Common sense finally prevailed within the Dodger’s front office as the club reportedly put the finishing touches on the 4-year 64 million dollar agreement with third baseman Justin Turner. The completion of Turner’s deal means that the Dodgers have signed all 3 of their top free agents, Kenley Jansen, Rich Hill, and Justin Turner.
This is a huge change of strategy for the Dodger brain trust. Head of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his little side kick GM Farhan Zaidi have never given out contracts this big since they arrived in town back in the winter of 2014. It was considered a long shot for the Dodgers to sign all three of their big free agents this offseason. Some people believed the Dodgers would let all three walk, which would insure that the 2017 club would surely suck.
However Friedman and company showed tons of chutzpah by inking the three players to big deals. Jansen was signed for 5-years and 80 million dollars. Hill received a 3-year 48 million dollar pact. The Turner contract is considered to be very team friendly.
There has been a lot of talk about the Dodger’s payroll and spending habits this winter. That’s actually been the storyline that has dominated the hot stove chat in Los Angeles. Of course the moneyball kids have been crying for the Dodgers to lower payroll for ages. It was originally reported that the Dodgers were in massive debt with major league baseball, the media speculated that the Dodgers had to reduce payroll hoping to stay below the luxury tax to avoid the harsh penalties.
The Dodgers may still get below that luxury tax, but retaining their talent is an extremely prudent move. The stat kids continued to cry and bemoan the team spending. They rationalized that spending money on a closer was a waste, and Turner was expendable. These people cheer when the Dodger’s bottom line goes up. When Mark Walter’s stock goes up a percentage point they celebrate on social media. When the Dodger accounting ledger clears payroll space they become ecstatic. While winning games, hitting home runs and World Series championships excite you and me, market viability and Friedman’s growing bank account’s compound interest gives them their jollies. It seems bizarre to root for executive’s bank accounts instead of your favorite baseball team, but whatever floats your boat I guess.
While the number crunchers and millennials on twitter protect Mark Walter’s wallet, actual Dodger fans like you and I were more worried about the 2017 Dodgers being competitive without their franchise closer and star third baseman. Fortunately logic happened within Andrew Friedman’s office.
I’ve normally been pretty critical of the Dodger front office since Friedman and his gang gangster limped into Dodger Stadium. When they do something right I want to give them praise. This time they did something very good. Even if they don’t do anything else the rest of the offseason, I will still have some new found respect for them after they resigned Kenley, Turner, and Hill.
Now the Dodgers can turn their attention to acquiring a second baseman and a right handed outfield bat. Perhaps they could still use some help in the bullpen with setup man Joe Blanton leaving via free agency. At least we don’t have to watch the best closer in franchise history whose talent can’t be replaced pitching elsewhere. Nor do we have to watch Turner hitting blasts for another club too.
As I have said before, the money the Dodgers spend is not mine or yours. The Dodgers may be in some debt, but we don’t know the particulars. Even if they are, they are still the richest club in MLB. The Dodgers are a huge global brand that makes billions of dollars. Guggenheim closes million dollar deals for lunch, and Mark Walter and his colleagues move billions of dollars in assets around for a living. That’s what these guys do, and I am confident the Dodgers will be able to acquire any player they set their eyes on. No prospects were lost by spending cash, which makes it even better.
I guess the point of this article is to commend the front office for doing the right thing. Now let’s just pray we don’t have to suffer through an entire season of banana man at second base.