Dodgers crack the $200 million barrier

October, 31, 2012
10/31/12
11:37
AM PT
The reaction to the Dodgers' three-year, $22.5 million deal with reliever Brandon League seems to be tepid, at best. Grantland.com's Jonah Keri tweeted in response to the move, "Burning piles of cash is the new market inefficiency."

It is, of course, a hefty pile of cash for a pitcher who has really only worked about a year-and-a-half as a closer over an eight-year span. Then again, if League proves to be the final piece that turns the Dodgers into World Series contenders, who cares?

Once again, it proves the Dodgers are willing to take this thing to financial depths never before explored. Already, they have just over $200 million committed to their 2013 payroll, when you include the $8.33 million in deferred money they'll owe Manny Ramirez. That total locks up just 18 major-league players and prospect Yasiel Puig. Catcher A.J. Ellis is arbitration eligible and likely to make at least $3.5 or $4 million. The team still is in the market for a frontline starting pitcher.

It's practically a lock that the Dodgers will open next season as the most expensive team in baseball history, surpassing the 2008 New York Yankees, who handed out $209 million. Even if they somehow come in short of that figure, they still would be the first non-Yankee team since the 1998 Baltimore Orioles to lead the majors in payroll.

The Yankees, by the way, have about $131 million tied up in just eight players going into 2013, so they could still pass the Dodgers. Then again, the Yankees have been hesitant to dole out luxury tax money to other teams and have reined in their spending in recent seasons.

The question, as usual, will be how far does it get the Dodgers? They're in a division with the best team in baseball, the two-time champion San Francisco Giants, plus improving young teams in Arizona and San Diego. Money doesn't buy you love and it doesn't buy you championships, usually. The 1998 Orioles finished in fourth place.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
.296 13 59 73
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 19
RBIA. Gonzalez 91
RY. Puig 73
OPSY. Puig .869
WC. Kershaw 16
ERAC. Kershaw 1.73
SOC. Kershaw 194