Earlier this week, news came out that the Dodgers‘ front office was looking to keep the team under the luxury tax for the next four years.
This thought was not well received by the fans of the Boys in Blue, as they had just endured back to back losses in the World Series. In addition, the most recent defeat was to a team in the Boston Red Sox that spent whatever was needed to win a championship, even though they had just done so five years prior.
One train of thought could be that the front office is doing well conserving money and still building a team that was able to achieve back-to-back trips to the World Series. Regardless of winning, that is indeed a difficult thing to do. Fans remember well the Frank McCourt era where massive contracts were given/taken on and the team did not perform well in the least. Friedman and Company have focused their efforts on home grown talent and getting cost-efficient additions to the team, while still maintaining a top level organization.
But, just being good isn’t everything. Fans are desperate to see their team win it all, and watching them fail two years in a row has only increased that yearning. In fact, the Dodgers have been close every year for the last six years without breaking through, each season only deepening the heartache.
When the front office announced last winter that the 2018 season would be about getting under $197 million in payroll and resetting the luxury tax, most fans understood. They knew that this winter, there was going to be a huge free agent class, in addition to Clayton Kershaw being able to opt out of his current contract. Presumably, the front office would be ready to finally spend to get the Dodgers to the glorious land of being World Series Champions.
But now comes the news, in a strategic plan shared with investors, that the Dodgers intend to be conservative for the foreseeable future. It could be that this is a new strategy for top teams, as both the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs have indicated that they both would be taking this approach as well. It could be that management all through the league is undercutting the salaries of its employees. That thought is better left for another blog post.
Regardless of the reasoning, if the Dodgers fail to put together a super dynamic team that can win the World Series, they are seriously running the risk of alienating their fans. The Dodgers are number one in attendance every season, and those that don’t attend have found ways to watch the game even if they don’t have the required cable company. Dodger fans in Southern California and around the world deserve a championship sooner than later, and this front office would be wise to keep that the main goal and not saving cash by staying under the luxury tax.