Dodgers Dollars and Baseball

Posted by on December 19th, 2014  •  0 Comments  • 

The Padres have hated rivals.  
For years it was always the Dodgers.  It’s an LA-big city-San Diego second cousin thing.  Or maybe it was Garvey-Cey-Lopes-Russell.  Or maybe it was just Tommy LaSorda, or Fernando Valenzuala, or Orel Hershiser.
Then there was a chunk of time it was the Colorado Rockies, Coors Field and all, and you and I agree Matt Holliday still has not touched home plate in that critical game, has he?
And of course now, nobody likes Orange, not Denver Broncos orange, nor San Francisco Giants orange, with the 3-World Series rings on their hand.
It has come full circle now, and the Dodgers are the team that represents the bad things in baseball, an “Evil Empire’ edition on the West Coast.
The big money team, that had a payroll in the $240M range last season, with a luxury tax payment that took expenditures over $270M, is doing it again.  Stockpiling talent, buying contracts, and now paying off contracts.
Yes we can say thank you Los Angeles for the Matt Kemp trade, and hope you like the return you got for him, for we will like the way he plays at Petco Park, while guys steal lots of bases on Yasmani Grandal, and you hope Joe Wieland, nice guy, does not have another elbow setback.
But now the LA-way is surely different than the O’Malley way, or the Branch Rickey way, from back in the day.
The Dodgers, who took on all those Red Sox contracts a couple of years back, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford etc, are now into the ‘writing checks game’.
They said goodbye to Kemp and Hanley Ramirez, Dee Gordon and Dan Haren, in a weeklong shuffle of the roster, five deals in a weeks time at the Winter Meetings..
But the stunning revelation, is not what they brought in, the Padres duo, plus Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies, and the Angels’ Howie Kendrick, and then signed free agent pitchers Brandon McCarthy from the Yankees,  and Brett Anderson of the Rockies..  The shocker, is what they are doing when they open the checkbook for departing players..
They are paying $32M of the Kemp contract with the Padres.  They are paying the $10M-contract of Dan Haren, whether he reports to the Miami Marlins or not.  They are paying the $2.6M arbitration deal for Dee Gordon in that Miami trade.  And now they are eating the $9.5M contract in releasing aging closer Brian Wilson to open up a roster spot.
If you were bothered by last year’s payroll, are you bothered the Commissioner’s office has signed off on the Dodgers writing checks totaling $54M of players playing elsewhere next season?  They are, and baseball just seems to sanction it, buying their team, and paying you off for you to take their players too.  Some modern day way to do business.
You may not have liked Dodgers baseball of years gone by, or Barry Bonds and the Giants, or the Rockies and their stadium, but this wrong.  
54M to have guys not to play for them.  Big market, big TV contract, big attendance at Chavez Ravine.  Is it good for the game?  Is it right for the game?  Should it be allowed by baseball?
I tried to think of the correct term to describe this way of doing business, and all I could come up with was one word.
‘Obscene’…fitting for how Padres fans have felt in the past about the Dodgers, and how they should now feel about the enemy up the road, for how they spend all their money.


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