Dodgers Don't Let Luxury Tax Ruin Their Plans
December 15, 2016
A couple of years ago the new owners of the Dodgers spent $300 million on their roster, the highest amount in the history of baseball.
The Dodgers didn’t get into the World Series and they didn’t get there either the next season.
That could have been the reason the Dodgers didn’t compete hard enough for several elite free agent pitchers last season and lost a chance to get into the World Series.
But a few days ago the Dodgers showed the baseball world they’re serious about putting a highly competitive product on the field in the 2017 season.
Right after a significantly higher luxury tax was introduced in major league baseball last week, essentially to prevent the rich teams from signing the majority of elite free agents, the Dodgers had a dilemma. They had important roster spots to improve but they’ve already committed $188 million. Teams who spend more than $235 million will be subjected to the new higher tax.
It seemed unlikely the Dodgers would be able to sign both of their two premier free agents, Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner.
But they signed Jansen for $80 million and they’re close to retaining Turner for $64 million.
Jansen became one of baseball’s best closers last season and Turner led the offense with a barrage of key hits.
There is one problem that hasn’t been solved however. The Dodgers once again didn’t compete for elite free agent starting pitchers at the recent winter baseball meetings, so they’ll have to hope their young starters begin doing better.
They have high hopes for Kenta Maeda, who won 14 games but didn’t stay in games for enough innings to justify his status as a No. 2 or 3 starter.
And don’t expect the division rival Giants to collapse again as they did last season when their bullpen was terrible. The Giants have added elite closer Mark Malancon (four years, $64 million).
You’ll recall that the Giants lost their mid-season eight-game lead over the Dodgers and eventually the division championship
largely due to their ineffective relief pitching.
So the Dodgers are going to be pretty competitive but it goes without saying they didn’t get into the bidding for star pitcher Chris Sale, was traded by the White Sox to the Red Sox.
Imagine how successful they could have been with Sale joining Clayton Kershaw in the starting rotation.
The Dodgers might have offered some of promising young players, primarily Joc Pederson, in a deal for Sale. But they didn’t travel that route either.
I don’t questions their decisions because they have seven (yes, seven) former general managers in their front office. Seven former GMs know more about what to do more than any sportswriter.