, it’s only half the problem. There are 8 or so teams that can afford to spend 100 million plus consistently every year, and 4 or 5 teams that don’t spend 40 million a year. The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, teams probably should have to spend somewhere between 40 and 100 million on payroll if you wanted true competitive balance. I personally think there is too wide of a margin between NY, Boston, and Chicago, compared to smaller markets like Pitt and KC. The Yankees, or Cubs for that matter, would never get away with spending less than 100 million a year, and KC and/or PItt would go under if they even attempted to. It’s the giant elephant in the room and it’s not going away anytime soon, which is why we will continue to hear about shared revenue and contraction.

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