You may think that the Dodgers WANT to get under the Luxury Tax Threshold purely to save money and that is absolutely true, but there’s another aspect to getting under the $197 million number: If they don’t, they will likely be in violation of baseball’s “Debt Service Rule.” Major League Teams must comply with certain debt to asset ratios, and while the Dodger assets are high, so is their debt. I’m sure AC can explain it better than me, but the Commissioner will not let the Dodgers slide on this one. The other MLB owners do not think it is fair that the Dodgers can outspend them by tens of millions of dollars, and they are making sure that MLB is forcing the Dodgers to HAVE to get under the threshold.
It’s not like the Dodgers are poor or in any financial crisis… far from it! Actually, from what I hear, other owners have complained about this for some time. So, the Dodgers simply HAVE to cut payroll. Now, this is not “official” – I doubt that either side wants it public, but I have read it in The LA Times and heard it from a couple of other sources. I believe that it is true. So, it’s truly moronic to criticize FAZ for not spending this winter. If Yu Darvish is available for $80 or $90 million, then the Dodgers might be motivated to trade Grandal or Wood or Ryu. Frankly, I could see them moving Wood after the year he had in 2017. Sell high!
With Buehler nearing ready and Urias ready later in the year, I could see the Dodgers trading Wood, Grandal and Pederson or Kemp (If they could just get someone to pay even $6 to $8 million a year of his deal. I happen to think that Hyun-Jin Ryu will have an excellent year… and then he walks for 2019. It’s almost a certaintity that Buehler and Urias will be in the 2019 rotation… maybe the 2018 version.
Kenta Maeda is a marginal starter in my opinion, but if he hits his marks, he could make $10 million in 2018, so he is a trade candidate if Darvish were signed. What if the Dodgers traded Wood, Maeda, Grandal, Pederson and Kemp and $7 million a year of his deal? Not to the same team, mind you: Maybe Wood and Kemp (you want Wood, you have to take Kemp) in a package and Pederson, Maeda and Grandal in another for just prospects, then flip the prospects to Miami (maybe Pederson goes there) for Yelich.
Trading all those players for Yelich and prospects would weaken the team depth, but with an outfield of Yelich in LF, Taylor in CF and Puig in RF, the offense and defense would be crazy. Actually, the team would be loaded at every postion.
Here’s the rotation in 2018
- Stripling/Buehler/Urias (later)
- Kershaw (if he’s healthy, FAZ will not let him walk, if he’s not, he won’t walk)
There’s a solid chance that Yasiel Puig takes another big step forward in 2018. When he came up in 2013, it was just too easy and the next year he backslid a little, because it came to easy to him. He wasn’t a student of the game, he was not serious about it and he did not work at it. His demotion to OKC was a wakeup call in 2016 and he has minimized his knuckleheadedry! Once you have tasted success from hard work, you want to work harder… at least most people do.
Yasiel Puig is one of the TOP Right Fielders in baseball. He’s not going anywhere soon. The trades I mentioned would constitute a BLOCKBUSTER, but the team depth would still include Hernandez, Toles, Peter, Farmer and oh… they are talking about bringing Chase Utley back.
Things could suddenly get very hot, but the thing is: Any moves have to (1) Keep the team under the Luxury Tax and (2) The moves have to improve the team. It’s going to be interesting this last month before pitchers and catcher report.