While some will look at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ payroll as being incredibly ridiculous, it would be wise to remember that the team isn’t exactly just handing out expensive contracts anymore.
According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the Dodgers have $226,321,668 committed to player salaries for 2016. Last season, the Dodgers were at $301,735,080. Essentially, the team cut roughly $75 million right off the top.
Either way, the Dodgers led baseball in salary last season, and it looks like they will be doing so again. However, that shouldn’t undersell what they’re doing.
We’re entering the second season of the Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi partnership, and that means costs are getting slashed.
Don’t believe it? Well, let Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times explain it:
On Jan. 15, 2014, the Dodgers signed Kershaw to a $215-million contract extension.
Since then, 14 players have signed contracts worth at least $100 million, with 12 teams. The Dodgers did not sign any of those players.
One of the prevailing thoughts under Friedman is to stockpile young, cost controlled talent for as many years as possible, and then let them grow as a unit in order to have sustained long-term success. It’s the model he employed in Tampa Bay with the Rays, and it’s exactly what he plans on doing with the Dodgers.
The difference between the Rays and the Dodgers, though, is that one team lacked the fiscal model to actually improve via free agency and the other, well, can spend money when they need to. The latter is the Dodgers, and that’s exactly what Friedman and Zaidi are doing.
While they didn’t spend the $206.5 million that it took to sign Zack Greinke, the team did spend $73 million in total guaranteed money to acquire two pitchers to help ease the burden. Even if Kenta Maeda reaches all of his incentives, the Dodgers would be paying just $138.2 million total between him and Scott Kazmir. That’s $68.3 million less than what’s being paid to Greinke.
With tons more money coming off the books after the 2017 and 2018 seasons, don’t be surprised to see the Dodgers actually continue cutting costs in the near future.
When might they actually start spending a ton of money again? That 2018 offseason.
Who will possibly be free agents, you ask? Bryce Harper, Jose Fernandez, Josh Donaldson, Andrew McCutchen, Manny Machado, Jason Heyward, Matt Harvey, Dallas Keuchel, and the Dodgers’ own Clayton Kershaw.
It’s possible the money is being shed for that one offseason. But, if there’s one thing for certain, the Dodgers aren’t spending as crazily as they used to. Then again, they might do so again in a few years.