The top two free agents who were left on the market have now gone off the board in the course of a week.
Zack Grienke signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on December 8th to a six year deal worth $147 million dollars. Just today, Josh Hamilton joined the Dodgers’ cross-town rivals and shocked the baseball world by signing with the Los Angeles Angels on a five year deal worth $125 million dollars.
I’m sure you all remember the off-season heading into 2009 where the New York Yankees went out and spent a combined $423.5 million on Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and AJ Burnett over the course of eight, seven, and five year deals respectively. What happened during the 2009 season? Well the Yankees ended up winning the World Series. This win did not come without Yankee-haters screaming the constant argument of, “the Yankees bought their World Series!” While that may be true, it is an argument that even now with the Yankees trying to cut corners, still lingers.
It needs to stop.
Up until last year, the Dodgers were never really known to be free-spenders. This all changed once the now infamous trade with the Boston Red Sox took place in which the Dodgers received Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and their large contracts. Taking on this much money put the Dodgers near the very top of the highest payrolls in baseball. Add in the fact that they just signed Grienke for an asinine amount of money, and they are actually ahead of the Yankees in payroll.
Meanwhile, the Angels were making their own moves. During the 2011 off-season, the Angels signed two of the top free agents on the same day: Albert Pujols, and CJ Wilson. Pujols and Wilson were signed to $210 million and $75 million dollar contracts over the course of ten and five years respectively. Earlier today, the Angels did it again and came away with Hamilton who signed for five years and $125 million. Add in the contracts of the players that they already have, and they too are near the Yankees in total payroll.
Baseball is now going into an age where “buying championships” is becoming a moot argument as many teams are attempting to do it. However, there is most likely a bit of a media bias as well. I am sure that if the Angels or Dodgers were to win the World Series this year, nobody would be saying that they bought their titles. But if the Yankees were to win – even with a slimmer payroll – it is a complaint that would once again be plastered everywhere. It should not be this way, and this constant complaint must come to an end.
Follow Hunter Farman on Twitter @hfarman1