For the first time in 15 years, the New York Yankees are not owners of the largest payroll in the major leagues.
With a payroll projected to be at least $235 million, the Los Angeles Dodgers have assumed the role of biggest spenders in baseball for 2014.
According to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Dodgers’ team president Stan Kasten explained the process behind the record-breaking payroll:
We’re going to have a payroll – $230, $240, $250 (million), whatever that number is obviously it’s the highest in the history of baseball, Kasten said. That was not a goal of ours. That was just a by-product of our approach, which was to put the best team we could on the field.
What management put on the field last season was a team that reached the NLCS and was two games away from a World Series. Since the Guggenheim Partners took over the Dodgers, they have acquired big contracts in Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez, as well as signing Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yasiel Puig, Alex Guerrero and a record-breaking extension to Clayton Kershaw. They are still expected to sign Ramirez to a large contract extension before the season ends. In place now is a core of talent with multi-year contracts that will carry the Dodgers and make them World Series contenders for years to come.
Management’s plan was to quickly improve the team for the immediate future, while building the farm system to follow those quick fixes. The Dodgers spent the third-most last year in international talent and have a few of the top prospects in all of baseball. All the spending has led to a growth in Dodger popularity after reaching a low under previous owner Frank McCourt. A 25-year, $8 billion deal with Time Warner Cable was made for an exclusive Dodgers’ channel, SportsNet LA, and the team has already sold over three million tickets for the 2014 season.