Rosenthal: the Dodgers should have a $150 million payroll

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Let’s forget for a moment that Ken Rosenthal likes to rip the Yankees and Red Sox new ones for outspending everyone and making a mockery of their division and just enjoy him ripping Frank McCourt a new one for not outspending everyone and making a mockery out of the NL West:

The Dodgers should have capitalized upon their revenues, traded for an
ace at one of the last two non-waiver deadlines and reached the World Series by now. They
should be dominating the NL West, a division in which no other team
approaches their financial might. Instead, they’re fretting over their
starting rotation, which lacks an ace at the top and depth at the bottom.

Goes on and on like that, with Rosenthal noting that their payroll will be lower than the Twins’ payroll this year and asking us, multiple times, to imagine what life would be like if the Dodgers spent $150 million on players. He ends the article by saying “They’re the Los Angeles Dodgers, for crying out loud. Imagine if they acted like it.”

My slight dig at him aside, Rosenthal is absolutely right about this. Between the size of their market, their attendance, their merchandising reach and the fact that they own the ballpark and all the land around it, the Dodgers basically have a license to print money.  If the Dodgers, as Rosenthal says, acted like the Dodgers, they could have made trades for any number of pitchers that have come available in recent years. They could have come to represent a west coast counterweight to the Yankees in the free agent market, diminishing some of Bombers’ power. And if they stepped things up perhaps another NL team steps things up like the Red Sox did in response to the Yankees getting their act together in the 90s.

Except the McCourts (a) bought the team by leveraging themselves to the hilt; and (b) decided to suck money out of the team for their own personal use
at an astonishing rate.  Yes, there has been some recent on-the-field
success in Los Angeles, but what they’ve done while running that
franchise has prevented sustained Yankees-and-Red Sox-style dominance
that they so easily could have realized by now. It’s a friggin’ crime,
really.

Padres sign Trevor Cahill

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Trevor Cahill (53) during the seventh inning of Game 3 in baseball's National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.

He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.

Justin Verlander: “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process”

DETROIT, MI - JULY 20: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the eighth inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 20, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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The Tigers have sent some mixed signals this winter. The offseason began with widespread reports that GM Al Avila was going to break up the team. Indeed, it was reported that he was willing to field offers for any and all players, on up to Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.

As the offseason has unfolded, however, a rebuild has not materialized.

Avila traded away outfielder Cameron Maybin. He signed old friends Omar Infante and Alex Avila. He made the usual sorts of minor league signings every team makes to fill out the roster. Detroit still needs a center fielder and there continue to be rumors that outfielder J.D. Martinez and second baseman Ian Kinsler could be had for the right price, but it’s been pretty quiet at 2100 Woodward Avenue.

If that changes, however, and the Tigers do start to rebuild, there’s one key member of the team who doesn’t really want a part of it. From the Detroit Free Press:

Justin Verlander is 33 years and 330 days old.

He’s not that old.

But the Detroit Tigers ace right-hander – a 12-year major league veteran – is old enough in baseball years to know that he doesn’t really want to be part of a rebuilding process.

“Would it have been upsetting for me if we started trading away everybody?” he told MLB Network Radio on Friday morning. “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process.”

Verlander will make $28 million a year for each of the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 if he finishes in the top 5 of the 2019 Cy Young vote. He had an excellent return-to-form in 2016, but his contract is still pretty big for a pitcher with his mileage, making it seem unlikely that he would be moved absent the team eating a huge portion of his salary. The same could be said for Miguel Cabrera who, despite still being one of the best hitters in baseball, is making between $28-32 million between now and 2023. A wonderful player, but an extraordinarily difficult contract to move. Both superstars have full no-trade protection as 10-5 men as well.

At the moment the rebuild does not seem to be materializing and the Tigers — as I think they should, probably — will enter 2017 aiming for the AL Central crown, not aiming at restocking their farm system.

But what will Verlander think, however, if the Tigers find themselves out of contention come May? What will he think if Ian Kinsler — a valuable player on a tradable contract — is sold off? Or Justin Upton? Or J.D. Martinez?

It’s worth watching.