Last weekend Mark posed the hypothetical…”OK, the deal with theDevil is this:
Dodgers win in 2019, but have a losing record and are like KC, TB or MIAMI for the next 10 years… big time suck!”
I apologize, but I just could not let it go. So please ignore if you so desire.
I do not accept that as a plausible hypothetical. There is no way the Dodgers are in any danger of losing like KC, TB, or Miami. They have the largest attendance of any ML team, and their TV revenues far surpass anything those three teams could generate. The only way the Dodgers become one of those teams is if they choose to, and I do not believe that is in any way a consideration.
Let’s just say what is really meant. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to win this year? There are two ways to look at it:
- Pay for it.
- Trade for it.
Let’s start with the “pay for it” scenario. Most on this site (including me) were against paying Harper 13 years $330MM. But let’s look at this with a little more scrutiny. Currently the Dodgers are the #4 highest AAV salaried team behind Boston, Cubs, and NYY. The Nats and Phillies are close, but the Dodgers still top them both per Cots.
Let’s assume that the Dodgers wanted Bryce Harper no matter the cost and offered 13 years and $338MM. That is $26MM AAV which would take the Dodgers just north of NYY but still behind Boston and Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers AAV salary would be $224,168,333. That seems quite extravagant except when you consider that the Dodgers year end salaries for the years 2013-2017 were as follows:
2014 – $257,283,410
2015 – $291,056,310
2016 – $252,551,634
2017 – $253,633,893
Those salaries were paid at a time when the team was under financial scrutiny for debt service concerns. But since the ownership group purchased the team, the value of the Dodgers has increased from $2B to $3B, and all pending litigation seems to have gone away. The team has made a profit for at least the last two years. So, is there a financial liquidation concern? If so, then perhaps they should consider selling the team to an investor group that values winning and cashing out.
Also consider that even with the AAV approaching $225MM, the Dodgers will lose nearly $72MM in salary commitments for 2020. That does not take into consideration whether Kenley opts out since I do not consider that scenario, but it is possible. Consider an estimated $15MM of that $72MM will have to be reinvested for increases to arbitration eligible players. That would make the Dodgers potential AAV for 2020 around $167,168,333; more than $40MM below the 2020 CBT threshold of $208MM. That would give them ample space to potentially sign Strasburg or Sale or Cole or Rendon as FA or wait until Mookie Betts is available the year after, when they lose another $16MM. They would have to replace Hill, Ryu, Freese, Fields, and Cingrani, but with $40MM they could buy what they cannot cover with their prospects still intact because they did not have to trade them for a bat like Harper’s.
I am not a Harper advocate so him not being signed is not a major disappointment for me. But that does not take away from the exercise as to whether I would be willing to pay that price for the right player? Would I even hesitate if Mike Trout were available. The answer is I would pay it and more for the right player. I would sell out to get that player if I needed to. If I am willing to go all out for Mike Trout, then I am willing to go all out for the right player. A salary commitment of $225MM is not too much if it meant that missing bat or arm. Especially if knowing that it was a one-year luxury tax event.
Now let’s consider the trade scenario. We are not being ridiculous and even considering trading Corey Seager, Walker Buehler, or Cody Bellinger. JT, Hill, and Kenley are all unlikely as due to their age and salary, the return would not be worth the loss. Kershaw is untradeable due to 10/5 rights. What other player is untouchable? For me…None. For the right return, all prospects would be considered. Would I be willing to trade…say Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, for 3+ years of Chris Sale at a very team friendly contract? Boston did. Boston’s #1 and #5 prospects and their #24 (Luis Alexander Basabe) for Chris Sale. It has been my understanding from a good source that the holdback from the Dodgers completing that 2016 deadline trade for Sale was the refusal of including Julio Urias. I have no clue who else was considered, but the only players that were untouchable should have been Corey Seager and Walker Buehler. I am sure that a good package of Urias (Dodgers #2), De Leon (#3) Holmes (#5), and Verdugo (#7) could have gotten it done. They did trade their #4 (Montas), #5 (Holmes), and #17 (Cotton) for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick. So maybe that package plus Urias (#2) and De Leon (#3) gets Sale? I do not think it would have taken all 5, but maybe 3 and Verdugo, as long as one of the three was Urias. Would I have done it? In a heartbeat. Would that have set the team back a decade? Hardly. Plus financially, Sale’s salary for the 3+ years was $9.15MM (2016), $12MM (2017), $12.5MM (2018), and $15MM (2019). They would not have to have paid $48MM for Hill for the same three years.
So if the Dodgers are willing to spend or make a trade with prospects for that one game changer that changes the Dodgers into potentially the best team in MLB rather than the best team in the NL West, I would say that I would consider it KNOWING that it would not set the organization back 10 years. The Los Angeles Dodgers have far too many resources to let one bad FA contract or one bad trade of top prospects hurt the team for a decade. They are not KC, Tampa Bay, or Miami. They are the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they should not be afraid to think and act BIG.
Now Hear This!
Hello everyone! This is Mark. I think LA DODGER TALK is the best baseball community on this planet. We have lots of bloggers and members who obviously have a lot of love and knowledge about the Dodgers. One thing is certain – we are all never going to agree about everything. See, even AC and I disagree about lots of stuff (he’s wrong, of course 😉 ), like today where hedoes not accept that as a plausible hypothetical.Well, I don’t accept that he doesn’t accept that as a plausible hypothetical. Ha! We can all disagree… but we can’t be disagreeable.
Maybe I started it yesterday by saying “Shut the hell up!” I was being sarcastic, much like when I call Plaschke a moron. I also frequently call myself a moron as well, but I will accept the blame for starting it. I’m, sorry, but here’s the point:
We need to all get along and show each other respect.No sniping or threats or fighting. It’s been a long time since I kicked anyone off this board, but when word wars start they often escalate out of control. Let’s just get along. Agree to disagree… and disagree without being disagreeable. Let’s keep this the best Dodger Blog on the planet. Jon Weisman (whom I count as a friend) used to post rules, but I simply say “Abide by the Golden Rule” and nothing bad will happen. Peace Out!
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming!