The Dodgers Are Going To Force the MLB Into Changes
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Baseball is about to receive a serious wake-up call from the Dodgers. Perhaps the Yankees would have already done what the Magic Johnson ownership team is planning, had “The Boss” had full faculties and the team had not cashed in on the 2009 World Series. With no salary cap and a soft luxury tax on the heavy spenders, the MLB is really setting themselves up for a disaster when a team finally pulls the trigger on obliterating the payroll system. The Dodgers new ownership has spent 2 Billion on the California Franchise. They are in perfect position with Billions in revenue about to be promised for the TV rights of their franchise. So do you really think they are done spending on the team? I would be surprised if the Dodgers payroll isn’t in the $230-$250 Million Dollar Range for 2013.
I wrote an article about this very topic right after the trade that brought over the Boston Red Sox big 3 salaried players. You can check out that blog here. As it stands right now, the 2013 Payroll projects to be in the 200-210 Million Dollar Range already. You add the constant health doubts now plaguing Clayton Kershaw, plus a need for some more starting pitching and you could be sure these guys will make a play for a couple of starting pitchers. Zack Greinke has to be on the club’s radar. While Greinke might not be the top of the pitchers ‘Mount Rushmore’, he is really close to it. He may get a 5-6 YR contract worth 90-105 Million Dollars. He has pitched really well for the Los Angeles Angels, so clearly he likes the city.
Again, I bring up, who is going to stop the Dodgers from steam-rolling the rest of the National League? If they yield a Payroll of 250 Million Dollars a year for the next decade, who is going to compete with that? Sure you can say some of the clubs like: Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Oakland, St. Louis, Minnesota and Texas have competed with the higher payroll clubs by being great organizations. I would come back with this. The Dodgers are going to blow anything out of the water even to what the Yankees ever spent. How exactly is Colorado, Arizona and San Diego going to compete with this club when they have about one-third of their payroll? Sure the Giants could spend about half of the Dodgers salary-but what if it is all for not in leaving the Giants on the outside looking in! The Dodgers have an ALL-Star Outfield and a solid infield. Their young pitchers have improved. The management will go out shopping for whatever they need with no recourse for how much it will cost them.
If the Dodgers peel of a few World Series in a row, the whole landscape of baseball will change. Don’t think that Magic Johnson will be crying poor either with his ownership group. If this team is a perennial playoff contender, they will sell over 4 Million Tickets for their games and amass Millions of Dollars for lengthy playoff runs. The TV Ratings will be enormous and they will be a powerhouse at the Merchandise Window. The Value of the Franchise will continue to escalate if they start putting up great seasons with championship rings. They will be the National League villains. Everyone will want to see them lose-just like the rest of baseball seethed in rage when the Yankees outspent everyone en route to 6 World Series Appearances and 4 Titles in 7 years from 1996-2003.
Major League Baseball will have no one to blame but themselves. If I was in Magic shoes I would spend like crazy too. What is the deterrent? Based on next year, the Luxury Tax threshold will be 178 Million. For a first time offender, the penalty is 22.5% of ever dollar spent past $178,000,000. So if the Dodgers cake their team salary up to 250 Million Dollars, it is only 16.2 Million. Magic probably has that in his couch cushions at his lofty California Estate. The 2nd Year (in 2014), the threshold goes up to a 189 Million Dollar- and a 2nd time offender is a 30% penalty-or 18.3 Million. The Maximum penalty for disobeying the Luxury Tax Threshold appears in year 3 and remains 40 % in subsequent years after. Even at 40%, that is only 25 Million Dollars a year paid out for Luxury Tax for the team.
Besides, who has the wherewithal in the National League to even approach the ‘ballpark’ of what the Dodgers can spend? Philadelphia could probably spend up to 150-160 Million and should be competitive for the next few years. However, this is where it ends. San Francisco and St. Louis could spend about 125 Million, yet even that is really pushing the clubs right to their limit. All of the other teams will be uncomfortable in going much higher than 100 Million Dollars. The time to close this genie bottle was in the last CBA negotiations. It is funny, I always thought the Yankees would have the highest payroll in the MLB. Now they are talking about slashing payroll enough to get under the Luxury Tax Threshold.
This brings me to my final point. I wrote an article about 4 months ago that suggested that Baseball should consider a Payroll/Geographical Division Re-Alignment based on teams proximity to another and payroll likeness. That article can be viewed here. In bullet style here, this is like Premier Soccer in the UK. They should lump all of the high payroll/high revenue generating teams in the same divisions. The American League would be better served to host a lot of these clubs as they have an extra positional payroll slot for their DH. This is how the divisions would look like:
AL EAST AL CENTRAL AL WEST NL EAST NL CENTRAL NL WEST
NYY CHC SEA TOR PIT ARI
BOS CWS SF TB CLE OAK
PHI MIL LAA MIA CIN COL
DET HOU LAD WSH MIN SD
NYM TEX STL BAL ATL KC
So the best thing that non-Dodgers fans can hope for-is that the team makes the playoffs and makes a deep run for the organization to feel like it is not far away from a championship. If not, look out world, the Dodgers are about to blow the roof off of Salaries and only the strongest franchises will have a chance to compete!
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***
***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***
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Posted on September 21, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged arizona diamondbacks, Chuck Booth, clayton kershaw, Division Re-Alignment, dodger stadium, george steinbrenner, los angeles dodgers, Luxury Tax Threshold, Major League Baseball, minnesota twins, MLB CBA, new york yankees, oakland athletics, philadelphia phillies, san diego padres, san francisco giants, st louis cardinals, the fastest 30 ballgames, zack greinke. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.