A Closer Look at the Los Angeles Dodgers' Busy Summer
For the past two decades, the New York Yankees have been condemned by baseball purists for spending too much money each season on payroll. With payrolls reaching as high as $200 million a season, there is some validity to that argument. However, it looks like the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to make the Yankees look like penny pinchers.
Greinke Gets $147 Million
The Dodgers recently signed free agent pitcher Zack Greinke to a 6 year, $147 million contract. That was enough to push the Dodgers payroll to $214 million for the next season. This is extraordinary because the Dodgers only have 21 players under contract for next season. With four more players to sign just to get to the minimum 25 man roster, the Dodgers are expected to add even more to that number.
The Yankees Streak Could Be Over
For the past 14 seasons, the New York Yankees have been the highest spending team in baseball. However, new ownership wants to make sure that the Yankees get under the luxury tax threshold for next season. That means that the Yankees are going to be spending less than $180 million if they meet their goal. To put the Dodgers spending in perspective, the Yankees never spent more than $209 million in a single season. If the Dodgers keep up their torrid spending pace, they will set the major league record for most money spent on opening day payroll.
Is This Good For Baseball?
Many baseball fans pointed to the Yankees as an example of why baseball needs a salary cap. The argument should be no different when it comes to the Dodgers. While having an owner who likes to spend money is good for the fans of the team, it creates a situation where only a few teams are reasonably competitive each year. That can create apathy among fans in cities such as Kansas City and Pittsburgh where owners either won't or can't spend that much money.
Does This Guarantee Success?
The argument can be made that the Dodgers won't necessarily win a lot of games simply because they have spent a lot of money. The Baltimore Orioles had huge payrolls in the early part of the century and never even sniffed the playoffs. You also have to consider that teams such as the Miami Heat, Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Eagles have struggled even after their owners increased payrolls to bring in extra talent.
Spending $36 million on South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin could be money wasted if he doesn't translate well as a number three starter for the Dodgers. Matt Kemp could have a down year or Clayton Kershaw could ultimately falter as well. However, it is likely that Los Angeles would simply buy more talent if need be.
When it is all said and done, the LA Dodgers have bought themselves nothing but a few intriguing players. Spending money does not always equate to success right away. The San Francisco Giants are proof that a smaller payroll can land a championship just as easily as a larger one does. The Dodgers should be ready for the pressure that goes along with huge expectations and fans who demand a championship as the return on the huge investment made in the players.
About the Author: Don Phan is an avid baseball fan and recommends FansEdge for the latest in official MLB apparel for all 30 teams.