Are the Dodgers the new Yankees?

10 12 2012

I haven’t been paying that much attention to the hot stove league this year – with a baby, things like that kind of go by the wayside.  Plus I’m in a fantasy basketball league and am in the playoffs for fantasy football.  Green Bay’s defensive touchdown just now may have done me in.

2012 Heritage Fantasy Keepers Kemp

But while surfing ESPN I just saw that Zach Greinke had signed with the Dodgers.  The Dodgers now project to have the highest payroll in the majors next year – yes, more than the Yankees.  And I don’t think it’s all that close.  I read something like $230 million.  The largest payroll in history (which is admittedly an inexact science – but I believe is based on the team at the beginning of the year) of any team thus far was the 2008 Yankees, who were at $209 million.  The Yankees have been the highest payroll every year since 1998, when the Orioles were surprisingly the top team (the Bombers were second that year).  That streak will almost assuredly end this year.  Here’s the projected Dodgers payroll for 2013.  Guys in italics were not on the 2012 opening day roster.

  • $29 million (estimate) – Zack Greinke (signed as a free agent this weekend – owed $147 million through 2018)
  • $21 million – Adrian Gonzalez (obtained in 2012 season via trade with Red Sox – owed $127 million through 2018)
  • $20 million – Matt Kemp (owed $148 million through 2019)
  • $20 million – Carl Crawford (obtained via Red Sox trade – owed $102 million through 2017)
  • $15.75 million – Josh Beckett (obtained via Red Sox trade – owed $31 million through 2014)
  • $15.5 million – Hanley Ramirez (obtained in 2012 season via trade with Marlins – owed $31 million through 2014)
  • $13.5 million – Andre Ethier (owed $100 million through 2018, potential buyout in 2018)
  • $12 million – Ted Lilly (free agent after this season)
  • $11 million – Chad Billingsley (owed $37 million through 2015, potential buyout in 2015)
  • $11 million – Clayton Kershaw (arbitration eligible after this season, unrestricted free agent after 2014)
  • $8 million – Juan Uribe (free agent after this season)
  • $7 million – Aaron Harang (owed $14 million through 2014, potential buyout in 2014)
  • $6 million – Ryu Hin-Jin (signed from Korean league this weekend, owed $36 million through 2018, plus they paid a $25.7 million posting fee to negotiate)
  • $6 million – Chris Capuano (owed $12 million through 2014, potential buyout in 2014)
  • Brandon League (obtained in 2012 season via trade with Mariners – owed $28 million through 2018)
  • $5.25 million – Mark Ellis (owed $11 million through 2014, potential buyout in 2014)

That’s $177 million for 15 players next year, $113 mil of which was not on the opening day roster.  If you factor in the posting fee for Hin-Jin, add $26 million to each of those.  This doesn’t count that they owe Manny Ramirez money deferred from his previous contract (around $8 million this year).

I’m not exactly sure what this means.  On a macro level, this off-season contract figures have really jumped up, continuing a trend that seemed to start with the Angels and Marlins last year.  This could have future ramifications on a couple of levels.  If Greinke gets $147 million at age 29, what will Kershaw command next year at the age of 25?  Heck, stepping outside of the Dodgers – what would a guy like Johnny Cueto command in 2 years?  King Felix will be poised to break the bank after the 2014 season!  David Price could do the same in 3 years ago.  That may be too far ahead, and prices could contract as their may be fewer big players in the market then (since the Dodgers, Nationals, Angels and even the Blue Jays are going to be feeling the longer-term effects of their moves this year).  For the Dodgers, it’s hard to see them being anything but the World Series favorite next year – but if they don’t win a championship over the next three years or so – they could be severely hamstrung.

Anyways, I just thought that was interesting.  I kind of like it, to be honest.  They aren’t in the Reds division, and I feel like the playoffs are a bit of a crapshoot.  Aside from the Yankees, the Dodgers are up there (maybe with Boston and the Cubs) as the most recognizable franchise in the sport.  I like the Yankees not being first in payroll for once, but I also hope the Dodgers don’t turn into a richer version of the Marlins (meaning they need to dump salary on to someone else) 3 years from now.

