Nationals

Dodgers’ Payroll Now Exceeds $300 Million as Baseball Competition Moves From the Field To the Bankers

by Scott Mandel

According to national baseball columnist, Bob Nightengale, the Dodgers payroll is now above $300 million since adding Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals to their mix of players.

The Nationals, who handed those two star players to the Dodgers for four unproven prospects, now has a payroll of $128.16 million, less than half the Dodgers.


In baseball, there is a luxury tax which kicks in at $210 million for team payrolls. It was installed a quarter century ago to achieve a semblance of competitive balance between large market teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Neuvo York Jankees vs. the small-market teams like the Kansas City Royals and the Fred Wilpon-owned New York Mets which could never compete, financially with the big guys. (The Mets have since become a big market team with new ownership).


The Dodgers have the highest payroll in the sport, by far, at $275 million, or, $65 million over the salary threshold. This means the Dodgers will be paying a luxury tax in the range of 40% of that $65 million or, an additional $26 million, pushing the Dodgers overall payroll expense north of $300 million.


The Kansas City Royals’ payroll is $127 million. The Miami Marlins payroll is $58 million, a fifth of the Dodgers. Even the Yankees, who somehow convinced the Cubs and the Rangers to pay the remaining 2021 salaries of the recently acquired Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo (not the dead gangster) have not exceeded the $210 million salary threshold, as they regularly used to do when George Steinbrenner owned the team.

Enough said about parity in major league baseball under its current commissioner, Rob Manfred. It’s more like a parody.

Guggenheim Baseball Management Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty  Images
Not one of these current Dodger owners ever played baseball or ran a baseball team


It seems the Dodgers, a baseball brand name with an unusually spotty ownership history, are more interested in purchasing a World Series championship than competing for it on the field. The franchise was owned by the Ebbets Family during the early Brooklyn years and sold to the O’Malley family in 1945, which ran a steady and stable ship for 53 years. Walter O’Malley moved the team to Los Angeles in 1958, holding onto ownership until 1998, when his son, Peter, who inherited the team upon his father’s death, sold the Dodgers to Rupert Murdoch, a criminal in so many ways, and his Fox Entertainment Group. Fox Sports, using the Dodgers games as tv programming for their stations, held onto the team for only 5 years before they sold it to another crook, Frank McCourt, who was forced by the Lords of Baseball to divest himself of the Dodgers in 2012 because of nefarious business acts, like embezzlement of the team’s earnings for personal gain. Now, something called Guggenheim Baseball Management (not a lot of flare in that name, is there?) which bought the team out of bankruptcy court owns the famous franchise, which has been run like a circus since the mid-90s. Guggenheim consists of such esteemed baseball people as Billie Jean King, Magic Johnson, Peter Guber (the movie producer), Stan Kasten (former NBA executive with the Atlanta Hawks), and some money guys. Tommy LaSorda must be spinning in his grave.

They may not know anything about baseball but apparently, they know how to buy players for a stretch run.

But, that’s okay, These geniuses at Guggenheim are paying an alleged serial rapist, Trevor Bauer, a star pitcher they acquired in free agency before this season, a whopping $32 million not to pitch because sometimes, bad people and bad organizations get what they deserve.

Scherzer Goes Six Shutout Innings Before Nats Bullpen Implodes in 6-1 Loss to Mets

It’s not every day you get to witness a matchup of arguably, the two best pitchers in baseball but, yesterday, at Citi Field, the Mets Jacob deGrom, the Cy Young Award winner last season, faced the Nationals’ Max Scherzer, the Cy Young winner the season before that.

Scherzer was trying to help Washington avoid a third straight loss to the New York Mets and a fourth straight loss overall, but he was matched up against right-hander Jacob deGrom, who beat him out for the 2018 NL Cy Young award.

Scherzer’s manager, Davey Martinez, told reporters before the third game of four against the Mets in Citi Field that he thought his ace would be up for the challenge.

“He’s a fierce competitor and he loves to win,” Martinez said. “There’s no other thing for him but winning, so he’s going to out there today and face an opponent that’s pretty good too, but knowing Max he’s going to gives us his best effort and go out there and try to get that win.”

Scherzer’s pitch count was high, but he tossed four scoreless on 73 pitches after the Nats jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, and he picked up three Ks in a 25-pitch fifth that left him with nine strikeouts and 98 pitches overall after five scoreless.

He came back out for the sixth and retired the Mets in order in an 11-pitch frame that ended his outing.

Joe Ross and Matt Grace combined to get the Nationals through the seventh with their 1-0 lead intact, but two runners reached against Kyle Barraclough in the eighth and three runs scored on a bases-loaded double off Sean Doolittle, who gave up a three-run home run as well in what ended up a 6-1 loss.

“Scherzer was amazing,” Martinez told reporters after the loss. “Exceeded the pitch count we thought he was going to have and gave us a chance to win and we just couldn’t close the deal.”

It was another loss for the Nationals, who’ve now dropped four straight overall, three in Citi Field, and 14 of 21 in May.

“No one likes to lose,” Scherzer said after another solid outing in which a potential win was lost in the bullpen.

“Everyone hates losing. Everyone in here hates losing, so you don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself, you play every single day, you have to come out tomorrow and just compete and there’s nothing else you can do.”

Scherzer was asked what the Nationals have to do to keep things from spiraling further out of control after they fell to eleven games under .500 with the loss to the Mets.

“When you face adversity, this is when you reveal yourself,” Scherzer said.

“Whether you have the mental fortitude to come back and know that you can block out all the negativity that’s probably going to surround us right now. You’ve got to come forward to the game with that positive attitude of knowing what you can control, knowing that you have the right mindset that you’re going to go out there and compete and compete at 100%. You have to think of all the little things you can do, and for me that’s really what I’ve been focused on in kind of the past handful of turns in the rotation, of all the little things that I can do to make sure that I’m executing pitches and make sure that I’m throwing the ball the way I want to. It just takes an individual approach when you have adversity.”