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Dodger Baseball

Dodger Spending

The Dodgers have gone on a spending spree.  They are damned if they do, and damned if they do not.  Prior to this offseason, the Dodgers management was criticized for not opening up their wallets to improve their team.  Now many of those same people are criticizing the Dodgers for spending too much, and/or they could have spent it better.  Some fans are just never going to be happy.

The Dodgers have committed almost $1.2B in new FA contracts and trade/extensions.  Many non-Dodger fans are upset and say that the Dodgers are ruining baseball.  Why? Because the cheap ass owners of their favorite teams will not do what the Dodgers are doing?  The Dodgers are not skirting the rules laid down by the CBA.

The extent of the Ohtani deferrals are unprecedented.  That is because Ohtani’s talent is unprecedented.  However, teams have been doing this for decades. Look at the Nats signing deferred-money deals in the past decade:

Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Matt Wieters, Jayson Werth, Rafael Soriano, Brad Hand.  Washington is still paying Rafael Soriano. He hasn’t pitched for them since 2014.

Half of Max Scherzer’s $210MM deal was deferred, including his entire $35MM salary in 2019, when the Nats won a World Series.

They deferred their ace’s entire salary, used that flexibility to build the roster, and won a World Series. No one batted an eye.

The Dodgers did not invent the deferred payment contract.  But they may have perfected it.

It started with the Shohei Ohtani contract.  Gross numbers are $700MM.  As we all know, Ohtani has deferred $68MM per year for 10 years.  The Net Present Value of the deal including the deferrals is roughly $461MM.  That is actually a little less than the consensus guestimate as to what Ohtani would pull down when he signs (between $500MM and $600MM).

The Braves were considered a potential team for Ohtani, and after learning of the contract, Alex Anthopoulos was asked if perhaps they could have made such a deal.   His response:

There was so much speculation about what he would get. But if you look at what the net present value numbers are, they’re kind of in the range of what people thought. What threw everybody for a loop was $700 million but (the value) ended up where it was supposed to end up. I don’t really have a strong opinion of the contract one way or the other because arguably he’s one of the best players who’s ever played because of the two-way component and he should get the biggest contract. But look — there’s still the CBT hit. Our payroll is in the top 10. We have some guys making pretty big salaries. But we’re set up more to spread it around. That’s the decision we made when we signed all of these guys.

This is how MLB is looking at it.  Not the fans.  Net present value is not an easy concept to master, and most of us tend to dismiss what we do not understand.  We have already discussed in great detail why this was not just a good baseball decision, but a fantastic business decision.  The Dodgers will recoup this contract rather easily.

The market started to show at Shohei’s introductory news conference.  It became an international event, and timed so that those in Japan could watch the festivities.  70 million people turned in.  Putting that into perspective:

It also was about 60% of the viewers of the 2023 Super Bowl.  That is a press conference.

MLB is not upset with Ohtani going to LA Dodgers.  With one eye on the potential global impact MLB wants for the sport, Ohtani landing in LA, the second largest media market, and right in the back yard of Hollywood, MLB could not be happier for the potential impact.

Per Jeff Passan via The Pat McAfee Show:

“Ideally, of course [MLB] wants [Ohtani] to be a Dodger, because it’s L.A. He personifies L.A. just in the star quality alone,” Passan said. “To see him in a lineup with Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, at Dodger Stadium every night… it would be a scene.”

Dodgers increased revenues will help those that receive revenue sharing.  Those owners are very happy.  I have to believe that many owners will secretly be rooting for the Dodgers to make it to the WS. They undoubtedly would not be rooting for them to win.  Just get there. It will be a global spectacle.  My guess is that WS advertisements would be a record if the Dodgers with Ohtani make it to the WS.

Jersey sales for #17 are not just breaking records, but destroying them.

Ohtani jerseys flew off the shelves — both physical and digital — at a rate that more than doubled the previous record holder’s, soccer megastar Lionel Messi. In third place is another soccer jersey, that of Cristiano Ronaldo. NFL quarterback Justin Fields’ Bears jersey ranks fourth, and Phillies superstar Bryce Harper’s No. 3 is fifth.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto does not have the marketability that Ohtani has, but he certainly corrects a perceived weakness in Dodgers SP.  Is he worth $325MM?  There was more than one team that thought so.  NYY cannot be overly pleased as Gerrit Cole can opt out of his deal after 2024.  However, NYY can void the opt out with a 10th year at $36MM, taking his contract to $360MM. There is no way that Gerrit Cole successfully opts out, not that he wanted to leave NYY anyway.

