The Los Angeles Dodgers are in a tough spot trying to cut back on spending, but wanting to re-sign their key players and find solutions to last year’s problems.
There was a reason why Andrew Friedman and his “moneyball” madness was brought to Los Angeles. Despite seemingly having pockets deeper than the Pacific Ocean, the Los Angeles Dodgers were strangely behaving like a rebuilding team. The Dodgers have abandoned their reckless “win now” approach, and are now attempting to be rebuild the farm system and be more financially responsible.
The Dodgers under Ned Colletti soaked up talent from around the league like a sponge. Though the Dodgers are still riding the success of Colletti’s collection, which features players like Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez, Colletti’s poor judgement in re-signing players got the Dodgers in this mess. His chasing after stars, like Jason Schmidt, Matt Kemp and Manny Ramirez, led to a massive saturation of talent leaving the Dodgers drowning in overwhelmingly large contracts. In order to fix this, the Dodgers brought in Wall Street wiz, Andrew Friedman, to untangle the knots in the payroll, while also keeping the team competitive. Although he’s succeeded in getting rid of several of the big contracts, he’s also wasted money by signing injury-prone veterans. Players like, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, and Brett Anderson earn over $43 million a year combined.
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If Friedman is truly cutting back on spending, why spend money on players who can’t make 30 starts a season? With the money owed to the trio in 2017, the Dodgers could either trade for Brian Dozier and a right-handed pitcher, or have more breathing room to work with in re-signing Kenley Jansen or Justin Turner.
Friedman has had no problem sending players away, but has he gotten anything significant in return? Though getting rid of Kemp was necessary, the Dodgers could have avoided getting a player who’s more feast or famine than Joc Pederson. Another perplexing trade was sending Howie Kendrick in exchange for players who will struggle to find playing time. Yes, Kendrick was unhappy with his role, but circumstances dictate he could’ve been the solution to the Dodgers’ second base and right-handed hitter questions.
Wall Street doesn’t belong in baseball. Teams that adopt the “moneyball” philosophy typically do well in the regular season, but fall apart in the postseason. The only two teams that have won the World Series following this format are the 2004 Boston Red Sox and the 2016 Chicago Cubs.
Ironically, both teams broke the longest curses in baseball history, but they also had the talent to overcome the curse of “moneyball”. Calculating wins in a mild 162 game season is doable, but the same cannot be said for the few high intensity games in October.
There are lies, damnable lies, and then there are statistics. Stats are virtually meaningless in the postseason. Look at the under-performing Detroit Tigers stars from 2012-2013. Then there are the unexpected heroes like the ones the San Francisco Giants always seem to find. Ideally, the Dodgers can find a balance between undervalued players, and stars that perform in the clutch.
There are rumors circulating about high-profile players the Dodgers are looking at to fill some of their holes, but the truth is none of them will probably be signed. In fact, it’s now a question whether the Dodgers can retain some of their own stars, like Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen. The Dodgers will free up more payroll around 2018 when the majority of their large contracts expire. Until then, Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers must find a way to get through the 2017 season by scraping whatever they can find.
Still, there is hope for Dodgers fans in Dave Roberts. Friedman’s greatest accomplishment was installing the upbeat, never-die attitude of Dave Roberts. It’s because of him and the hard-nose playing of Chase Utley that the Dodgers were able to go so far in the 2016 campaign, despite sending more players to the DL than the New York Yankees have won World Series titles. If there is someone who can steer the ship through a storm its the 2016 NL Manager of the Year.