The two streams of thought continue: All along, the Dodgers’ front office has fairly clearly stated their intention is to cut costs while remaining competitive. For whatever reason, the national media simply cannot relinquish the idea that the Dodgers will spend simply because they can.
Ken Rosenthal (who is easily the most informative entity in all of baseball coverage) is still a member of said national media. He is still doing sourced reporting, though, and his sources continue to think the Dodgers have something up their sleeve.
This, in his most recent report, seems to speak to just that:
The Dodgers, Nationals and White Sox are among the teams that, in the perception of rival executives, could do something big. The Orioles offered Davis a reported $154 million; they will spend a percentage of that if he departs. The Cardinals have yet to do anything of major significance, and — like the Nationals — offered Heyward $200 million.
The thinking is pretty straightforward. Hey, they had this much money slated for so-and-so (in the Dodgers’ case, Greinke) and when they didn’t sign or re-sign, that money can be used immediately for anyone else. Makes sense.
The issue is: That’s not a very efficient way to think about team spending.
Put it this way: If you’re at an all-you-can-eat buffet, and the food you were waiting for in line runs out when you get there, do you just fill your plate with whatever is in immediate proximity, no matter what it might be? I would hope not. Eventually you’re definitely going to fill your plate, but only when you find something worth that space.
In the Dodgers’ case, they might not see anyone left on the free agent market they absolutely feel is worth the spending space not only this offseason, but in years to come.
Now, as prices decline on available free agents, maybe the Dodgers find someone at value they’re willing to spend on. Thus far, though, the Dodgers have been pretty stringently stuck to the idea of flexibility not just this offseason, but as the organization takes shape on the whole.
So, for those wondering why it feels like the Dodgers are connected to every free agent or trade target who’s come available recently, it’s for a pretty simple reason: Most think because they can spend, they will.
All we can do as fans is find deals that make sense not just on the surface, but in the intricacies of what the Dodgers are trying to long-term in addition to the immediate returns.