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.
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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