How much money have Dodgers deferred this offseason and how does it affect the future?

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

Salary deferrals aren't a new thing in baseball — just look to your Ken Griffey Jrs., your Bobby Bonillas, your Chris Davises, your Stephen Strasburgs for examples that span decades — but the Dodgers took things into the stratosphere this offseason (and even trailing into the first few games of the year).

First, there was Shohei Ohtani and his unprecedented $680 million (out of a $700 million total) in deferrals, and then Teoscar Hernández, who accepted $8.5 million in deferrals on his one-year, $23.5 million deal. They kept it going when they extended Will Smith for 10 years and $140 million, with $50 million deferred from 2034-2043.

Teams around the league took notes — the Mets will be paying out JD Martinez's one-year, $12 million deal through 2038 — but no one has as much promised money on the back burner as the Dodgers. Deferrals are also built into Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman's contracts, leaving LA with a mammoth $865.5 million in owed salary from 2028 to 2040 (subscription required).

This wasn't done without intention, of course. Ohtani reportedly suggested his deferrals himself to keep the Dodgers from busting through another luxury tax ceiling and allow them to build around him. And build they have.

The Dodgers have a whopping $865.5 million in deferrals to pay out from 2028 to 2040

Deferrals, despite being a not-so-subtle way to get around luxury tax penalties, also demonstrate that a team has a lot of faith in the players they're doling them out to, but none of the Dodgers who have them in their contracts have given the front office any reason to believe they won't be worth it. Betts and Freeman have already been Dodgers for a few years now, and they've put up MVP-caliber seasons almost every season since they came over.

Ohtani is a force unto himself; his presence alone has already built the Dodgers' cultural capital, which already has turned and will continue to turn into actual capital through his 10 years with the club. Hernández is currently tied with Betts for home run leader, and Smith is an LA success story, taken in the first round of the 2016 draft and an All-Star in 2023, who will now be a Dodger for life.

Of course, there is the possibility that this all comes crashing down. The end of the 2033 season will mark the official end of this era, and a lot can happen in 10 seasons. The Dodgers desperately need a World Series win (or two, if not more) to justify this plan of attack, but at least they've put themselves in the best possible position to make that happen.