Mercifully, for Dodger fans, the World Series is over. At this juncture, I would be hard-pressed to say that the two teams in the series were not the best two organizations in baseball. They both took different paths to get there, but both teams have one thing in common: Not many long-term contracts.
The Cardinals have four players under what I would call “Long-term Contracts:
- Matt Holiday -3 Years/$51 Million
- Yadier Molina – 4 Years/$58.8 Million
- Adam Wainwright – 5 Years/$97.5 Million
- Allen Craig – 4 Years/$28.25 Million
The Red Sox have no players they owe past 2 years. Think about the flexibility that brings. They can change the team in an instant.
The Cardinals let Albert Pujols, who at the time was arguably one of the TOP 5 players in baseball walk, because they feared decline and it came as he hit 32 and especially 33. Can he still be relevant at 34? We will find out, but he’s not THAT GUY anymore. Father time takes his toll. The Cardinals made sure they got value for losing him – Michael Wacha who has a brilliant future ahead of him. They signed a stud aging hitter in Carlos Beltran for just one year.
Contrast that with the Dodgers Long-Term Contracts:
- Adrian Gonzalez – 5 Years/$110 Million – Age 33 next year
- Carl Crawford – 4 Years/$85.8 Million – Age 33 next year
- Matt Kemp – 5 Years/$107 Million – Age 30 next year
- Andre Ethier – 4 Years/$69 Million – Age 32 next year
- Zach Greinke – 5 Years/$128 Million – Age 31 next year
- Hyun-Jin Ryu – 5 Years/$31.5 Million – Age 27 next year
I haven’t included Puig,because he can opt out (and will) in two years and the Dodgers will have to outbid everyone. I also haven’t included the 10 Year/$300 Million deal to King Clayton. The Dodgers also have almost $54 million in payroll due in 2014 to Brandon League, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley and Hanley Ramirez – all over 30 next year.
So when I hear that they should sign Robinson Cano who will get $200 to $250 million over 5-7 years, I want to puke. Cano will be 33 years old in the second year of that deal. Those long-term deals seldom work out. Ask the Yankees.
Pujols declined in his 33rd year – wanna bet Gonzo and Crawford decline somewhat or even a lot next year? The Dodgers could trade Ethier and Crawford if they ate about half their deals, but it might be worth it. They are younger with Guerrero at 2B. Dee Gordon is learning the OF (contrary to reports that he would play CF exclusively, he played LF yesterday). I hear that some scouts don’t think he has the instincts to play CF. I can’t say. I haven’t seen him there.
The Dodgers do need to get younger. As much as I would like to have Choo, I think it is likely a bad move – he will command 5 Years at $100+ Million. No thank you!
At what point do you start to trust your youngsters? Joc Pederson, Ross Stripling, Zach Lee, Yimi Garcia, Chris Anderson, Chris Reed, Onelki Garcia, Tom Windle and Jose Dominguez… even Corey Seager is closer than you think. He’s at .160 but has 2 HR – #1 MLB prospect Byron Buxton is hitting .231. The AFL is a different animal – players work on certain aspects of their games, so the stats can frequently be misleading.
I hear rumblings that Hanley may be willing to move to 3B, if the Dodgers were to get a defensive wizard at SS. Elvis Andrus has a big deal, but is 25 years old and is good defensively – maybe Big Mac could get his OB% to the next level. I think it’s likely the Rangers will trade Profar or Andrus this winter. Could Ethier, Crawford and other prospects get one of them in a 3 or 4 way deal?
A lot hinges on Guerrero – can he hit .260 with 20 HR and play good defense? That’s all the Dodgers need from him, but can he do it? We simply don’t know.
There is a lot of work to be done. The Dodgers spending got them close, but the Cardinals and Red Sox team-building plan won out. The Dodgers need to have a plan like theirs. Congratulations to both organizations.
I hope we can say the same thing next year for the Dodgers.