SBD/December 10, 2012/Franchises

Dodgers Continue Spending Spree; Payroll Could Be Highest In MLB History

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Greinke's $147M would be part of $600M added by the Dodgers' new ownership
The Dodgers this weekend reportedly agreed to a six-year, $147M deal with P Zack Greinke, and signed P Ryu Hyun-jin to a six-year, $36M contract, meaning the team's payroll next season “could be the highest in the history of baseball,” according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. TIMES. The Dodgers' '13 payroll "already stands in excess" of $220M. The team has “taken on more than $600 million in salaries since it was purchased by Guggenheim Baseball Management last spring” (L.A. TIMES, 12/10). YAHOO SPORTS’ Jeff Passan wrote, “This is something unlike what the sports world ever has seen: a franchise with seemingly no limits.” The Greinke signing “reinforces a sobering reality at which the other 29 teams in baseball -- even the New York Yankees -- cower: What the Dodgers want, the Dodgers get.” GBM's “commitment to spend inconceivable amounts of money” helps make the Dodgers “baseball's new megapower.” If the Yankees are “the evil empire, the Dodgers are the Death Star -- bigger, badder and a hell of a lot more expensive than anything else.” Everything “goes back to their local-television contract, which, if finalized as expected before the year ends, will net them between $6 billion and $7 billion for the next 25 years.” The Dodgers will “make in six games what some franchises make for an entire season in TV revenue -- and they'll keep a vast majority of it” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/9).

POWER OF THE PURSE: In L.A., T.J. Simers writes, “Today the Dodgers rock, and kudos to them for doing what every sports fan hopes his favorite team will do in the off-season -- spend to get better.” Simers: “I still don't know much about Guggenheim, [President] Stan Kasten remains a blowhard and who knows whether [manager Don] Mattingly has what it takes to lead a team to a championship. But I like watching the best players in the game, and thinking the home team has the best shot of winning” (L.A. TIMES, 12/10). ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark wrote the Dodgers are now “one of the all-time sports behemoths,” and the team apparently “plans to flex its behemoth-ness whenever the time -- and the latest available free-agent icon -- is right” (ESPN.com, 12/8). CBSSPORTS.com’s Scott Miller wrote, "At a time when even the Yankees are reeling things in, the Guggenheim Dodgers are so flush with cash they can name any president you want not from the history books or Google, but simply from pulling a wad of bills from their pockets and looking.” A rival exec said, “The entire economic landscape of this game is about to explode because of the Dodgers. ... LA used to look for nickels under the cushion. Now, they can't turn the tap off" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/8). ESPN L.A.’s Mark Saxon wrote under the header, “Where’s The Fun In Fiscal Restraint?” The Greinke deal "will have financial ramifications that won't just tick off the rest of the league's owners." They also will "blow back on the Dodgers at some point, probably soon” (ESPNLA.com, 12/8).

COLLETTI'S WAR CHEST: In Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has “run every type of team -- the poorest, the middle class, and now one of the richest.” Colletti "makes no excuses for preferring his current status.” Colletti said, “I’d rather play with a full deck and make decisions that are based on baseball, talent, and market.” Colletti added, “When you’re restricted in what you can think about and how you can improve the team and restricted in the areas you can get involved, that’s tough. Now we’re not restricted. If we can’t get something done, there are other factors involved rather than restrictions.” Cafardo wrote, "One thing that is different is teams coming to him and asking if he’ll take on a high-priced player for one of his lower-priced ones” (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/9).

YANKEES OF THE WEST? USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale writes the Dodgers have “become a combination of the old school New York Yankees and the Dallas Mavericks.” Nightengale: “You outbid everyone for free agents, as the Yankees used to do, and dazzle everyone by doubling the size of your clubhouse and adding other amenities, much like the Mark Cuban-era Mavericks’ commitment to creature comforts” (USA TODAY, 12/10). SPORTING NEWS’ Anthony Witrado wrote the Dodgers are “now the most expensive team in the history of professional athletics, and they now have the heaviest expectations they've ever had to carry in the rich history of their organization." Their options for '13 are "win the World Series or completely fail” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 12/9).

AND WHAT OF THE BRONX BOMBERS? In N.Y., Joel Sherman wrote, “Unless the Yankees come out of their economic cocoon, they will not have the largest payroll in the game for the first time since 1998” (N.Y. POST, 12/9). In Buffalo, Mike Harrington wrote, “No one is really sure what direction the Yankees are going anymore. Under The Boss, it was always full speed ahead. But The Boss is gone now” (BUFFALO NEWS, 12/9). In N.Y., Bill Madden wrote under the header, “What The Late Marvin Miller And George Steinbrenner Would Say About Free Agents And Penny-Pinching Yankees” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/9).
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