The Dodgers tacked on another $136MM++ for Tyler Glasnow, in a trade and extension deal.  When I look at trades, I look at the ceilings of the participants at the time of the trade, not after the fact.  If GMs knew what was going to happen, there would never be trades.

IMO, Tyler Glasnow has a huge ceiling.  He is not injury prone.  He had one injury that was not “fixed” when it first appeared.  A Dodger favorite, Walker Buehler, has had that same injury twice now.  Shohei Ohtani has had the injury twice.  Glasnow has a great rising fastball that can touch 100, and an unhittable curve.  403 hitters – .095/.107/.190.  He showcased his new slider in 2021, and it was a fantastic debut.  It is a 12-6 hard slider (90.1), and it is very good.  He is still learning the pitch, and with Mark Prior’s knowledge of slider enhancements, Glasnow’s is only going to get better.  On why Glasnow decided to develop that 3rd pitch, Erik Neander had this to say:

On days where [the curve is] landing for a strike, the fastball plays 105, and [he’s] getting commits on the breaking ball when the ball’s thrown 50 feet. I’ve never seen anything quite like it . . .

 But on days where he’s struggling to land the breaking ball for a strike, you can really simplify your approach, and I think with someone like him that has a disproportionate benefit to the hitter.

 So the primary goal in developing this new pitch was to pick up easier strikes.

 Having a wrinkle that can land in the strike zone at a higher frequency than the bigger breaking ball, that just gives him some more margin for error early in the count when it’s all about throwing strikes above all else.

 Basically, a big curve like the one Glasnow throws, with such extraordinary downward movement, is difficult to place in the strike zone. The slider helps solve for that difficulty.

Now Glasnow has three outstanding pitches, his elbow injuries reportedly behind him, he easily looks to be the Dodgers #2.  He sure sounds a lot like #22 when he developed that slider of his.  CK was great with that fastball and curve, but it was that slider that has put him on the steps of Cooperstown with his first ballot.   And no, I am not putting Tyler Glasnow at the same talent level as Clayton Kershaw.

If he gets hurt, so be it.  Pitchers get hurt.  Players get hurt.  There are no guarantees, and you can only make decisions on what the facts were at the time the decision is made.

The Dodgers were not done.  They have just inked Teoscar Hernández to a one year $23.5MM contract ($8.5MM deferred).  He is that RH bat and lefty masher that the Dodgers were looking at all along.

This post is already long enough, so I will hold out my thoughts on Hernández for my next post.

The Dodgers have spent a lot of $$$, but will recoup most of it, and have improved their team with key additions in areas of needs.  I do not think they are done.  While  I cannot see another elite FA signing, they have set themselves up where they are in a great position to make an impactful trade.  As a Dodgers fan, how can you not help but be excited for the 2024 season.




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Mark Timmons

Good analysis. I have felt this since the trade for Glasnow happened: “IMO, Tyler Glasnow has a huge ceiling. He is not injury prone. He had one injury that was not “fixed” when it first appeared.” Exactly! I believe Glasnow will be in the running for the NL Cy Young.


I think the Dodgers should stay put and use some combination of Sheehan/Yarbrough/Stone at the back end of the rotation. Hurt is also ready right now–as a reliever or potentially a starter–and Knack has little to prove in AAA. This omits Frasso, who could be our best pitching prospect and will big league action as well this year.

It’s healthy for the team to be gradually giving young guys a look. They will eventually be taking over.

Mark Timmons

There has been speculation that the Dodgers will go with a six-man rotation, but nothing is set in stone. Of course, the fact that May, Gonsolin, and Ohtani should return to the mound in 2025 has to be considered. As it stands right now, Miller, Buehler, Yamamoto, and Glasnow are in the rotation. Sheehan, Knack, Stone, and Yarbrough are in the mix, with Frasso and Hurt a little further back. Some may become relievers, but I like using Yarbrough as a spot starter and bringing in one of the power righties or vice-versa!


