A moment of future Dodger owner exasperation

This’ll just make you shake your head and sigh. From Ross Newhan at Newhan on Baseball:

… sources also revealed that none of the investors are particularly happy with the Dodgers’ eight-year, $160 million, backloaded signing of Matt Kemp, and the two-year, $19 million contract to Clayton Kershaw.

“Who with the Dodgers is giving out those kinds of contracts at this point?” said one of the sources. “I mean, two years to Kershaw when you are not buying out free agency or arbitration? That’s almost as much as (two-time Cy Young Award winner) Tim Lincecum got from the Giants.”

“None” are happy? I can’t quite believe this, though it’s coming from the pen of Newhan, one of the most experienced baseball writers around.

If the premise is correct, then how are we to react? Putting aside the astonishment someone is having over the concept that Clayton Kershaw would deserve “almost as much” as Tim Lincecum, you’re still left with the whining over the best two players on the franchise (a franchise for which you’re bidding well over a billion dollars) getting competitive salaries. Sheesh.

Yes, ideally the Kershaw deal would be longer, but you get the sense that the source would still be complaining if it were. In any case, it’s not as if you can’t make a Kershaw extension your first order of business.

Dear owners: In case you’re not aware what’s going to happen after the Dodger sale is completed, here’s a news flash. You’re going to have to pay your players. And the good ones deserve a lot of money. You’re buying a baseball team, not a McDonald’s franchise.

It’s not as if Frank McCourt were going to prepay all the players through the end of the next TV contract. If you’re bidding on the Dodgers and chagrined by the Kemp and Kershaw contracts, you need to really rethink what you’re doing.

Going forward, I have to believe this narrow-mindedness doesn’t reflect the views of the next Dodger owner.

  • Anonymous

    You will be getting someone who we hope won’t wildly spend money on themselves.  On the other hand, if the new owners are thinking that they will be able to recoup their purchase price while owning the team, folks will not be happy with that outcome.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      Yeah, this isn’t about expecting a $300 million payroll.  It’s about wondering what exactly they expect the Dodgers to have been doing this winter. 

      I’m taking it all with a major grain of salt, but I can’t say I wasn’t annoyed by this.

      • Anonymous

        I wonder if they signed Fielder would some of the owners dropped out?

        • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

           Well, that’s the thing. The Kemp deal was old news by the time these guys officially bid, and yet here they are.

  • http://twitter.com/MikeSciosciasTI Mike Petriello

    Before the quote above, Newhan mentions that sources tell him that Torre’s group may have hooked up with the richest man in Canada, and then uses what seems to be the same sources to complain about Kemp and Kershaw. So I’ll take that completely arbitrary word usage from an unnamed source written by a writer who can’t spell “Lincecum” correctly, and take it to mean that Joe Torre still hates Matt Kemp.

    • Anonymous

      If you want new ideas in running the Dodgers, I don’t think you want Joe’s team to win the ownership stakes.  Then again, unless you get lucky and find Theo Epstein for the taking, I am not sure who they can hire since the LA Times is sure to be sharpening their pencils for another DePodesta experiment.

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

         That is disturbingly impossible to argue with.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t know, a lot will depend on the person being glib with the give and take with Simers and not cite OBP to Plaschke too much.  I will say that the LA Times will be on them to spend money on the team and upgrade the Stadium above anything else. 

          • Anonymous

            The fact that the LA Times is in a position to dictate to any owner of any sports team how it should be run when its been in bankruptcy far longer than the Dodgers is amazing.

            Essentially, sports teams in L.A. are held hostage by one guy who thinks that we’re all too stupid for liking sports and another guy who views everything in sports in terms of some overarching fight between good and evil.

          • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

             Another chilling comment.

          • Anonymous

            I just realized that I blew my chance to use the word Manichean.

          • Anonymous

            Well yes, but it hasn’t exactly hurt the Lakers.

