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Dodgers: The Downsides to Los Angeles Current $250 Million Plus Payroll

Los Angeles stands to lose out on a little bit with their current payroll



The Dodgers are locked and loaded ready to make a run at back-to-back World Series titles in 2021. After adding in Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer last week, Andrew Friedman completed his offseason goals by re-signing Justin Turner. 

Turner’s deal was reported last night to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $34 million for 2 years with an option year. That figure would bring the Dodgers’ total anticipated payroll for 2021 up to around $254 million. They still have Austin Barnes’ arbitration case to work through this week if they cannot get a deal done. 

That $254 million number is significant for several reasons. Not only does it put them way over the $210 million luxury threshold, but it also puts them into the highest bracket of overages. That means that the Dodgers would face the highest tax percentage levied for going over. It also means that they would have their first draft pick moved back 10 spots if they end the year like that.

That being said, the Dodgers have a few options with how they can move forward. The easiest option would be to shed some salary in order to get under the $40 million excess. That would cut their tax rate down from 42.5 percent to just 12 percent per CBT rules. But as noted by Ken Rosenthal, their current fee would be somewhere around $13 million, so not a massive hit. 

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There are a few contracts that they could consider moving if they wanted to get below that figure. Trading Joe Kelly’s would get them below that number, as would David Price. The Dodgers could go that route, but there is one other option. 

Their alternative option would be to just go for it. The Dodgers have set themselves up over the last few years so that they can splurge heavily in 2021. They have a TON of money coming off of the books in 2022, including the contracts of Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw. They also no longer have to pay Scott Kazmir’s salary which will help them allocate funds to younger guys. 

If there ever was a year for the Dodgers to go wild on their spending, it would be this year. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. All this chatter about trading David Price. How about they just lump the extra costs and the lower draft pick for a year and just going into the season with the best possible rotation?

  2. I strongly suspect that after this year there won’t be a salary cap. The MLPA is going to want to eliminate it. It could even be the sticking point of “ strike no strike” scenario?

  3. Operating rules will change significantly when the CBA expires at the end of the season. With the acrimonious relationship between the union and owners, not only the rules but the season in 2022 is at real risk. I suspect the Dodgers won’t suffer any penalties at all. Friedman understands how to use every edge.

  4. I am excited for the 2021 season, but already worried about losing Kersh and Corey next year! I just can’t stand the thought of Kersh in any jersey other than Dodger Blue. That would be like seeing Koufax pitch for the Yankees or something. Please, no! He needs to finish his career in L.A. We also need to lock up Mr. Seager for about 5 more years.

    • Seager needs to be signed. Kershaw needs to be let go while he’s still ahead. Running him back out there this year is already enough of a risk to his dodger playoff legacy

      • Kershaw is 32/33 yrs old! Verlander is 37, Scherzer is 36 etc. Why do people think Kershaw is too old? Other than Cato because you take a negative spin on many Dodger issues.

        • It’s not his age. It’s quitting while he’s ahead and I don’t mean the sport I mean pitching in October

  5. Drop under the 250 million dollar threshold. Don’t lose 10 slots in the draft, that’s huge. Keep the strength they are known for in the farm system. Trading one player (like Kelly, etc.) will not affect the strength of the team.

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