By Scott Mandel
My man, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo hit the nail on the head regarding the Dodgers slick circumvention of tax and luxury penalty rules in baseball by paying Ohtani only $2 million per season for 10 seasons, deferring the other $68 million ($680 million over 10 seasons).
The structuring of this contract will enable the Dodgers to sign more free agents without having to pay baseball’s murderous luxury tax. Good for the Dodgers. Bad for baseball.
From my standpoint, baseball should not allow teams, particularly wealthy teams, especially the wealthiest team in the sport, to circumvent the finance-related rules in so blatant a manner.
On the other hand, being from New York during the George Steinbrenner years, we got to experience up close what the so-called “Evil Empire – New York Yankees“ was doing to the sport by outspending everyone else for free agents like Reggie Jackson and Jim “Catfish“ Hunter and Dave Winfield. Nobody else could afford those guys so the Yankees took advantage of the rules that were in place back in the 1970s and 80s. The Dodgers are doing no different than what the Yankees did, always within the rules. Except, the rules of the day and of today, do not apply to every major league franchise, particularly the poorest of teams. Now, you’ve got teams, and fans accusing the Dodgers of doing a little dipsy doo with the rules by deferring payments of Ohtani for many years down the road, long after Ohtani retires.
Advice to the Lords of baseball, the 30 owners and the commissioner’s office: Change the rules of financial engagement if you want to equalize the playing field off the field. But, don’t rip the Dodgers for having more money than anybody else.
After all, capitalism and stretching the rules are the American way.