2017 MLB Winter Meetings: Luxury Tax Requires Dodgers To Be Creative With Potential Trades And Signings
Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Under president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been significant players at each of the past three Winter Meetings. They missed the boat in some regard this year, as Giancarlo Stanton’s trade to the New York Yankees was finalized Monday.

Stanton, a Southern California native, had long been rumored a target of the Dodgers. In addition to being from the area, he grew up rooting for the team as a child. But the Dodgers and Marlins ultimately had too differing of approaches to a trade.

Miami was focused on salary relief as opposed to a notable return in players, while Los Angeles was limited in how much of Stanton’s contract they could assume because of luxury tax threshold implications.

The strategy is a far cry from last winter, when the Dodgers committed a combined $192 million to re-sign Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner.

In an interview with Alanna Rizzo on “Access SportsNet: Dodgers,” Friedman, without specifically mentioning Stanton, explained the Dodgers would need to get creative in order to take on a sizable contract this offseason, via SportsNet LA

“It’s hard for us to comment specifically on any individual player, but I think if you go back to last offseason, we did a lot of our heavy lifting at that point in terms of kind of filling some acute needs and really locking in a core. We felt really good about it then, we feel really good about it now. But with that, it restricts some flexibility. And so, contracts of a substantial nature, it requires some creativity. It won’t stop us from trying to figure out ways to be creative, but obviously it increases the difficulty of doing something.”

The Dodgers already project to exceed the $197 million luxury tax threshold, as their payroll is estimated to reach just over $200 million. If they are to exceed $237 million in payroll for the 2018 season, not only does it come with an increased surcharge tax but also the team’s first draft pick drops 10 spots.

While the team may be limited in how much salary they can presently take on, they do have expiring contracts in Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy. The three reportedly were floated to the Marlins in trade talks for Stanton.

Of course, none of the aforementioned players fared particularly well this season, which in Kazmir’s case was not pitching at all. Moreover, Gonzalez holds a full no-trade clause.