Farhan Zaidi has never dealt with a payroll like he has now.
After spending the past few years with the Oakland Athletics and their thrifty spending, Zaidi is now in Los Angeles with the team that led the league in payroll in 2014. Part of the reason for the inflated payroll came from some big contracts and a big trade made shortly after the Guggenheim partners took over. The new owners wanted to make a splash and restore some credibility to the Dodgers, and now it seems as if the Dodgers could be looking to drop that payroll figure.
According to Mark Saxon of ESPN LA, Zaidi rejected the notion that he was brought in to simply shed money:
It sounds overly simplistic, but we’re just going to try to make good baseball decisions,” Zaidi said. “Sometimes, those good baseball decisions are going to increase our payroll, sometimes they’re going to decrease our payroll and I think over time it will come down because that’s what the accumulation of smart baseball moves will just do to the roster.
One way to spend less money is to develop the farm system and the Dodgers have begun to do so. They currently have some of the bigger prospects in all of baseball with Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias. Prospects can become productive ballplayers that are under team control for less money. Also, the Dodgers have a core of players under contract already that will help them spend less in free agency.
Zaidi went on to say that there isn’t necessarily a set plan for making moves and spending money:
I think it’s just going to be a gradual evolution as we start thinking in that disciplined way. But I think there will be decisions we make, that we believe in, that are going to increase the payroll. It’s not just going to be a straight line from where we are to where we are in the long run.”
Many are anticipating the first move from Zaidi and company, and whether it will be adding or subtracting payroll.