1) Tanking – Most teams are tanking due to the success of the Astros and Cubs. With losing records comes key benefits of higher draft position and more money to pay draftees. I would change it by rewarding the first team who missed the playoffs with the #1 pick and going in reverse draft order in round 1. The team who normally gets the 18th pick would be #1, 17th would be 2 until you get to the team with the worse record, then it would be the last team in the playoff. The following rounds would revert back to the traditional method.
For 2022 draft it would be Blue Jays, Mariners, A’s, Reds, Phillies…D-backs, O’s then Braves and the other playoff teams. Round 2 would then start with the O’s and D-Backs.
This would also create completive integrity in the September games.
2) Service time manipulation – From a financial standpoint I cannot blame the owners or teams for doing this, but it doesn’t make it right. Simple solution, service time starts the moment you are added to the 40-man roster. They have to protect players on their 40 man so they are not eligible to be taken in the rule 5 draft. That player must then stay on the 40 man and he will become the other teams’ property. If a team thinks he will be taken, they must also think he is ready for the MLB. His clock should start. Also there is no date or super 2 arb status. If a player is added to the 40 during that season year, it counts for that year. A player can be on the 40 and still be in AA or AAA so the MLB clock doesn’t really matter in this scenario. This could hurt the super prospects like Wander Franco, but players like him will still get paid. This helps the other 98% of players.
3) Luxury Tax ceiling and floor – MLB will not go to a Cap but I like the idea of the Luxury Tax so let’s use it both ways. I think they can up the ceiling a bit to 250M especially seeing what the contracts are looking like. I also think they should have a Luxury Tax floor that is paid dollar for dollar for whatever a team is under and set the floor at 100M (I could be talked into 75M). I also would want the tax dollars to go into a fund for youth baseball to help spread and grow the game so these Luxury tax dollars won’t go back to the teams but go back to the game. This way there is only a punitive penalty for going over or under the threshold the first few times. I would tie losing draft picks and international spending dollars for habitual offenders.
4) Luxury tax exceptions – another problem in MLB is devaluing vets and it is typically because they cost more as FA. A simple stipulation you could add is a FA signed after they turn 30 could be excluded from the Luxury Tax as long as their AAV is less than 20M. 1 per team per season. This would greatly help vet plays have and keep a job. And enable greater flexibility to put a competitive team on the field.
5) Draft pick compensation – I still think that teams should be compensated for losing home grown stars. However, this has hurt nearly all players who have compensation attached to them. I don’t see why a team needs to forfeit a draft pick for signing a player. Give that team an additional pick in front of that team for a superstar player and just give them a pick in the compensation round for a star FA. Ex if the Phillies signed Freddy Freeman to a 6 yr 180M deal, it would be over a 50M contract so he is a "superstar" and the Braves would be awarded the 16th pick bumping the Phillies and everyone else down 1 spot. If you want to preserve the first 10 or 15 spots like we do now, fine. This way teams don’t have to worry about losing a pick when they are trying to make the team better.
6) DH – just do it. I hate it but it is coming. Pitchers don’t take pride in their hitting anymore and the NL has at least 1 team with a DH every day now.
7) Expanded playoff – No. This is a big cash grab and I have a solution but first my reasoning. When MLB went to 1 WC team it got to a point that teams like the Red Sox and Yankees did not care who won the division. The WC devalued division winners. With the second WC divisions matter again. That last week with the Giants and Dodgers really mattered even though both were in the playoffs. Adding playoff teams would only devalue it more. "Oh but we will give a 1st round bye out." How is that helpful in baseball where pitching is all about rhythm and batting is all about timing? These teams that are looking at byes are your 100+ win teams. They haven’t played a competitive game since mid-September and then you are going to give them a week off an expect them to perform at a competitive playoff level? You are setting up great teams for failure. Instead you can have the WC best of 3 with a day 1 double header. Game 1 AL 11AM Game 1 NL 1PM Game 2 AL 6PM Game 2 NL 8PM. All games are at the higher seeds. Then the playoff rounds are all best of 7. This would add gate revenue and TV revenue which is what the owners want.