Are the days of Dodger fans discussing the cost of contracts over? They should be.
There is quite a stir that was caused by the Brandon League signing yesterday. It isn’t over the fact that the Dodgers signed him for three years. The complaints being bandied about are over the $22 million that will be paid to him.
Here’s the thing. Why should we care what the Guggenheim group paid League anyway? This ownership group has gobs of money, as evidenced by the July and August grabs this past year. What’s another $22 million anyway? After years and years of fiscal restraint, these guys toss around money like it’s growing on trees. After doing a bit of number crunching, I can see why. The Dodgers revenue stream has extremely healthy prospects.
Let’s look at Dodger expenditures since the ownership change. This is possibly subject to some errors and even an unintentional omission or two. My point is that money is no object with this group:
- April, 2012 – Guggenheim Partners purchase the Dodgers for an American sports franchise record $2.15 billion.
- June 12, 2012 – Andre Ethier’s contract is extended through 2018 when he’ll be 36 years old. Ethier is to receive $100 million with a $2.5 million buyout option following his final season.
- June 29, 2012 – the Dodgers secure the winning bid for Cuban Outfielder Yasiel Puig in a 7 year deal for $42 million.
- July 25, 2012 – Ned Colletti deals with the Florida Marlins and receives Hanley Ramirez and the remainder of his $46.5 million dollar contract in exchange for Nathan Eovaldi (making the major league minimum) and minor leaguer Scott McGough. Randy Choate was also part of the deal, so the Dodgers took on the remainder of his $1.5 million salary.
- July 30, 2012 – Brandon League and the remainder of his $5 million contract come over from the Seattle Mariners. The Dodgers are on the hook for about $2 million of it.
- July 31, 2012 – Shane Victorino is acquired. The pro-rated amount owed him for the remainder of the season is about $4.5 million.
- August 25, 2012 – in a blockbuster deal the Dodgers acquire Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. In the process they take on $262 million in salary.
- October 30, 2012 – the Dodgers ink free agent closer Brandon League to a three year deal for $22.5 million.
So looking at the numbers in long form, the running totals are as such:
- Original purchase price: $2,150,000,000
- plus Ethier’s contract $2,252,500,000
- plus Puig’s contract $2,294,500,000
- plus Hanley and Choate $2,342,500,000
- plus Brandon League Seattle contract $2,344,500,000
- plus Victorino’s pro-rated contract $2,349,000,000
- plus 4 contracts from Boston $2,611,000,000
- plus Brandon Leagues new deal $2,633,500,000
Deducting that original ball club purchase price, the Guggenheim group has taken on $483.5 million in salary in a matter of six months. This isn’t even calculating the contracts they inherited from the McCourt regime, (i.e. Kemp’s $180 million and money sill owed to Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones). Combine all that with Stadium renovation costs that haven’t been made public, but could possibly run over $100 million this off-season, (with many more to come). The ownership has probably spent in the neighborhood of $2.75 billion dollars on the Dodgers since taking over in May of this year.
It makes you wonder why fans would snipe over a piddly $22 million dollar deal to lock up one of the game’s best closers for three years. The Brandon League contract makes up roughly 0.8 % of what they have spent this year so far in 2012. It’s not a drop in the ocean. More like a pint of water in a 22 gallon drum. We aren’t the Oakland A’s folks. This team has a lot of money to spend, and the revenue streams aren’t coming from ticket sales. TV revenues will be the driving force.
The Angels 17 year TV deal with Fox Sports pays them $2.5 billion, which explains why they could shell out $317.5 million for Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Estimates are that the Dodgers might even fetch up twice that of the Fox deal. Throw a good chunk of $5 billion into the Dodgers coffers and we are talking about money not being an object for the remainder of my years as a fan. Another factor that I haven’t even thrown into the equation is Guggenheim’s interest in purchasing the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the largest and most profitable sports and entertainment company in the world.
My point in all this folks: don’t sweat the small stuff. A $22 million/3 year deal for a closer is seriously “small stuff.” Heck, with this group, a $300 million dollar deal for a superstar is relatively small in the grand scheme of things. While Larry Baer, President of the World Series winning Giants is giddy about additional revenue streams his club got from the extra playoff games and the concerts that will be held this off-season at AT&T Park, the Dodgers will never have to worry about creating such additional revenue to pay the bills. It’s a good position to be in and very few fans understand the enormity of riches this ball club has.
If I were a fan of the Giants, I’d be seriously concerned at the Dodgers and their financial state. There is no possible way that things will continue as they are. The Dodgers are simply too strong fiscally.