As I sit here and look at my bank account to determine if it is time for a microwaved dinner or if I can actually afford some decent food, I can’t help but feel utter rage over what I just read. In recent years, Major League Baseball players have been setting record contract deals almost every other day. The Los Angeles Dodgers just signed Clayton Kershaw to the highest pitching deal in MLB history. Kershaw’s new 7-year $215 million deal with Dodgers is the cherry on top of this insane baseball tradition.
Just one month after Robinson Cano signed the 4th largest contract ever with the Seattle Mariners, pissing off every Yankees fan by the way, Kershaw agreed to an astonishing $31 million a year deal for 7 years. This makes Kershaw now the 12th Pitcher in MLB history to sign a contract worth over $100 million dollars. Yes you read that correctly, there are now 12 different pitchers that have signed contracts for playing a sport that demands them to work no more than 40 days out of the year. When you look at it that way it really makes you wonder if any of these players are actually worth it.
I still remember when Kevin Brown signed the first ever $100+ million dollar deal and how absurd that sounded when it happened. Now it has just become absolutely disgraceful. To keep it in perspective, it isn’t just pitchers that are paid with these exorbitant deals. In 2013 alone, there were 20 different players that made at least $20 million dollars and only half of those were pitchers. The amount of money these “athletes” are making is unfathomable. If you don’t like my quotations on the word athletes take a look at the image below.
There is no denying that baseball is the overall least athletic of America’s 5 major sports (Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey and Soccer). I just don’t understand how some teams can justify paying a single player this much money. With Kershaw and Cano’s new deals there are now 6 players in the MLB that will make more money next season than the entire Houston Astros team (Houston’s 2013 teams total salary was slightly over $24,000,000).
So I ask everyone reading this, is there any justification for paying someone this much money? Sure, Kershaw has been the best pitcher in the National League, and arguably all of Baseball over the last 3 years, but even so is he worth $30+ million a season. In his first 6 seasons, Clayton has only hit the 20 win mark once (21 in 2011 when he won his first Cy Young). So let’s say that he is going to have a career year next season and win 25 games for the Dodgers; that would mean that LA paid Kershaw alone $1,228,571.43 for each of those wins. That’s not even taking into account the games he might lose. This is clearly a preposterous amount for any player no matter how good he may be.
All in all, my point is that Baseball needs to come up with some salary cap rules similar to those of the NBA to regulate what these players are making. At this pace, players around bound to be making close to $40,000,000 a year by 2020. That is just laughable!
Right now LA has some money and they seem to be willing to spend it all to bring a Championship back to a city that hasn’t won the World Series since 1988. The Dodgers season thus far has been quite an anomaly with their lineup not producing runs with all-star names and their starting pitching, basically filled with under-achieving veterans outside of Clayton Kershaw, completely dominating anyone they face. Currently, the Dodgers pitching staff is third in all of baseball with a team ERA of 3.37 and opponents BA of .237. LA has seemed to have struck gold with career years by Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Chad Billingsley. Now if you add a proven winner, Josh Beckett, to the mix you have one of the scariest starting rotations the game has to offer. I know a lot of people think that Beckett’s career is coming to an end but when you have that winning pedigree like he does you should never count him out. With Kenley Jensen making a name for himself as one of the more reliable closer’s in baseball, the Dodgers seem to be completely set when it comes to their pitching.
While the Dodger pitching has been stellar, their hitting has been abysmal. Last year, Matt Kemp had a season that most people thought should have ended with him winning the NL MVP. That honor went to Ryan Braun, but the deserving Kemp didn’t let that get him down and he came out of the gates this season like Katniss Everdeen…on fire. Through the first month and half to two months, Kemp was once again the front-runner for the MVP award but he suffered a couple of injuries that set him back. His right hand man, Andre Ethier helped to carry the load for a while, but the truth of the matter is that these two great hitters were not near enough to make the Dodgers a formidable team. Before the trade deadline rolled around this season, the Dodgers knew they had to fix their lineup and put some pieces both in front and behind Kemp and Ethier. The acquisitions of the scrappy and fast gold glove center fielder, Shane Victorino, and the power hitting but currently struggling, Hanley Ramirez, were two steps in the right direction. While 4 quality bats in the lineup is better than 2, it still wasn’t enough to separate the Dodgers from the rest of the pack.
At the beginning of this week, the Dodgers had a pivotal 3 game series against their rivals, the San Francisco Giants. These two teams have been neck and neck for majority of the season, fighting for that coveted NL West title. The Giants ended up sweeping the Dodgers and now hold a 3 games lead over their rivals. Some consider their rivalry the best in baseball while other’s, including NYBobby (https://sports-debaters.com/2012/08/15/second-best-rivalry-in-baseball-heats-up/), find it behind the rivalry of the Yanks and Sox. With the Giants pulling away in the West and the Dodgers trailing the Cardinals for the final wildcard slot, LA had to make some moves. Well Dodger fans, the moves have been made and now it looks like your team is the best in baseball…on paper. With Adrian Gonzalez at first and Carl Crawford as a utility outfielder, the Dodgers now have a lineup that looks more like the Yankees and Rangers.
While they look like the best team on paper, will that translate to them being the best team in baseball? I honestly think so. I can see the Dodgers making a strong push towards the end of this season which will either lead to them winning the West or getting them one of the two wildcard spots. Either way, if this team makes the playoffs with their current roster healthy, they will be the most feared team in the playoffs. While my man Donny Baseball never won that coveted ring when playing for the Yankees, it sure looks like he is poised to win one now as the Dodgers head coach.