The Downside of a Bottomless Budget

The Dodgers may or may not have a limit to how much money they’re willing to spend. We don’t know. But, as we anticipated when the big Boston deal went down, the willingness to eat so much risky Crawford/Beckett money to get Adrian Gonzalez is only going to open the door to having everyone think that they can simply pawn off every other bad contract on the Dodgers.

Today’s clownshoe culprit is Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:

Thinking out loud: Why wouldn’t the Dodgers take on Alex Rodriguez? The Yankees would gladly eat some of the contract. With Carl Crawford joining them in May (or sooner) after his surgery, the Dodgers will likely not re-sign Shane Victorinosaving a few bucks (not that money matters)

Do I even need to here? While I’ve thought the furor about Rodriguez’ postseason performance this year is overblown, he’s 37 years old with five years and $114m left on his contract. Even if the Yankees eat some of that, the point is… what, exactly? Remember, taking on the Crawford risk was necessary to get Gonzalez, whereas Cafardo offers no reason for the Dodgers to want Rodriguez other than “well, they have money.” (I have no idea how letting the approximately $3.3m they paid Victorino this year go has any relevance.)

For the record, the Dodgers were connected to Rodriguez back in 2007, when it was expected he would opt out of his contract and pursue free agency. (He did opt out, but stayed in New York.) We didn’t like the idea any better at the time:

Even worse, while he might actually be worth that much now, what happens when he’s 38, 39, and 40 and is still owed that much? That has disaster written all over it.

Shockingly, a Hall of Fame caliber player is no longer as good at 37 as he was at 32 or 27 or 22, and that’s not a trend likely to turn around. So yeah, why wouldn’t the Dodgers want in on that? Come on, Nick. You’re better than that.

Official Position on: Alex Rodriguez

First off, quick site business: Big doings around here lately. Thanks to our friends at BaseballThinkFactory linking to the Pierre article, we broke our one-day high for hits the other day. On that same thread, we also broke the site record for comments, mostly by our blue-blooded brethren at the Big Blue Wrecking Crew.

So powered by CHJ stealing my thunder, and with apologies in advance for the shoddy Photoshopping…

There’s a chance that one of the ten best players of all time may be available this offseason, at the peak of his abilities. Not only that, he perfectly fits the Dodgers needs – he’s a third baseman, which is a hole that we just have had an impossible time filling, AND he’s a fantastic power hitter, which is without question the biggest issue in this lineup. Plus, he’d just cost money, not our tasty tasty prospects. The Dodger online fan presence is already drunk with possibilities, most of them along the lines of “let’s do it!”

Sounds great! Sign me up?noaroddodgers.jpg

Well, no.

Because the first “Official Position of MSTI.com” is:

SAY NO TO A-ROD IN 2008.

“MSTI, are you drunk?”, people might say. And while the answer is “yes”, that’s besides the point.

The problem I have with going after A-Rod has absolutely nothing to do with his work between the lines. He’s fantastic. Astounding. He’s going to break a whole lot of records in the coming years, and there sure isn’t anything wrong with having your team’s uniform be the one people see in the video clips for years to come. The problem I’m seeing here is how much cold hard currency it’s going to take to sign him up, and whether it’s actually worth it.

It’s not that I have a problem with him being the highest paid player in the game; I don’t. But the numbers being thrown around? Ungodly. Bora$ is actually throwing numbers out there like 12 years and $360 million dollars. (Side note: is it even possible to read that sentence without doing a Dr. Evil voice? I tried my hardest and couldn’t come close.) That’s $30 million a year, and by all estimates that’s the low end.

Let’s say the Blue give him $30 million per year. That’s one quarter to one third of the payroll tied up in one player. Now, A-Rod has been a remarkably durable player in his career. But all it takes is one foul ball off the toe, one wild pitcher that wonks him on the wrist, or one awkward step of the thousands he takes each season, and the Dodgers are now essentially a team with a $70 million payroll and a gaping hole in the order and at 3B they can’t afford to fill. Even worse, while he might actually be worth that much now, what happens when he’s 38, 39, and 40 and is still owed that much? That has disaster written all over it.

If we’re spending $30 million a year on free agents, I think I’d much rather have 2 excellent $15 million players than one sublime $30 million player. I think I’d rather give Andruw Jones $17 million a year to play CF, $10 million to some other team to take Juan Pierre and his remaining $35 million off our hands, and $3 million to throw a parade celebrating that Juan Pierre is off our hands.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with spending big-time money on a free agent. If this is a big-market team, let’s act like one, especially because one of the ancillary benefits of having so many young players up is that they all make relatively little. But for the numbers and years being tossed around? Count me out.

I’d be willing to give him six years, no more. And while I think it’s obscene to even offer this much, I’d do $27 million a year, just because there’s no way he’s not getting a raise from his curent $25. 6/162? That’s a lot of coin. And it’s not going to be anywhere near what he’ll actually get.

That said, if he does end up in LA, I reserve the right to be thrilled when he’s killing the National League and we’re in 1st place.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg