Dodgers Pitching Sub-Luxury Tax Payroll To Potential Investors
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).