            It boggles my mind that one round of layoffs after another still hasn’t claimed the things that are worst about the LA Times: Plaschke, Simers, and Erskine.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Ha :)

    • Anonymous

       Richest man in Canada is the same gentleman who funds the new Winnipeg Jets – a Mr. David Thomson. He is said to be associated with over 21 billion dollars…
       

    • Anonymous

      Thomson sounds mysterious until you put Reuters after it. Then you’ve heard of it. 

  • http://twitter.com/wdevil67 Scott Griffee

    If I was a prospective owner, I’d be a lot more concerned that my $1.5B-$2.0B doesn’t even include parking! 

    Kemp’s contact is maybe 10% of the purchase price that is due in one lump sum.  The new TV rights deal may go from $40M in 2012 to a low of $150M a year to over $200M a year. 

    I’ll take a grain of salt as well 

    • Anonymous

      I’d like Newhan to ask his all-knowing source how many bidders are willing to let McCourt keep the parking lots.

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

         Good one …

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=201003858 Garrett Michael McCain

    I just see this as a lame attempt at driving down the price.

    I mean, if I’m a bidder then of course I’m going to say that I don’t like “X”, “Y”, and “Z” if it means that others might actually believe me and the competing offers drop a bit.

    Anyway, I’m gonna have to agree with what Mike and bhpsportsguy said; I don’t want Torre anywhere near this franchise.  We’d be stuck with Colletti signing “girtty veterans” and “gamers” off of the scrap heap regardless of an increased payroll.  Or worse yet, we might actually have to see Colletti operare with more financial flexibility than he’s ever had before.

    If that doesn’t scare you, then I don’t know what WILL…

    • http://web.me.com/kakitadoug/geekblog/Blog/Blog.html DougS

      “I just see this as a lame attempt at driving down the price.”

      That makes a good deal of sense to me. No matter how badly you want something, you don’t negotiate with the current owner by talking about how great it is and how wonderful it would look on your mantle. It’s easy to forget this in a culture where haggling is not the norm for most transactions.

  • http://twitter.com/LasordasLair Kenny Shulsen

    Ugh This is disconcerting

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    If this is true I can’t say I’m too excited about any of the potential owners then. Comments like that make the group sound like a bunch of rich guys with no knowledge whatsoever of baseball. And as crazy as some of his comments have been, I know that Josh Macciello would take exception to that sentiment. Too bad he has no chance of being the new owner.

  • Anonymous

    “None” of the investors? Not a single one? That’s a heck of a source Newhan has there.

  • Anonymous

    Other than reading the latest news about the sale process, I’ve tried to stay out of speculating about new ownership. No one has any idea how it’s all gonna shake out, and what the new owner will do. I know what I want to happen (in terms of operations) but getting invested in hoping for it is pointless. 

  • Anonymous

    Thank good ness these guys (the guys with the Benjamins) are looking at guys like Derrick Hall to actually run the day to day baseball ops…

      

  • Anonymous

    Jon & others (with much more baseball knowledge then me) where do we stand realistically in the NL West? my heart says we’ve got a chance this year but my brain says give it another year or two.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      I’d say there’s a chance this year but certainly we’re not favorites; I’m hopeful things look better in future years.

      • Anonymous

        Who’s the favorite?

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    Actually, the clause about Kershaw’s contract that makes some sense is this: “when you are not buying out free agency or arbitration?” Spending $19M and not getting past the potential costs of one or both of those items could be a legitimate argument.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      No, not really, since they’re still saving money vs. going year-to-year. The only risk is something bad happening with Kershaw, but that would only be a bigger risk on a longer contract.

      • Anonymous

        Agreed.  The purpose of signing Kershaw to those two years is to avoid the possibility that he would get even more money for those same two years (either through arbitration, or through a signing to avoid arbitration).  $19 million will look like a huge bargain if his 2012 and 2013 look anything like his 2011.

      • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

         I didn’t say I’d make that argument, I said it “could” be made. Whadda I look like, stupid? ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

    gosh then how do they feel about Mark Ellis, Aaron Harang, Ted Lilly, Capuano, Juan Rivera, Uribe..etc, etc, etc…

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who would question the contracts of Kemp and Kershaw does not deserve to own the Dodgers.  Any good team needs a core and certainly Kemp and Kershaw qualify.  Maybe they feel that the contracts were structured incorrecty.  If that is the reason then  it only means that they should have gotten more.  I hope this is looked at before an owner is selected as this certainly means trouble for the Dodgers down the road.  The fans do not deserve a lowly franchise.

    • Anonymous

      Well said.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GRGM3PHTJ4CDXPGLJX7HU7AAPI Fred

    Assuming there really is concern from potential owners, isn’t it possible they are simply posturing in order to win the support of Bud Selig?  He has clearly shown a preference for new owners that will tow his line on salaries.  I’m sure this is exactly the reason Mark Cuban has been shut out on previous attempts to puchase MLB franchises.  So I would not take too seriously anything people say right now.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      a) I don’t think an anonymous quote to Ross Newhan is going to sway Bud Selig much, b) McCourt has final approval anyway.

      I agree this shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but it’s one of those things that’s just so dumb it’s hard not to remark upon it.

      • Anonymous

        It’s so dumb, I wonder whether it’s made up, or comes from someone among the bidders who doesn’t understand the economics of running a MLB team.  Presumably each of the bidding groups has at least someone who does understand them, and knows that the value of ticket and concession revenue and the broadcast/cablecast contract is maximized by having a winning team on the field.

  • Anonymous

    There have been some significant overpayments in baseball contract signings over the past few years.  I’m not talking about guys whose signings seemed fair at the time but didn’t play up to expectations (e.g. Adam Dunn), but megabucks going to players who don’t seem to deserve them at the time of their signing (your John Lackey and Jayson Werth type contracts).  The Kemp and Kershaw contracts are NOT among them, and are bargains, not overpayments.  When you have contracts whose salaries are not among the highest in the game, for arguably the best position player and the best pitcher in baseball, arguing against that is sheer stupidity.

  • http://twitter.com/Derek_TC Derek TC

    You guys aren’t even focusing on the most stupid quote of the story:
     “I mean, two years to Kershaw when you are not buying out free agency or arbitration? That’s almost as much as (two-time Cy Young Award winner) Tim Lincecum got from the Giants.” 

    Since when is 19mil for two years “almost as much” as over 20mil a year for two years? 

    • Anonymous

      >> Since when is 19mil for two years “almost as much” as over 20mil a year for two years?

      When you’re spending over a billion dollars for a baseball team.  :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Pomerantz/3608376 Dave Pomerantz

       I think the reference was to Lincecum’s contract in his first arb- eligible year, when he got $23mil for 2 years, with 2 Cy Youngs already under his belt.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Pruett/1707390003 Terry Pruett

    I feel your pain, Jon. The implication that Kershaw is somehow greatly inferior to Lincecum is maddening. In addition, as you said, there is absolutely no way that “ALL” of the bidders feel this way. This tidbit from Newhan sounds like something that came to him amid hazy memories of hitting Ciro’s with Bo Belinsky and Dean Chance. I think the poor old fella is confused….

  • http://twitter.com/davidfarinella David Farinella

    Hey Jon, is it possible to have a tab with the roster and salaries? Should be a bit easier to update now in this newfangled system. Also, I’d like to be able to see who’s coming to Spring Training and all that. Thanks!

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       For now, I’d suggest clicking on either of the two links provided on the sidebar under Dodger payroll.  I might eventually re-start my own payroll chart but it’s not going to happen right away.

  • Anonymous

    Imagine the reaction if we had signed Fielder!!

