With a more relaxed payroll, the Dodgers might well have been determined John Lackey and Carl Crawford to free agent contracts after the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Lackey, who went for $82.5 million over five years, has a 5.26 ERA in 61 starts in his first two seasons and will miss the 2012 season with Tommy John surgery.
Crawford, who went for $142 million over seven years, had a .289 on-base percentage and .694 OPS in his first season with Boston and is sidelined until at least May with wrist problems.
A big payroll does help you absorb setbacks more easily. But in the end, it’s not just about money. It’s about being smart and fortunate.