It’s been almost exactly 24 hours since news broke of the Guggenheim group being selected by Frank McCourt, and as you can imagine, the day has been filled with plenty of discussion about debt, parking lots, and revenue sources – and rightfully so.
Those are all eminently worthwhile discussion topics, and believe me, we’ll have plenty of time to get deeply into all of that in the coming weeks. But here’s what else we’ve learned over the last day; after years of watching this team bottomfeed for the Chris Capuanos and Juan Riveras of the world rather than get in on the big fish, observers of other teams are absolutely terrified of what the Dodgers are going to be able to do next winter.
The Dodgers’ outfield currently consists of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and a black hole. Ethier is a free agent after the season. Hamilton is one of the most marketable and popular players in the game right now. And the Dodgers will have money to spend.
You think Magic might be at Hamilton’s house at 12:01 a.m. on the first day of free agency this year? You think new ownership might be willing to offer the type of “Jayson Werth contract” — 7 years, $126 million — that Hamilton is supposed saying is a starting point on a new deal, and that the Rangers aren’t going to come close to matching?
Most likely, this is Josh Hamilton‘s last season in Texas. I expect next year at this time, he’ll be wearing Dodger blue.
For the record, I absolutely do not want to give Josh Hamilton a 7/$126m deal or anything like it.
Jim Kozimor, CSN Bay Area:
If I’m a Giants fan, I’m nervous. Here’s why:
- If someone spends that kind of money for a baseball team it’s not just a trinket they can hold. They want to play with it.
- Long term, the Giants are now pitted against a Yankees-like financial powerhouse.
- Of more immediate concern: L.A. has to be considered a player in the Matt Cain Sweepstakes.
Henry Schulman, San Francisco Gate:
I can’t begin to guess whether this will make it harder for the Giants to sign Cain, either now or next fall. But there is no question he has the Giants over a barrel now. That does not mean the Giants should hand Cain a blank contract and let him fill in the figure. But if Cain wants something approaching market value to sign now, the Giants are probably going to have spend above their comfort level. Will they do it? I still think they will.
Remember, the man at the helm now, Larry Baer, is a marketing man. Surely he understands the wrath that the ticket-buyers will feel if the Giants do not make a competitive offer and let him walk, especially if he walks into Chavez Ravine.
Kevin Cooney, Phils-ville:
You don’t spend that type of money and then suddenly decide to go cheap. And in a town where the Dodgers brand name was king at one point, Johnson now brings instant credibility to both fans and potential free agents. And while Stan Kasten will be the baseball guy running the show and there will be others with bigger financial stakes, Johnson – who has made a fortune after his career in various business interest – is the drawing card.
And how would this impact the Phillies? Well, let’s start with a certain left-handed starting pitcher.
Lost in the injury din of the lost spring in Clearwater has been the fact that things on the Cole Hamels front have been extremely quiet. John Boggs came into town for a few days, but progress has not been reported.
Hey, who knows how many of these guys ever make it to the market, or if we even want them. But for once, it seems that the Dodgers might actually be in the market for top players rather than simply those who fall into their limited payroll structure. Other teams are already taking notice. Is it wrong to be looking forward to the 2012-13 offseason more than the 2012 season itself?