Are the Dodgers just Throwing Money at a world series Dream?
Dodgers fans were beyond elated when the Mccourt ownership era came to an end, and welcomed in the new ownership group led by Magic Johnson. Instantly for fans the air around Chavez Ravine became that much more crisp, the sun shined that much more brighter and there was a renewed sense of pride in repping Dodger blue and white. GM Nick Colletti and the rest of the front office are on a mission to accomplish something this year and for the future, the Dodgers have an urgent desire to win, and the acquistions of Hanley Ramirez and now the mega-deal from the Red Sox it’s clear they want to win now in this year. But have lines between renewed vitality and urge to win reached the realms of desperate?
The blockbuster deal that has left more heads scratching more than anything else, and has Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto all coming to the Dodgers. Meanwhile LA has sent the Red Sox back James Loney and 4 prospects, and the Dodgers brace themselves with their now $250 million dollars in added salary. All four of the now former Red Sox players left a lot to be desired during their stints in Fenway which was only made more glarring with their bloated contracts. The Red Sox tried to do ‘Yankee-like’ spending but it only resulted in what will now be a 3rd straight year with no post season, so why have the Dodgers bitten?
Josh Beckett has a 5.23 ERA with a 5:11 wins to loss ratio. Carl Crawford is for all intents and purposes–a mess, the guy was picked up by the Red Sox through a scouting gaff of epic proportions, the guy is a ‘nice’ player with great speed but how that amounts in a whopping $142 million contract is now something Dodgers fans are gonna be left wondering. Crawford is now going to be sidelined for most of next year as he’s now recovering from Tommy John’s surgery, so I’m sure that’s just the kind of player the Dodgers will be thrilled in the long term going over the luxury tax for (but more on that later). Adrian Gonzalez is making his return to SoCal after his promising start in Boston fizzled out, if there’s any silver lining in this pickup for LA this is it, Gonzo is still a remarkable player who was being stifled in Boston with the drama there so he should bounce back. And then there’s Mr. Nick Punto he brings to LA a formidable .200 Batting Average and boasting more strikeouts than actual hits…wonderful.
Now back to this luxury tax thing that the Dodger’s front office has conveniently gotten a case of amnesia about. The collective bargaining agreement states that any payroll over $178 million in 2013, or $189 million in 2014 will be taxed for any amount over–20% in Dodgers case. Now let’s get this right, this is based on annual salary value so for example, Adrian Gonzalez will be making $21 million in 2013 so just add that salary with the rest of the roster’s then subtract things like Boston’s payout for the players sent over, and the fact that salary is added up by VALUE rather than actual payout you still wind up with a projected total payout that spills out right over that $178 million mark. Think about that for a second, that literally means that the Dodgers are in win now mode, because unless they plan on breaking the luxury tax bank wide open there is no other big names they can afford. So that deads all possibilities of fixing the pitching rotation, and with 4 prospects on their way to Boston there’s going to be some slim pickings there as well. Was this the Dodgers being the ‘anti-Nationals’ who are resting their best pitcher BY CHOICE and holding sure in the future instead of the now, and if so shouldn’t we be commending the Dodgers for putting a premium on the now and getting out of the doldrums of the McCourt era?
The Red Sox are paying the price of being overly anxious and trying to throw money on winning instead of looking at the bigger picture. No team (and that includes the Yankees and the 2012 Phillies) wins from just throwing money at a problem, buying the best players and throwing them in a lockerroom does not an instant championship team make, what about fundamentals, chemistry and last but not least heart? Believe it or not there is a diva complex that exists in the world of baseball and for the past few seasons that’s what the Boston Red Sox lockerroom was predicated off, players who looked after themselves first and foremost, and in the case of Josh Beckett would rather play golf than rest an injury. So now the Boston burden has moved to LA and the Dodgers hope to do what the Red Sox couldn’t, turn this bunch into their old selves and reach October glory as a result. While I admire the Dodgers’ effort to focus on winning, I just still fail to see the logic of what was essentially them paying Saks Fifth Avenue-like prices to go shopping at a garage sale for the Red Sox ‘junk’. Either this will go down as a stroke of genius from the Dodger’s front office or the Dodger’s will have almost irreparable damage done and leave fans to again wonder ‘when will someone get it right?’