When the offseason started, the general thinking was that multi-year contracts would be handed out like TVs on Ellen DeGeneres’ 12 Days of Christmas shows. Why wouldn’t it? The weapons race across the MLB was legitimate, teams had serious holes to fill and a World Series feels in grasp given how flukey the postseason can be in baseball.
Thing is: the market has been inordinately slow developing as draft picks are valued higher and teams are so reluctant to tie themselves to long-term lucrative deals, which works in the Dodgers’ favor, however indirectly.
The Dodgers have obviously clearly stated that their goal is to lower their long-term payroll to something closer to self-sufficient. That said, they are willing to spend when there is value to be found. Case in point: the $20 million posting fee for Kenta Maeda, for example, as it led to his incentive-heavy deal, which works in the Dodgers’ favor.
The Dodgers’ offense, especially at the end of the year, was anemic to say the least. Now, as fans said yesterday, the team’s youth developing will probably have a larger impact on the offense than simply signing or trading for a big bat.
One way to alleviate some of that burden is to sign said power hitter on a short-term contract and higher guarantee, which some guys might be interested in so as to sign a longer-term deal next year.
This obviously isn’t in play in the immediate future, as there is still a decent chance a couple more major deals might be handed out, but as the market dries and this scenario looks increasingly likely, the Dodgers’ opportunistic spending becomes a major advantage over teams like the Giants, who might have spent their way out of bidding for Yoenis Cespedes or Justin Upton.