Yes to all this. I wonder when we’ll hear official word in Buehler’s readiness for the season. He’s a premium vehicle so you have treat him with respect. I’d love if he started the year toward the back of the rotation with a piggyback like Yarbrough. Buehler has given so much to us and I want at least one more October with him on the mound. He’s our postseason pitching equivalent of Seager.


Don’t recall where I read it, but I recall reading the Dodgers intend to ease Buehler’s role during the season, in particular at the start of the season, in order to ensure he is available during playoffs. Expect him to be on a strict workload limitation this season. But I agree, Buehler has proven to be able to pitch on the biggest stage and the priority should be to limit his workload during the season to capitalize when it matters most.


I’m interested in seeing him pitch a full season without the elbow injury that has plagued him the last several years. With all due respect to Yamamoto, Buehler and Miller, but I wouldn’t surprised if Glasnow emerges as the ace of the staff by the end of the season. That is the type of talent Glasnow possesses. However, the hope is that he becomes one of several aces on our staff  😉 

TennisMenace (TM)

Random thoughts and questions to start this day…I would like to know this- Is KikeH a good SS? If so, I’d rather see him play SS rather than Lux. And, I definitely still want Rojas on the team because he is an awesome fielding SS and showed enough bat for my liking last year. Oh, one more thing- do you really want to let Kike go? I don’t…..he bleeds Dodgers Blue and as I recall, correct me if I’m wrong, he also happens to be a clutch playoff hitter. I’m also open to trading Lux. That’s all for now. So let me have it.


Mark Timmons

I have always been of the opinion that Lux is not a SS. Kike is not a regular, but it seems like the team has moved on… unless a trade is brewing. There is a lot to like about Kike, but it’s a numbers game.


You’ve said that a lot about Lux and I don’t knew where it comes from. When I watched him work out in Glendale he looked great out there to me. His scouting report:


GLOVE 55 Quick physical reactions and good closing speed in the gap. Good hands and clean mechanics should lead to relatively few miscues. Good footwork and body control allows him to adapt to balls that lead to strange body positioning. Current reads and instincts should improve a bit with more reps. Excellent athlete with plus quick twitch and plus coordination/Body control. Instinctual feel for movements and adjusting body to get power where needed.

I think it’s possible he’s even better after rehabbing for a year. Running backs have done it, so can he.

That said I have no idea what the plans might be. I just know I look forward to his return.

Phil Jones

I hope Lux is better at Short, than he was at 2nd. I didn’t like his feet at 2nd. He had one turn and it was mediocre, at best. You might recall 2 years ago with Lux at 2nd that we had many routine double plays not made due to Lux’s weak and tardy relays. I also question his arm from short. But we’ll see. I’d love to see him solidify the infield but I think his feet and arm will have to be better.
Some players never seem to win over our fan base while others like Joc are loved. A J Pollock comes to mind. Good player but never liked. Same with Rojas, who I think is a more than an adequate everyday SS. His .236 average works for me considering his defensive chops. He has no sock but his glove plays for me and we don’t lack for homers.
I see zero value in having CT3 and Kike on the same roster, and apparently the Dodgers feel the same way.
Let’s compare the 2. Defensively, they both can play anywhere. CT3 hit .237 / .746 but has a whopping 37% K rate. And he has serious reverse splits only hitting .210 v LHP. Not good for a platoon player.
Kike hit .262 / .731 with no reverse splits and strikes out 1/2 as much. But CT3 will play due to his $15 million a year contract.
Against both, Rojas at .236 / .665 doesn’t deserve the perception that he’s all field and no hit.
Lux will get his chance.


Phil, would you comment on whether Lux will defend shortstop as well as Muncy will defend third in 2024.

I think Lux could have a better offensive year than Muncy and if so, might Rojas get as many innings at third as he will at short?

Phil Jones

Bum, I’m not a Muncy fan at third base. He’s in the lineup due to his bat, obviously. He is hidden at 3rd and barely adequate. To his credit he has worked to be as good defensively as he can be with his limitations. The jury is out on Lux and I’ve expressed my doubts. He and Muncy could be a weak left side. I think Rojas could be good at 3rd. Show me a MLB quality SS and I’ll show you a guy who can play practically any position on the diamond. I’d consider giving Lux reps at 3rd before Rojas.

