In the National Basketball Association, each franchise is allowed to waive one player prior to the start of any season from 2011–12 through 2015–16 without having their salary count toward the team’s salary cap or luxury tax. The team must still pay the player they waive the previously agreed upon salary if he goes unclaimed, and if another team does claim the player, the claiming team acquires him at a reduced rate with the waiving team paying the balance owed on the contract.
The transaction rule is unique to the NBA, but with the National Hockey League recently triggering a lockout while it negotiates a new collective bargaining agreement with its players’ association, The Score’s hockey blog, Backhand Shelf, imagined a scenario wherein the NHL adopted this specific NBA policy. From there, Chris Lund went through every team and estimated which contract would be the most likely to be let go.
Of course, Major League Baseball’s lack of a salary cap and the extreme structure of its luxury tax policies wouldn’t lend itself to a similar rule being enacted. However, since we’re dealing with a fantasy world here where we make the rules, let’s pretend that there exists a unique brand of amnesty that allows MLB teams to drop one contract from its payroll without any repercussions.
This is obviously something that the MLBPA would never allow to take place, but let’s go through each team and figure out what contract, if any, is most burdensome to its success.