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Los Angeles Dodgers: Guggenheim Strikes Again

Evan Budrovich |
December 11, 2012 | 11:28 a.m. PST

Staff Writer

(Culture Shock/Creative Commons)
(Culture Shock/Creative Commons)

When new Dodgers ownership led by Guggenheim Baseball Management took over the reins in Los Angeles, they promised to spend money by investing in the team.

So far in their short seven-month tenure, things have definitely fallen into place under this leadership. First, the Dodgers struck a deal for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, eating over $60 million dollars a year for all three players' services. 

Over the weekend, the Dodgers acquired ex-Angel Zack Greinke to inherit the role of No. 2 starter. Then, after placing a $25 million dollar bid just to speak to Ryu Hyun-Jin, the Dodgers pulled out the improbable sealing him to a six-year $36-million deal at the final hour possible.

Let’s not forget that the Dodgers signed Cuban-defector Yasel Puig to a $42-million deal, expecting him to become the outfielder of the future. During the middle of last season, the Dodgers also traded for Hanley Ramirez to add power and excitement back into the lineup.

The funniest part of this free agent frenzy is that their best addition so far has been minor-league gamer and now starting third baseman, Luis Cruz. Nevertheless, the Dodgers are now finally willing to spend money to make huge acquisitions to bolster the ball club.

The Guggenheim Ownership group have spent more than $600 million in their short tenure to acquire better players. They continue to spend money for the product on the field and have no intentions of stopping any time soon.

How is this possible you ask? Fox Sports is currently fighting new television sensation Time Warner Cable for television rights over the Dodgers for the next 25 years. Fox Sports most recent proposal amount for a whopping $6 billion, which shakes out close to $240 million per year just in television revenue.

When Guggenheim and Company bought the Dodgers for $2 billion, they realized the financial value that surrounded the second-largest media market in the nation.

With a large Los Angeles market as their base, the Dodgers are pursuing an international market to raise funds. The Dodgers are attempting to become the New York Yankees of the west, by attracting the ever-growing Asian baseball market.

Along with international plans, the Dodgers are spending money at a preposterous rate compared to the final days under Frank McCourt ownership. Guggenheim has doubled the payroll in his short time and set the precedent that ballpark improvements are coming.

With names like Adrián González, Hanley Ramirez, Zack Greinke and Carl Crawford, the Dodgers have silenced the mills of previous cash-conservative ball clubs with James Loney, Adam Kennedy and Juan Pierre.

Where do the free-spending Dodgers go next? With a seemingly endless payroll, this team has the financial backing to allow GM Ned Colletti to get any player he wants.

Coltetti has been quoted saying that he will not spend frivolously and will attack every deal with the best interest of the ball club in mind. That being said, sometimes a complete culture shock such as thiscan lead any one mad with money fever.

Neon Tommy
Neon Tommy

Starting in 2013, a new interpretation of the luxury tax will hit Major League Baseball. The new competitive balance tax will force teams who spend over $178 million to pay a 50-percent tax for every dollar they surpass. Basically, a $200-million payroll will force a team to actually pay $222 million.

This has scared the king of cash, the New York Yankees, from another offseason of ludicrous spending. The Bronx Bombers are playing more conservative this offseason and have shied away from Josh Hamilton.

Expect the Dodgers to be quiet for the remainder of the winter however, actually looking to dump a pitcher or two from their staff. This will be more to do with having too many fish to need, not a lack of cash.

The first man expected to be shipped out is Chris Capuano, who posted a career-low 3.72 ERA last season. Another man on the block could be Aaron Harang, who was quite efficient last season grabbing double-digit victories.  

If the Dodgers decide to keep one of the two, which would be wise, Joe Blanton’s $7 million could be shipped as well. The Dodgers big five of Gonzalez, Crawford, Beckett, Greinke and Kemp will cost this team over $100 million for at least the next three seasons.

Let’s not forget that 2011 Cy Young Winner Clayton Kershaw is set for arbitration after next season and will demand a huge pitching contract. Plus, young prospects Cruz, A.J. Ellis and Kenley Jansen have numbered days under contract.

Neon Tommy
Neon Tommy

On the offensive side of the ball, the Dodgers are still looking for a utility man to fill the roster and possibly even another starting infielder.

Cruz played fantastic last season, but Ramirez fielding troubles at short stop leave the team desperate for a gold glove caliber short stop.

Dee Gordon could be that man, but he had a horrendous season at the dish last season, posting a career-low .228 average. What’s amazing about Gordon is his speed and potential. In only 303 at bats last season, Gordon stole 32 bases.

The Dodgers now have a boatload of infielders and can only play a certain number of men. Nick Punto, Mark Ellis and Elian Herrera will all be fighting for time at second base this season in what should be an exciting fight for position.

Pressure will be enormous on this ball club, which, for once, has the financial resources and fan support to demand winning baseball. No more excuses in Los Angeles, because the new mantra in Los Angeles is win or buy someone else to win.

Watch out, Los Angeles baseball fans. You have just entered a new realm financially that will put SoCal baseball back on the national stage. The rest of the offseason should be very exciting in Dodger Land because no one for sure knows what Guggenheim and company have in store for 2013.

Reach Staff Writer Evan Budrovich here, or follow him on Twitter.




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