I was sitting in traffic earlier this afternoon listening to ESPN’s Mason and Ireland show on am710. They were talking about the Giancarlo Stanton Dodgers rumors. While we’ve covered those rumors extensively, they brought up a valid point that brought out mix reactions out of me.
Andy and Brian Kamenetzky were filling in for John Ireland, and Andy brought up an interesting point when it came to why the Dodgers should not let money be the deciding factor in trading for Giancarlo Stanton. I’ll preface this by saying I had mixed reactions when it came to dealing for Stanton. He is a sure-fire improvement to the team, but I’d was only willing to make the deal if it doesn’t deplete the Dodgers farm system. Back to Andy’s original point.
Andy knocked the idea of the Dodgers front office holding off on trading for Stanton solely to stay under the salary cap because the Dodger ownership is fresh of signing a 25-year, 8 billion dollar TV deal with Time Warner Cable in 2013. A deal that doesn’t allow for over 60% of Los Angeles to watch Dodger games during the regular season. That got me thinking and, he’s somewhat right.
The Dodgers signed this TV deal with hopes of making the club competitive in the big leagues level and adding depth to their farm system. To the owner’s credit, they’ve done just that with five consecutive NL West titles. But for the most part, their spending has been relatively limited.
Up until this point, they have spent money to retain their key free agents, not acquire new ones. They locked up Kershaw in 2014 and committed $200 million to re-sign Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner, and Rich Hill. All great decision. But outside of those big signings, the team has been very conservative on the spending market letting Greinke, and now Darvish walk away in free agency.
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So far the owners have been able to get away with this conservative style of spending because of how Friedman built the farm system, but I say not anymore. Dodger fans have shown their loyalty to this team by leading the league in attendance each of the past five seasons. It’s time for the owners to show some commitment back.
Their payroll has decreased every season since the new ownership took over and it’s time they added some money to their books. I understand that they inherited an insanely expensive payroll from the McCourt family. But those contracts have already started coming off the books and will continue to free up cap space next offseason.
We thought ownership was supporting the Dodger fan base when they went out and traded for Darvish. Unfortunately, that trade didn’t work out as hoped. But what’s worse is that this wasn’t an investment that would improve the team for multiple seasons. Darvish was a rental, and now the Dodgers are back to where they were during the July trade deadline. I don’t fault them for making the deal because it didn’t work out, but was it the most optimal deal in the long run? I’m starting to think Stanton is the deal the Dodgers need to make.
From the day we hired Andrew Friedman, I supported his philosophy. Build and develop your farm system, so you have an MLB product competitive for several years without over-paying for players, not in their prime. I think this Kamenetzky take finally made me realize that this style is too conservative for this city.
Championship windows don’t stay open very long. Look at how the Cubs’ offseason went last year, and they took a step back with the same core. The front office can’t let that happen to the Dodgers. The Dodgers didn’t even win the championship, so it’s difficult to justify there’s no need for improvement.
I see the efforts the front office is making by chasing Ohtani and flirting with the idea of a Stanton trade, but talk is cheap in LA. How are fans supposed to continue to support this team when parking and ticket prices are going up each year, and over 60% of the LA population doesn’t have access to watching Spectrum games in their own homes.
It could be that they want to conserve prospects and go after the big 2018 free agents. But Stanton is making it clear he wants to finish his career as a Dodgers. Come’on Magic, don’t make the same mistake the Lakers made with Paul George.