The Los Angeles Dodgers began the season in the midst of more drama than an afternoon soap opera. Caught in the middle of the very public divorce of Frank and Jaime McCourt and financially hamstrung by those proceedings and the ensuing bankruptcy of the team, GM Ned Colleti could do little more than watch as his competitors scooped up all the prime free agents.
As Joel Sherman’s latest at the New York Post points out, however, with new ownership in place, Colleti has been making up for lost time, and he’s not even waiting until the off-season to go on a spending spree. Before the Dodgers pulled the trigger on the blockbuster with Boston, they tried a similar approach with the Yankees, inquiring about both CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira.
(The Dodgers) began calling their counterparts in earnest in July with this message: We not only are unafraid of your big contracts, we are interested in them.
But it also is what led to a phone conversation with the Yankees about Sabathia (four years at $99 million left after this season) and Teixeira (four years, $90 million left after this season). The Yanks told Dodgers executives they had no interest in moving either.
Sherman goes on to talk about how the biggest contract in baseball, that belonging to third baseman Alex Rodriguez, is the one New York should be pushing the Dodgers to take on. Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten seem to be printing money since taking over the club, spending as much of their new television deal as possible.
If L.A. thinks Hanley Ramirez can play shortstop for them, A-Rod’s deal might even be palatable, as astounding as that sounds. The Rodriguez contract is not only historic in total value and average annual value, but it is such a comical overpay near the end that only the Yankees could afford it. At least until Magic’s group bought the Dodgers, it seems.
Rodriguez’s deal calls for him to be paid $114 million over the next five seasons, beyond 2012. On it’s face, that’s not much more than the $102 million owed to Carl Crawford over that same span. As Sherman notes, however, A-Rod is six years older and has already been battling his evermore declining body.
This is really an interesting thought process and one polar opposite than Yankee fans and writers typically take. Ordinarily, it’s the Yankees who think they can treat every other club as a farm team and simply acquire your stars at their whim. For years, less fortunate teams have been unloading talented players they could no longer afford on the Yankees, who were only too happy to add massive contract after massive contract to their bulging payroll. For once, for maybe the first time ever, Yankee fans can imagine another club bailing them out of a bad contract.
Of course, there’s spending money to add elite talent, like the Dodgers have been doing, and then there’s spending just to spend, which is what would happen if L.A. were to make a deal for Rodriguez. Not only is A-Rod very clearly on the down slope of his career, but the Dodgers are already set on the left side of the infield with Ramirez and Dee Gordon.
Still, it’s fun to imagine.