If there’s been one constant in Major League Baseball over the last few years, it’s been the Los Angeles Dodgers spending big money and remaining in contention. Move over, New York Yankees—the Dodgers are the new behemoth.
But why has it only been the Dodgers? It’s not that other big market teams aren’t spending, but it’s clear many held back to a degree. And small market teams? They’re literally not spending at all!
That’s to be expected, though. The onus is usually on the most lucrative markets that can easily afford to throw money around. The Yankees’ insistence to remain under the luxury tax last year clearly killed them. The Red Sox hiring a Rays executive with the goal of cutting costs created a little honeymoon phase, but now it’s back to rock bottom (they’re last in the AL East).
What a nightmare. If you ask Mookie Betts, he’s glad he’s with an organization that cares enough to spend big (and wisely!) because they trust their instincts as well as the current group of players on the roster.
Specifically, the slugger called out the Chicago Cubs this past weekend when the Dodgers were visiting Wrigley Field because whatever Tom Ricketts and Co. have been doing these last few years has been puzzling.
Betts got paid what he felt he was worth by LA while the front office continues to supplement around him. Meanwhile, teams like the Red Sox and Cubs have rid themselves of cornerstone pieces.
Dodgers star Mookie Betts called out the Cubs for being cheap
“I don’t know what’s in their heads,” Betts said of the Cubs, via Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago. “I’m sure they have their reasons for doing what they did.”
“Looking back on it, you’ve just got to give credit to our ownership,” Betts continued. “Wearing a Dodger uniform, you expect to win every year. All I can say about it is they want to win. They spend to win. And I guess people have different philosophies.”
The Dodgers won the World Series in 2020 because of the Betts trade when nobody else was making moves. Then they paid him a record contract in the midst of a global pandemic. The Cubs wouldn’t even talk legitimate extensions with franchise legends like Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant.
There’s really no need to delve further into the depressing details of financially-able franchises opting not to better their team or do the right thing by taking care of long-tenured players. The most important takeaway from this is a player/figure of Betts’ stature bringing attention to the problem that is clearly hurting the sport.
Every MLB franchise is at the $1 billion mark for total value with the exception of the Miami Marlins, who sit at $990 million. Even the Tampa Bay Rays are valued at $1.1 billion! In the end, no team has a legitimate excuse to spend under $100 million per season, and there are eight teams right now under that reasonable threshold, with the Orioles and Athletics at the bottom with $45 million and $48 million committed to the books.
Betts’ words will hopefully play a role in paving the way for more owners to spend appropriately whenever there’s a window of opportunity instead of passing because the circumstances don’t fully line up to maximize every inch of profit imaginable.