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,

Braves sign Bud Norris to one-year contract

Bud Norris

Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.

Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.

In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.

A’s reacquire Jed Lowrie in trade with Astros

Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie, who was traded from the Astros to the A’s in 2013 and then re-signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, has now been traded back to the A’s.

Lowrie got a three-year, $23 million deal from the Astros with the idea that he’d play shortstop in the first season and then move to another position whenever stud prospect Carlos Correa arrived. Instead he got hurt right away, Correa became an immediate star, and the Astros weren’t so keen on paying him $15 million over the next two seasons.

He could resume playing shortstop for the A’s, who watched rookie Marcus Semien make an absurd number of errors there this year. Lowrie hit .271 with a .738 OPS in two seasons in Oakland, which is similar to his career totals and makes him a solidly above-average offensive shortstop. There’s a decent chance the A’s will have a Lowrie-Lawrie double-play duo in 2016.

In return the Astros get minor leaguer Brendan McCurry, a 24-year-old right-hander who split 2015 between high Single-A and Double-A with a 1.86 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 63 relief innings. He was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 and doesn’t have exceptional raw stuff, but McCurry’s numbers are incredible so far.