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5 responses

10 12 2012
Zippy Zappy

How dare you compare my beloved Yankees to those traitorous Dodgers.
Lol, they are digging themselves a rather deep grave though. In addition to the payroll you posted, the Dodgers also signed a Cuban minor leaguer named Yasiel Puig to a 7 year 42 million contract a few months back.
All that adds up to an immense headache the Dodgers are going to face when Kershaw becomes a free agent and when the luxury tax comes into play in 2014 (which’ll future complicate the Kershaw situation). Which I admit is similar to the problems the Yankees’ll have with Cano becoming a free agent after 2013 as well as that f’ing luxury tax.

10 12 2012
chuckneo

Good point on the luxury tax – I didn’t even point that out. The Yankees are trying to get under that, but it seems like the Dodgers are just willing to blow by the number.

10 12 2012
Zippy Zappy

Well in the Dodger’s case you could say that both the team and their fans have been waiting ages for the Dodgers to once again be World Champions. Something that they’re going to have to be in 2013 after all of their headline grabbing.
According to some interesting articles I’ve read the Dodgers have a lot of money coming thanks to their TV deal (and could get an even bigger one in the future) so unlike the Yankees the Dodgers are looking like they’re going to give the luxury tax the finger. And I have a feeling that if they end up winning the World Series in 2013 they’ll probably have the same attitude in 2014 and sign Kershaw to what could possibly be a contract that’ll be worse than A-Rod’s (that will no doubt increase the number of zeros that Verlander will get as well).

10 12 2012
nighttimeowl

The Dodgers are well-aware of the luxury tax. Like Zippy Zappy says, they don’t care, because of the record TV deal they’re going to get. They’ve got plenty of cash for Kershaw, etc.

There are a lot of people acting concerned for the Dodgers’ welfare, and I’ve been trying to figure out why people are behaving this way. I keep thinking it’s jealousy, but I think it’s more than that. Or maybe it’s just that no one has encountered a team acting like the Dodgers are acting and they’re upset that they can’t define it. Or maybe I’m overthinking it.

At any rate, the Dodgers will definitely not be the Marlins. Altho I can see them discarding big-contract players who don’t perform without a thought, I don’t think they’ll do it enmasse, and they have so much cash that they will continue to look for the best players. It won’t be “gut-build-gut-build.”

And, no the Dodgers aren’t the new Yankees. Dodgers have been doing this for not even a year. And there aren’t even any results to see yet.

10 12 2012
chuckneo

I think the reason for “concern” or what not is really that we haven’t seen this kind of behavior (i.e. – cash spending) by any team other than the Yankees. Should have clarified – I was thinking more of the WS champ Marlins of 1997 than the 2012 Marlins. A better team to think of may be the 2010/2011 Red Sox. That’s the closest non-Yankee team to spend anything like this – and less than 2 years later they wanted to get rid of most of their big contracts. Plus, it’s easy to look at those teams because 3 of those contracts are from that Red Sox trade.

So, yes – it does seem difficult to define and that’s what makes it interesting. But, it’s hard to look at the Dodgers and not wonder if they are more like:
a) the Red Sox of 2010/11, who spared no expense to get/keep guys like Crawford, Gonzo, Beckett, Lackey and even Ortiz. And then they weren’t able to sustain it and jumped at the chance to get out of those contracts.
b) the Yankees of the late-90′s to mid-00′s, who paid top dollar to get/keep guys like Clemens, Giambi, A-Rod, Teixeira, CC, Jeter – and were able to sustain it despite some that didn’t turn out well like Pavano, Kevin Brown, Burnett.

You’re right in that it’s not even been a year – so it’s TBD. The answer is probably “C” in that they will become their own animal, but I think the TV contract referenced means they may be closer to “B”. We’ll see.

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