While Frank McCourt’s tenure as owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers included some highlights, such as back-to-back trips to the National League Championship Series, the organization largely did away with developing their own prospects and in international spending.
The strategy was a notable shift for a club that once took home five consecutive Rookie of the Year awards. McCourt’s sale of the Dodgers to the Guggenheim Baseball Management group brought about significant changes.
Owner Mark Walter and president and CEO Stan Kasten orchestrated a monumental trade with the Boston Red Sox in August 2012, adding over $250 million in salary.
The Dodgers have continued to spend when prudent, and once again become a factor for international free agents. In addition, the organization has also looked inward, to improve facilities for players on and off the 25-man roster.
Included in that is the nearly-completed renovation of the Campo Las Palmas facility in the Dominican Republic. Kasten noted the importance of upgrading the academy in MLB’s new economic climate, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“With the new CBA [Collective Bargaining Agreement] and everyone limited as to how much you can spend there [on players], we think the competitive edge is in facilities, instruction and training,” said Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten. “We are going all-in on the best, state-of-the-art complex.”
In line with the upgrades Dodger Stadium has seen over recent seasons, improvements at Campo Las Palmas were done with keeping the original feel of the grounds, explained Dodgers senior vice president of planning and development Janet Marie Smith:
“We chose to renovate the great campus that we had, gutting and rebuilding six buildings and adding three new ones, adding a third field and another half-field. And we are especially proud of our new Jackie Robinson Hall, where players can gather and we’ll show English movies with Spanish subtitles as an aid in teaching the conversational language. It’s entertainment with a purpose.”
Changes to the complex include expanding housing capacity, upgrading the weight room, and dining and medical facilities.
Under former owner Peter O’Malley, the Dodgers opened Campo Las Palmas in 1987. Beyond providing key facilities pertaining to on-field performance, the Dodgers have placed an emphasis on aiding players adapt to all facets of life with an MLB organization.