Sam Oyed

As I recall Hernandez’s accuracy on throws to first led to his defense being subpar at shortstop. I’d hate to see him go but with the current roster there’s no room for him.


Not sure there’s space on the team for Keekay unless we trade Taylor.


Taylor would definitely have to be traded for Kike to come back. But with 30 million still left on his deal, doubt anyone would take him unless the Dodgers paid a chunk of that money. Taylor has 4 less career homers than Kike, but his career BA is 15 points higher.


Or Margot.


I don’t see that happening, but true.


Give Lux a chance. How can you judge how good a player is going to be unless you stick him out there and let him play? Lux has played exactly 68 games at SS in the majors. He has had 217 chances, and only 7 errors. He is just a shade better at second. And there is this, Lux is 26. Kike is 32. Kike is a career .239 hitter. He does not have Lux’s speed; his strength is his versatility. There is no room for him on the roster, and his fielding percentage at SS is worse than Lux’s. He has never performed well when he has been a regular. LA gave him the starting 2nd base job one year and he totally flopped.


The biggest issue with Lux is his arm. It hasn’t shown to be very strong and he tries to make up for it with a quick release. But maybe now that he’s stronger, the arm is stronger? We’ll see this spring. But I think there’s huge potential with his bat, .850 OPS. If he’s just an average defender then it works for me. One of my favorite players!


I agree with this! The bat is legit. There is a reason why Lux was once a highly touted prospect. It was because of his bat, not necessarily his defense.

The times I saw Lux when he played in Rancho Cucamonga, the issue was never his glove but his arm. He would often sail throws to the 1bman. Has he overcome this? We shall see, but this is the primary reason why I’ve also had doubts about his ability to be a reliable SS at the major league level.

TennisMenace (TM)

Lux reminds of this gal I dated many years ago. She looked good, but I just DIDNT TRUST HER. Sure enough she dumped me because she thought I was moving too slow.

I just don’t trust Lux to be another Rojas. Not even close. I’d rather have Rojas playing SS and I bet it won’t take long for all our SP wanting the same.

I just didn’t trust her….and I don’t trust him.



If not, this is a mind-bending metaphor. Where does the line from a more promiscuous girl-friend point to in the career of a major league shortstop?

What does trust mean between fan and professional player? Do you trust them to show up? Remain healthy? Not bet on games? Not cheat on their wife/girlfriend?

Last edited 5 months ago by Bluto

Wow, well that story right there convinces me that Gavin Lux cannot be shortstop.

Why? Because some hot girl dumped this guy, therefore, years later, Gavin Lux cannot play shortstop.

Any other heartbreak stories you can share? Perhaps it will foretell if Emmet Sheehan can be our starting pitcher or not?

Last edited 5 months ago by Bobby
TennisMenace (TM)

It wasn’t a joke when she walked down the aisle with this dude just 6 months after splitting from me.

As for not trusting Lux to play SS, the most challenging position in all of baseball…much of that mistrust may stem from the way I saw him play 2B, far less challenging in my opinion. Those memories of him throwing the ball way over the 1B head still occasionally haunt my rapid eye movement sleep.



TM tried to add some color to his comment that Lux hasn’t proven himself yet to be a decent shortstop. Maybe we could just sort the chaff from the wheat and move on?


You can’t be serious. Good grief.


There was an interesting discussion elsewhere about how unusual the Dodgers current 40 man roster is.

Outside of Cartaya and Pages, it’s VERY top-heavy. Almost every player on the 40 (outside of those two) is fighting for a spot on the 26.

I guess that’s a good thing (competition!) but I’m not sure.


So Lux is prettier than Rojas?


Trust me baby!


So there will have to be a trade from the 40 man to make room for Hernandez. Who goes? I suspect there will be trade for a younger prospect if possible.

Mark Timmons

Jim Bowden, whom a lot of fans do not like (but who is still well-respected by his peers), has a few tidbits in his mailbag.

He had this to say about Shota Imanaga: “Imanaga is a fly-ball pitcher who does not have a good track record against foreign-born players in Nippon Professional Baseball. (They posted like an .800 OPS against him.) Given his small size and the fluctuation of his stuff, I’m also concerned about his durability as he transitions from the five days of rest between starts that he had in Japan to the four days of rest he’ll have in MLB.” Maybe that explains why the Dodgers did not exhibit a lot of interest in him.

