Anytime we post some new rumor, the blowback on social gets progressively louder, more negative. We understand, though. It must get old when it feels like the Dodgers are connected to every single free agent and the story goes as follows:
“Dodgers Rumors: Team Shows Interested in (insert free agent here)” then: “Dodgers Rumors: Team Remains Interested in So-And-So” and, finally: “Dodgers News: (Insert free agent here) Signs With (Insert any team not named Dodgers)”.
Trust me, it’s frustrating for us, too. By extension, it sounds like the coverage might wear on the front office, too. We heard from Stan Kasten first on the inherent criticism for sports executives, then on how the Dodgers’ offseason has gone.
He had more to say, though, in his interview with ESPN’s Mark Saxon.
In that case, is there a disconnect between the way the Dodgers operate their baseball team, concentrating on the farm system, and the way national media and other teams think they still operate it, by throwing around money?
Kasten: I don’t know. I do know everyone saw us make a reach for big-ticket items when that worked for us. It really only worked this offseason with the way we felt personally about Zack [Greinke]. We decided we would stretch for him. Once that didn’t occur, I know our name was thrown out there on everybody. Part of that is because we do touch base with everyone and once that happens, agents can characterize that touching base however it suits their purposes. We haven’t wanted any of the other big-ticket items for various reasons, from physical reasons to age to the way it was going to fit together for us. Everything we do has to make sense in the short term and in the long term. We value our flexibility now and that’s only going to increase.
So, for those who feel like the Dodgers are somehow connected to every free agent and trade target, it’s because they are. Just as how they cast a wide net in their managerial search, the front office does their due diligence quite extensively, as they should.
That last sentence regarding flexibility just further hammers home their top priority. Re-signing Grienke would obviously have improved the team’s immediate outlook, having more than $30 million devoted to a pitcher closer to 40 than 30 doesn’t scream flexibility.
Greinke would at least have been explainable down the road, too. Guys like Johnny Cueto or Jeff Samardzija would be less so if their contracts play out poorly over the next few years.