The Dodgers "plan to keep their player payroll below" the luxury tax threshold for "at least the next four years," according to a document prepared for potential investors and reviewed by Bill Shakin of the L.A. TIMES. The team's final '18 payroll was $195M, and by cutting it to the "point where they were not assessed a tax, the Dodgers reduced their tax rate for future years." Under the projections, the Dodgers would spend $185M in '19 and '20, $191M in '21 and $196M in '22. Those projections are "not binding," and one team official "called the figures a 'forecast.'" Another officials indicated that he would be "'shocked' if the player payroll did not top" $200M next season. MLB's luxury tax will be $206M in '19 before growing $2M in both '20 and '21; the '22 threshold has "not been set." It is "uncertain whether the Dodgers could reduce their payroll" to $185M next season. Should C Yasmani Grandal and P Hyun-Jin Ryu accept a "qualifying offer, and if the team extends salary arbitration to seven players," payroll would stand at about $190M for 16 players. The Dodgers this season were able to "avoid paying a luxury tax for the first time" in Guggenheim Baseball Management's six full seasons of ownership (LATIMES.com, 11/8).
CALIFORNIA LIVING: In L.A., Bill Plaschke notes if the payroll plan holds, it "would mean the Dodgers probably wouldn’t sign any high-priced free agents during this time, breaking a trust with fans who have suffered through rising ticket prices and a team-friendly TV deal with the expectation that the Dodgers will use their increased revenues to do whatever it takes to win a championship." The Dodgers "would be operating counter to the mandate followed by the Lakers and Rams and all historically successful teams in this market -- to win over Los Angeles, one must spare no cost in attempting to win." Now fans "must wonder" if this is "really a pattern." It turns out that last year’s $195M payroll "adhered to the document’s guidelines" (L.A. TIMES, 11/9).
NOT BUYING IT: MLB Network's John Hart said he is taking the plan with a "little grain of salt because they are the Dodgers," and if they "decide that they need a player,” they likely will go over the tax. Hart noted the team in "spent over $100 million dollars a couple years ago on international players that a lot of clubs can't do.” Hart: "I wouldn’t cry for the Dodgers because if they said they’re going to remain under the luxury tax, it doesn't mean that they are. ... They’re going to build a championship club” (“MLB Now,” MLB Network, 11/8).
The Braves' Q3 revenue increased by $15M, from $185M-200M, "compared with the same period a year earlier," continuing an "upward trend since the Braves moved to SunTrust Park" prior to the '17 season, according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. The Braves' operating profit before depreciation and amortization also grew by $24M in Q3, from $48M-72M, compared to Q3 in '17. The team's revenue growth was attributed to "'increased ticket prices, higher attendance and increased concessions per turnstile' and to increased operations at The Battery Atlanta." Of the Braves' $200M in Q3 revenue, $190M "came from baseball" and $10M from The Battery. The Braves' operating profit after depreciation and amortization was $45M, "up from a loss" of $9M in the same period a year ago. The two home NLDS games against the Dodgers last month were "not included in the financial results" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 11/9).
In L.A., Gary Klein notes in the wake of Wednesday's mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., several Rams players began the process of "finalizing plans that could possibly aid victims’ families financially or in other ways." Rams OT Andrew Whitworth said that players have "formed a social justice group to discuss and create opportunities that will allow them to positively affect the community." Rams coach Sean McVay said that the team is "planning to have a moment of silence" before Sunday’s home game against the Seahawks (L.A. TIMES, 11/9). In California, Rich Hammond notes the Rams as of Thursday "hadn’t identified" any players or coaches "with a familial connection to any of the victims." But that "didn’t make the news any less jarring" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/9).
DORSEY'S DECISION: In Cleveland, Mary Kay Cabot cited a source as saying that Browns Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have "officially turned their fourth coaching search over" to GM John Dorsey, who "will have full authority to conduct it any way he wants." It remains to be seen if Dorsey will "enlist the services of a search firm." The Haslams "will have input in the collaborative process, but Dorsey will drive the decision" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/8).
HELP IS AVAILABLE: ESPN.com's David Newton noted NFL Panthers Dir of Player Wellness Tish Guerin is "one of the first -- and currently believed to be the only -- active in-house psychological clinicians" in the league. While most teams "have a licensed mental health practitioner available for players and staff members on a contract basis," Guerin has her own office at Bank of America Stadium and is "readily available to any player or staff member seeking help." Being onsite allows Guerin to "observe any potential changes in the mood or behavior of a player that could be an early warning sign" (ESPN.com, 11/7).