The poles have shifted. Or rather, the baseball pendulum has swayed from the East to the West. The Dodgers’ payroll will be larger than the Yankees’ spending has ever been. The Dodgers will have the most bloated payroll in 2013 with over $222 million on the books including over $11 million still owed to Manny Ramirez and epic Dodger failure Andruw Jones. This is still not including the salaries for lesser paid players and any future trades or contract extensions (perhaps a $200 million deal is coming for Clayton Kershaw). The seemingly limitless budget of the Guggenheim Baseball Management ownership team has often referred to the “dream team” in which they are attempting to piece together. Yet the gigantic monetary investment in which the GBM has made to the franchise in the span of around nine months was in order to rebuild the storied and historically rich Dodgers back to the level in which they deserve to be.
Spending on a multitude of levels also included revitalizing the front office and
scouting departments. An international scouting team has been assembled, and the Dodgers have already made headlines by signing prospects like Cuban defector Yasiel Puig and 2013 starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu out of Korea. They are also spending money on Dodger Stadium infrastructure including new clubhouses for the players, installation of cell phone towers for improved Wi-Fi connectivity for fans, increased opportunities for fan interactions and autograph events, and other yet to be announced amenity improvements to the ballpark itself. The primary target of the GBM’s spending spree is top tier
talent. With Frank McCourt long gone, Ned Colletti is free to pursue almost any player whether via free agency or trade. While he was scrambling last offseason to sign a couple of bargain pitchers like Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano, a two-for-one deal if you will, this offseason Colletti is instead bringing big names like Zack Greinke into Blue. No contract is too big for this new ownership. Players are wanting to play in Los Angeles. There was even rumors that Josh Hamilton contacted the Dodgers to talk before he signed with the Angels. I’d bet that if the Dodgers hadn’t already shored up their outfield with Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier, they would have been in on Josh Hamilton as well. That’s okay though since I’d take Matt Kemp over Josh Hamilton any day.
Many writers are predicting a “Freeway World Series” for 2013. The Angels and Dodgers both have signed some elite players who garnered gargantuan contracts, but will all this West Coast shopping equal success on the field and into October? While a potentially very lucrative television deal is in the works for the Dodgers whether with FOX, Time Warner, or by creating their own network, they will need to not flop in 2013 while the expectations for the team are at an all-time high. Many fans of other teams would like to see the Dodgers fail after all this expenditure. The thing is, all this spending was in order to rebuild the franchise for many years to come. Of course they want to win now, but the Dodgers had a lot of catching up to do. We could very well see a Dodgers and Angels world series in 2013. I can’t wait for a Joe Blanton versus Josh Beckett game five.