Here are the results from this week's poll.. a day late. I got a little distracted by the Roy Oswalt post, apparently.
Should there be a salary cap in baseball?
Yes 7 (63%)
No 3 (27%)
Undecided 1 (9%)
The majority of readers seem to think that a salary cap is necessary, but there is still a fairly sizable minority that seems to think a salary cap shouldn't happen.
This is a hot topic right now because Bud Selig's "special committee" may recommend such a thing, and during the next collective bargaining agreement (after the 2011 season, I believe) it may become an issue. Currently, baseball salaries are the highest of any sport, and that's because it's the only major American sport without a salary cap. Every other sport functions with a salary cap, why can't baseball?
The main reason for that the Major League Baseball Player's Union, which seems to carry considerably more weight than any other player's union in any other sport. As players, the Union obviously wants to insure that players get the most money possible, and really this seems to be their primary concern. The MLB Player's Assocation would have a hard time agreeing to a salary cap.
Would a salary cap help baseball? I think in many ways it would. It's probably the easiest way to bring parity back to the game, and put everyone at the same (or close to the same) level. People would no longer be able to complain about the Yankees and Red Sox "buying championships". All teams would have the same amount of resources to pay their players. The question gets more complicated when you consider whether or not signing bonuses paid to draft picks and international signees, as well as money put into the scouting department, counts towards the salary cap. If those things don't count, the major league teams with deeper pockets would still have an advantage, albeit a smaller one that they have ever had.
Another major question about it is where a cap would be set. Currently, only 8 teams in major league baseball have a payroll over $100 million, meaning 22 teams are already underneath that. One could probably set the salary cap at around 100 million, but there are a lot of teams that can't even afford that (see: Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland Athletics), that's the reason they don't approach $100 million anyway. Although, it's conceivable that in a world where everyone had to be under a salary cap, GMs would have an easier time asking their managers for money because the over-powering teams in each division would not be as powerful, for the most part. I think a reasonable place to set the salary cap is somewhere in the middle, something like $80million. Only 12 teams in the major leagues seem unable to reach $80 million at this point, and the extremely deep-pocketed teams would be on the same playing field.