  • Anonymous

    Scares me a bit about new potential ownership, though this can easily be an over generalization.  While I can see the point about arbitration and free agency, down the road you’ll get no “hometown discount” if you abuse young star players.  To low-ball Kershaw now, may have negative repercussions in 4-5 years.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT

  • http://twitter.com/careyrobertson Carey Robertson

    This isn’t encouraging that potential owners are already upset about paying for top tier players.

    I strongly believe the Kershaw deal, while maybe unneeded, was an act of good faith. In the hopes that the two year deal will pay off when FA extension talks take place.

    McCourt’s recent actions seem to be in the best interest of the fans(finally) with the extension of Kemp, push for Fielder, and extension for Kershaw. I hope this is a sign that he’ll continue that trend and choose the Magic Group.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7PNAFNXM7T73BGEJ4GML6UCTC4 scottF

    Ok I also question the deals, frank has no money so you backload Kemps deal so new owners are stuck.   Then they say they have no money and they go after Prince.

    • Anonymous

      Though it was stated that the purpose of Kemp taking less in the first year was to allow the Dodgers to go after a free agent. Kemps contract isn’t even that backloaded it’s just low on the first year and then the rest are pretty even.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

      Take a look at the payroll as it stands after 2013, tons of old deferred money will be off the books and the new owners will have plenty to play with. This really should not be a problem.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7PNAFNXM7T73BGEJ4GML6UCTC4 scottF

    Then they sign guys for 2 years, I don’t even like most of them. Ned is sure going to hit the pavement and I expect backlash. You don’t pay over billion and get junk.

    Like me buying a mansion and this guy just put in an ugly pool and awful landscaping to sell the house.

    Ned should have played the kids and not resigned Kemp & Kershaw and went after Prince hard.  The new owners will have plenty of money to fill those shoes. Someone said well Kemp is cheap @ 160 million.  If you pay a billion, you can afford to sign Kemp for 200 million. 

    • Anonymous

      They went after Prince…how much should they have offered? Certainly not 214 million….

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Morris/100000165414285 John Morris

      Not signing Kemp would have been a big mistake. He was already upset with the Dodgers, so if you don’t offer him a contract he may end up walking. Kershaw is only making 7.5 million next year and Kemp will get 10 million, so it’s hardly handcuffing them from going after Prince. He signed for nine years. There is no way the Dodgers could offer that kind of contract for him. Money aside, nine years for a first baseman as big as Prince would be horrific. 

  • Anonymous

    Also what do you mean by “not signed Kershaw” let him go? Cut him? I mean he was going to make more than 7.5 million in arbitration so they actually pay less this year by signing him for 2 years.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZAO5BS2RGGI7MHWTMVG37UGN64 Champ Kind

    Is it possible that this “source” was on the financial end, as in one of the key investors, and not the front of the house baseball or management individuals. In which case they are looking at things from a bean counter perspective, and not truly from a baseball perspective.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZAO5BS2RGGI7MHWTMVG37UGN64 Champ Kind

    Either way, its discouraging to think that our next owner will simply look at the Dodgers as “only” a speculative endeavor that is there to serve them up a nice return on investment. I get that you are never buying a team as an act of charity, but if you are only looking at it as a potential money maker and nothing else, you have chosen the wrong business. The truly successful franchises, IMO, put the team first, and then financial success followed. (see Lakers, Yankees, Red Sox, etc.)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MW2R2Q72LP22HKPEXB2ZZPHSZM dud dew

    In the last sentence, why oh why the execrable “going forward.”

    As in almost every instance, the sentence is fine without it.
    It’s just trendy noise (though, thankfully, many users have gone on the wagon).
    Be better than that!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MW2R2Q72LP22HKPEXB2ZZPHSZM dud dew

    Thanks, too, for the typical upwardly-yearning class’s swipe at folks who
    do useful and honorable work at McDonalds.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WW4YL4BXYSM3IQ2PQYAC5JO7EA Dr. Gonzo

    Where’s Josh Macciello when you need him?