On Dylan Cease: “Chicago’s asking price for Cease has been unrealistic and Orioles GM Mike Elias has done the right thing by continually saying no. However, the White Sox will eventually lower their price to a more realistic package and at that point Baltimore will still be able to outbid the other teams in contention thanks to their strong depth.” 

On Kershaw: “The Dodgers have told me they are keeping the door open for a Kershaw return and hope he decides to finish his career as a Dodger. I think the signings of Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto will make it easier for him to decide to stay with Los Angeles rather than opting to finish his career with the Rangers, his hometown team, which is the only other realistic option outside of him choosing to retire.”

–The Athletic

Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Timmons

Baseball America ranks their breakout prospect in the Dodgers system ($$$$$)

It’s 17th rounder Payton Martin (projected rotation starter, just needs strength)
2023 IFA signing Vargas (projected to move from SS to 3B)

FWIW, last year’s projected breakouts (both written by Kyle Glaser) were:
Frasso and De Paula.


Here is a list of 8 Dodgers on the 2023 team that at time of writing are not back for 2024.

Which ones might Muncy be dissing? He recently said a few players not returning from 2023 were not team players and were only concerned with their own stats.

Mark Timmons

I started to read it, but the first two players are back…


Maybe Muncy was talking about the last 5 years or so. Here is a link that shows guesses as to he was talking about. This is pure gossip maybe at its worst.

[Max Muncy]”We’ve had some guys who kind of cared about themselves (their own numbers) and they’ve been shipped out” Who do you think he’s referring to
byu/an4lf15ter inDodgers

RC Dodger

Nice recap Jeff!
The Dodgers roster looks very impressive. Amazing that they have spent over $1.2 billion on four new players this offseason. They are committing salaries of $150 million this year and a $50 million posting fee, plus Pepiot and Deluca to get these four players. I certainly would not take this approach, but Friedman and company have access to way more information than I ever will. I have two concerns with this new approach: the lack of loyalty to existing players, and the decision to not spend some of this money last year.
Ohtani, Yamamoto, Glasnow, and Hernández may turn out to be great acquisitions and help bring much success to the team, but they have not played one game for the Dodgers. They all come with question marks. In the last year, the Dodgers let JT walk for $12 million or so and Bellinger walk for $17million. Both were longtime Dodgers who helped bring a WS to LA and they played like all stars last year. They have paid Kershaw half of market value for the best ERA in baseball the last 2 years while also pitching hurt. They pitched Buehler on 3 days rest in NLCS after throwing 225 innings in 2021 which led to another TJ, while only paying him $8 million a year. They pay Gonsolin $3 million after his 16-1 season, and allow him to pitch with a torn UCL last year to eat up innings. In my opinion, if the Dodgers are going to overpay for external, high priced free agents, they need to take care of their own players first.
Secondly, the Dodger front office did not put out their best effort to win in 2023. Yes, the team overachieved in the regular season, but the front office failed in the preseason and the trade deadline to put a competitive playoff team on the field. And they did not reset the luxury tax. With all of this team money available this offseason, why go cheap last year with Noah, Peralta, and Lance Lynn and letting Bellinger and Turner walk for one year deals?
Hopefully, the team brings back Kershaw this year and pays him market value for his loyalty to the team. And hopefully, Buehler and Gonsolin get extensions or raises for the sacrifices and contributions they have already made to the team. If the Dodgers continue to pay external players significantly more than its longtime stars, they cannot expect the underpaid and under appreciated players to make these sacrifices in the future. Baseball is a team game that needs 26 contributing players to win championships.


Well said. The Dodgers should have kept Pederson for a couple more years as well.

If Buehler has a great 2024 the Dodgers will have created the comparisons that will be used in negotiations with Buehler.

Weird that the Dodgers overspent on Taylor and then let Turner leave.

I admit I was more than ready to move on from Bellinger. It didn’t seem like he was willing to make needed changes and as it turned out, we probably wouldn’t have discovered Outman.

Last edited 5 months ago by Bumsrap
Mark Timmons
  1. Those are the rules the MLBPA negotiated.
  2. If they had signed better players last year, it would have meant longer contracts, and then some of the deals might not have been done this year.
  3. Looking back, I think they had planned to spend in 2024, so 2023 was their version of “tanking.”

