Raise your hand if you have ever had more bills than you have money to pay them. Don’t feel bad because I assure you my hand was up as well. One group you might not expect to be involved in those that just raised their hands are the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their payroll is too high for the money that they will have left over after paying their bills. If this sounds familiar, you probably are a fan of the movie “Major League II”.
Remember in the movie when Rodger Dorn was told he only had enough money to run the team for three months? He put signs all over the place and sold add space literally everywhere in order to make up the difference. One thing he did as well is trade away the team’s highest paid player. Obviously this is real life for the Dodgers and unfortunately not something that will be fixed over an hour and a half plot line.
The group that bought the team, Mark Walter, Stan Kasten, Peter Guber and Magic Johnson, appear to have the money to afford a huge payroll because they have a big money TV deal. Well unfortunately they also have a huge payroll which then means they have to pay a lot of money back to Major League Baseball to keep with the profit sharing agreement. They still have some money to pay to the former owner for the parking lots and other smaller parts of the agreements. There is more and I could go through all of the gory details but suffice it to say that the Dodgers have more going out than they have coming in. They are going slowly going broke.
Now it is time for a good news bad news moment. The good news for the owners is that it usually takes a long time for millionaires to go broke. The bad news is that their payroll is upwards of a couple of hundred million dollars this year. That will help the millions and millions of dollars they have evaporate very quickly. What’s the answer? They need to get rid of the big money players they do not need.
For starters, pun intended, the pitching staff has a total salary of about $94 Million by themselves. Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley and Zack Greinke make up nearly $46 million by themselves while staff ace Clayton Kershaw makes 11. See, that’s just not smart marketing. Here is what you do. You get rid of Beckett and Greinke to clear up $34 mil. Now, to the batting order.
Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford are making about $40 million for injury riddled seasons. Call it bad luck but they need to get one healthy and gain $20 million back. From there you could get rid of Hanley Ramirez for a cool $15 million. Call me crazy but it is going to take crazy moves to get this back in line. These moves would send four players away and gain the owners around $70 million, minus whatever they would have to continue paying of each contract. In all likelihood they would be okay with big moves like this. They could even keep Greinke and send Ted Lilly packing if Greinke is untouchable. The pieces are somewhat interchangeable but if they want to avoid looking like a comedy movie from the 1990’s, they are going to have to do something to right this situation.