Some players only get one shot at a big payday in Free Agency, and knowing that, they have to take the best offer. Their agent plays a part as well, after all, he gets a percentage of their contract – why would he negotiate a deal that will get him less money? Some free agents, say “it’s not about the money” when we all know that it is and if we were in the same position as they were, we would likely go for the money as well. Yes, It’s All About the Money… except when it’s not!
Case in point are the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers who have had at least four players sign with them for less money than they could have gotten elsewhere… simply because they wanted to play for the Dodgers. Over a year ago, I predicted Kenley Jansen might be the first $100 million reliever, but he signed with the Dodgers for $80 million because he did not want to go anywhere else. By all accounts he could have gotten $6 to $10 million more, but he wanted to remain a Dodger. I think Justin Turner left the most money on the table. He signed for $64 million but made it clear to his agent from Jump Street that he wanted to stay in Blue. Had he played the game, I think he could have gotten over $80 million.
Now, you can say “It’s not that big of a deal, it’s only a few million.” That’s absurd. If you look at the time value of money, one million dollars can become $8 or $9 million dollars in 20 years if invested properly. Even if you get $80 million, an extra $6 million is a lot of money and Florida has no state tax so Kenley may have left a whole lot more than that on the table to be a Dodger.
Chase Utley and Sergio Romo took less because they both wanted to be Dodgers at the end of their careers. They both grew up rooting for the Dodgers ands simply wanted to play for them… no matter what the cost. Oh, by the way, they want to win with them as well! Those are the guys I want – not mercenaries, but players who bleed Dodger Blue! These guys are high on the Dodgers, believe in management and their teammates and want to bring a Championship back to LA. Those are guys I would want to go to war with.
This speaks volumes about the Dodgers front office, management and coaching, but it goes beyond that. The Dodgers have nice digs for the players and with the help of Gabe Kapler and the full endorsement of Andrew Friedman, they are cultivating mind, body and soul enhancement with fitness, nutrition and spiritual focuses. They are helping their players in every way possible. FAZ came close last year… very close – this year they are even better and have more depth. They are going for it, while still building a juggernaut of a farm system.
… and yet, I continue to hear really ______________ (you fill in the blank) people continue to bash FAZ. I mean, there are people losing their minds because they signed Utley, Romo and Gutierrez. They are calling for Friedman’s head and continuing to compare his accomplishments to Theo Epsteins. How crazy! First of all, I like Theo – I like what he did in Boston and I like what he has done in Chicago. I like it a lot – he is one of the best and brightest in baseball. No question about that!
I was listening to MLB Radio a few days ago and some former GM’s were talking about how hard it is to try and win while rebuilding. In fact, they said it was close to impossible. They stated that it’s so much easier and more predictable to blow it up and rebuild than it is to maintain a winning team while rebuilding. They were talking about the White Sox and the Cubs, and while the Sox have started a Fire Sale (get it “Sale”?) they really need to finish by trading away Quintana, Frazier, Abreu and others. They said “Look how Theo did it for the Cubs – he got the fans to buy into a complete re-build and just blew up the team and rebuilt it.” They said the Cubs rebuilding by Theo “should be the plan that the White Sox follow.”
I totally agree, but some fans persist in blasting Friedman because, by ownership mandate, they would not allow Andrew to blow up the team. Before Friedman came to the Dodgers, they traded for Gonzalez and Crawford and paid them $43 million last year for less than 2 WAR. Add in Andre Ethier and they paid $61 million for less than 2 WAR…. AND THEY STILL ALMOST WON IT ALL! Look, I am not into comparing Theo and Andrew. Theo has won more primarily because of the situation he was in: (i.e., working for the deep pocket Red Sox and being allowed to do a re-build his way with the Cubs).
Could Friedman have rebuilt the Cubs like Epstein did? Could Epstein have won as many games for the tight-wad Rays as Friedman did? Could Friedman have won a World Series with the Red Sox? Could Theo have rebuilt the Dodgers while continuing to win like Friedman? Those are questions we can never know the answers to. Some say that in Andrew’s last few year at TB, he did not draft so well and that is true. However, when you work for a small market team that has little cash, you often have to draft who you think you can sign…. not always whom you want. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
I don’t compare Joe Maddon to Dave Roberts, Clayton Kershaw to Chris Sale, Theo to Andrew or Michael Jordan to Lebron James. They are all in the top of their fields. Why do you have to rank them? Theo already has a legacy because he is older than Andrew. Andrew is building his… not to be compared to Theo – just compare him to what we have had in player development for the past 30 years.
I find it absurd that people try and rank who the best Quarterback of all time is based upon number of Super Bowls (not that winning a SB is not important). It’s hard to rank who is number one, but I think these guys are in the conversation: Brady, Montana, Elway, Marino, Manning, Starr, Favre, Manning and some I have left out. It all depends upon your subjective perspective.
So, here we are: The farm is rebuilt – the Dodgers are primed to win it all this year (good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise). Me? I am enjoying the run, which is why I had to resurrect LA Dodger Talk. Feel free to disagree with anything I say, but be forewarned: “I have been right more than I have been wrong about what Friedman would accomplish.” I predicted great things from this front office and it is coming to pass.
I have to tell you (as if you don’t already know) that I have a great deal of difficulty in suffering foolish stuff! I admit it’s a weakness and I have gotten better in my 63 years on this earth. I’d say that by 126, I will have it conquered. I’m sure I will live to be that old because…
- Three more days!
- I hear Trayce Thompson will likely go on the 60 day DL just to bring him along slowly. He is doing everything pain-free except swinging a bat and they want him to take that slow.
- The Dodgers have 65 players invited to Major League Camp. That may be an All-Time record! To me, it shows the level of commitment to winning now.
- Lindy’s Sports Baseball 2017 Ranks the Top Five Players at every position. Corey Seager is ranked the #1 SS and Yasmani Grandal is ranked the #3 catcher, behind Posey and Lucroy. Kenley Jansen is ranked #2 closer behind Britton and ahead of Chapman. Clayton Kershaw was ranked the #1 LH starter with Julio Urias listed as “on the rise.” There’s those ranking again. 😉