I wonder how many people buying the #17 Dodger jersey realize Kelly’s name is no longer on the backside?

Note to Bear: 😀


That is funny, but his wife got a new Porshe out of that deal. And Joe will be wearing #99. SO, Ryu would owe him a Porshe if he came back.



Mark Timmons

Shohei Ohtani is a brand ambassador for Porsche, so the theory goes that the car was an advert for the company. While that makes for a good rumor, there is, however, nothing but speculation to back it up.


Never owned one so never needed to spell it before.

Singing the Blue

Somewhere in Dodgerland there is a player who is researching what number Sasaki wears so that he can claim it this year.

Update: I did the research and he wears uni #17. Looks like we won’t be signing Roki.

Last edited 5 months ago by Singing the Blue

Or he might be so good that Ohtani gives him 17 and takes a new number and that number and the new 17 will sell millions of jerseys.

Singing the Blue

Shohei would probably give up #17 if Roki would give him a Porsche.


I think you guys are being way to critical of Lux, a guy who has played exactly 68 games in the majors at the SS position. Is he Rojas with the leather? No, but he isn’t as bad as some say. Yeah, he had the Sax syndrome when he first came up. But the guy is 26, very athletic, has hit at every level, he brings speed, which is lacking on this team. Hernandez runs like he has a Mack truck tied to his butt. Let’s see how he looks in spring training. Of all the guys being mentioned as a replacement, there is only one I would even consider, and he is going to cost a ton. Bo Bichette. Adames is a good fielder, but a strikeout machine, so is Hernandez. But AF knows better than I do. So, I think we need to give the kid a real look instead of condemning him before he has the job. Dodgers just signed RHP Elieser
Hernandez to a minor league deal. The 28-year-old last pitched in the majors for Miami in 2022. He has a 10-21 record over 5 seasons in the majors with a 5.04 ERA. 48 of his 90 games have been starts. He also has an invite to spring training.

Last edited 5 months ago by Oldbear48
Jayne Cobb

Re Lux.

I tend to agree with those who saw Lux play in Rancho. I saw Lux play a couple dozen times when he was in the CA league. However, let’s not forget that was 2017. 6 years is a long time. I saw Lux make a lot of improvements with his throwing mechanics at 2b in 2022. Given that he was handed the SS job before 2023, I am willing to bet he spent a massive amount of time last offseason and this one working on his mechanics from SS. He never had an a cannon but I don’t recall seeing any particular play where his arm strength seemed to be an issue.

Frankly, while everybody else is worried about Lux’s arm, I am more concerned with his knee. I believe he is likely to retain his downhill running speed, but what about lateral movement and explosiveness? My concern is that a knee injury like the one Lux sustained will affect his range and quickness. Arm mechanics can be fixed. Blowing out your knee can cause problems that can’t be.

That said, the Dodgers have certainly been monitoring Lux’ rehab and they have been resolute that the SS position is his to lose. They know more than us. My main concern is that his knee is 100% and won’t have negative effects on his range.

Just MHO


Makes sense.

He’s played 6 different positions in 4 years and had a positive dWAR every year. Stick him short and leave him there.

Mark Timmons

I am all for giving him the position, and I hope he does well. I know he can hit. I think he will put up a .850+ OPS, and I sincerely hope that he proves me wrong in my belief that he cannot play SS. Who was the last SS with the YIPS who overcame them?


The yips? That was a few years ago. He’s over that.

Look I don’t know if he can play short after that injury. But I know he was drafted as a shortstop and has all the tools to be adequate out there. He can hit and he hasn’t entered his prime yet. I think the team will give him every opportunity to stay out there.

Phil Jones

The league is full of players who were originally drafted as shortstops and were moved.


Dodgers have 10 players arbitration eligible with Suero signing a minor league deal with the Astros. Name and projected salary these are the high estimates, W. Smith, 9.3, W. Buehler, 8.03, R. Yarbrough, 3.8, E. Phillips, 3.8, B. Graterol, 2.5, D. May, 2.4, C. Ferguson, 2.3, Y. Almonte, 1.9, A. Vesia, 1.2, G. Lux, 1.1, JP.Feyereisen 1.0. Gonzalez was on the list, but he was traded to the Yankees. Some teams reaching agreements with players already.

