Somebody asked Magic Johnson at the Zack Greinke press conference yesterday why his Dodgers keep throwing bucketloads of money at every half-decent free agent and trade return out there.
“We want to win,” Johnson replied.
“Ouch!” went the teams not prepared to go as deeply into their wallets.
We’ll see whether or not this strategy leads to a playoff berth for the Dodgers, because, as we’ve discussed ad nauseum on this blog, there is no guaranteed method for winning in baseball. But spending to get the best players is one way that’s been proven to help get teams to the post-season — witness the Yankees of the past 18 years, along with the Red Sox and Phillies, the Braves and Blue Jays of the early-to-late 1990s — and the Dodgers aren’t planning to spend the next five or seven years embarking on any rebuilding plans.
The price of “wanting to win” — at least, by Johnson’s definition — appears to be going up.
Yesterday, we saw two more names of hitters who could have potentially helped the Mariners get taken by other teams. Kevin Youkilis signed a one-year, $12-million deal with the Yankees, while Shin-Soo Choo was traded to the Reds in a three-way deal between Cleveland-Arizona and Cincinnati that cost a pretty bit in prospects and young major league players.
I’ll be the first to say that I never expected Youkilis to get that kind of money. Then again, I never thought Angel Pagan was worth $40 million over four years.
The price of acquiring talent — be it top-of-the-line, or fading-but-veteran — seems to be rising quite a bit and it isn’t only the Dodgers leading the way.
None of this is good news for the Mariners.More