Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says “word is” the Dodgers may try for “another big free-agent starter.”
And it’s pretty easy to believe those whispers.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Dodgers have $210.1 million in salary commitments for 2013 and will pay another $22 million in luxury tax (for a total sum of $233+ million). But their new 25-year local television contract with FOX Sports West is going to bring in over $240 million per season and so they’re still — as amazing as it might sound — operating with great comfort financially.
The Cardinals, for comparison, make under $30 million annually from their television rights deal with FOX Sports Midwest, which is locked in through 2017. Their player payroll in 2012 was just over $110 million.
The Dodgers could sign Anibal Sanchez, or Kyle Lohse, or finally work out an agreement with Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-Jin, knowing full well that the club will still be highly profitable. Big national television money is coming, and Dodger Stadium hosts three million fans practically very summer. Then there’s the high-dollar revenue from things like merchandise, concessions and parking.
Handing a record-breaking free agent contract to a guy who’s not even an ace seems crazy, but it simply isn’t for the Dodgers. And they’re not done yet.
Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.
Today the Nationals fired him following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.
Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.
His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.
Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.
Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.
Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.
At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.
However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:
That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.
Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.