Jayne Cobb

Good analysis Jeff.

This off-season has done more to point out just how much baseball has changed in the last 20 years. And how so few fans, and even professional sports writers, understand those changes.

When I first read Moneyball, it was a fascinating look inside an organization that was fully transitioning into modernity. The movie was fun, but obviously oversimplified and modified the story for film audiences. What that book represented, in hindsight, was the beginning of baseball entering a “modern era” insofar as player/roster analysis is concerned. Within 5 years most MLB teams were adopting SABR metric into their baseball operations. Prior to the early 2000s, many teams were still being run like they were 30-40 years prior. “Gut feeling”, superstition and baseless biases were still driving decisions. Owners and GM’s were largely from old baseball families and subscribed to “traditional” methods for making baseball decisions. Moneyball was that moment when the modern and traditional began to merge, across the whole sport.

I believe this off-season is another one of those moments; when modern finance becomes a universal part of the game. Something that should have happed decades ago. But baseball is always slow accept change. Which isn’t a bad thing. The history of the sport means more to baseball than any other major sport. But the Dodgers off-season is a watershed moment. When a team owned by some of the most successful minds in modern finance add their significant knowledge and experience to an already powerhouse of player analysis and player development. From this point on, the “old school” owners will be exposed for the dinosaurs that they are. That a guy like Arte Moreno can’t just sit in his billionaire suite and run a team like an MLB fiefdom. Shooting from the hip and micromanaging decisions which they are incapable of properly understanding. The perpetual underperformers among ownership will fall further behind and teams adopt a modern way of looking at baseball finance. A way that has been the norm in every other industry on earth.

The Ohtani contract is unique in one additional way, other than the ones mentioned by Jeff. Ohtani made certain concessions (no interest on the deferred money) that benefited the Dodgers tremendously. He had benefits as well, when it comes to State taxes. But this contract represents what amounts to Ohtani making an investment in the Dodgers. He basically gave the Dodgers an interest free loan for two decades. This will give the Dodgers financial flexibility which makes the teams success more likely. Which the Dodgers immediately put to use. Ohtani might not technically be shareholder in the Dodgers, but he’s as close as a player can be to being a minority owner. Ohtani and the Dodgers financial future are massively intertwined. They have effectively, and mutually, made a massive investment in each other. That’s more of a partnership than a player/owner dynamic. And it makes a lot of sense. On many levels. And I believe it is good for baseball. This will be a normal aspect to large contracts moving forward.

Many fans and writers can’t comprehend what just happens. But they also couldn’t comprehend WAR and BABIP 20 years ago. But the changes were here to stay. Let them carry on about how this will destroy baseball. The dodgers are playing Global Thermal Nuclear War with Joshua (geek reference) while many fans and writers are playing Shoots and Ladders. And this shift might be the thing that finally exposes the filthy rich blue blood owners whose teams are perpetually non competitive from those being run by professionals.

Mark my words. The Dodgers just changed everything. For better or worse.

Mark Timmons

I totally agree but I admit I did not see it at the time.


Ohtani did sign a WOPR of a contract.

I was laughing uncontrollably at baseball Twitter’s response to the signing. “They’re ruining the game!””

People don’t realize that by deferring over so many years, a contract structured like this actually gives mid and smaller market teams the potential flexibility to sign a player like Ohtani.

You wouldn’t be expected to drop a bunch of cash to buy a house. It’s amortized over 30 years. It allows people to afford to something out of reach in the short term.

The Dodgers are just taking in more long-term debt so they can be the beneficiary of a shorter term investment that will pay off in a big way.

The electricity you could feel when Ohtani struck out Trout to win the WBC should have been a clue that the game, too, was about to change in another way. I think it will truly become a real international game, and Ohtani will be Its biggest star. That’s reason enough to sign him. Winning a World Series or two is just gravy.


Winning a World Series or two is the only reason to do it. We’re not selling jeans jerseys here.


I agree as long as the politicians stay out of the mix.


He is the proverbial HIGH reward and low risk pitcher. Did you mean to say high risk or because it was a minor league contract it is a low risk?

Jeff Dominique

MiLB contract makes it very low risk.

Bill Russell

Hello Jeff, I rarely comment but will once in awhile. I am hoping you can approve me.

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