After losing to the New York Mets in five games in the National League Division Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers have gone through an offseason that not many predicted. An organization that seemingly spent money with no end in sight, reeled in the checkbook.
Los Angeles made what team president and CEO Stan Kasten called a ‘strictly prudent’ offer to Zack Greinke, but it was the Arizona Diamondbacks who signed him with a six-year, $206.5 million contract.
The Dodgers weren’t believed to be serious suitors for David Price, and reportedly had some reservations with their pursuit of Johnny Cueto. It also appeared for much of the offseason Howie Kendrick was not going to return in Los Angeles.
Through it all, the Dodgers filled out their starting rotation by signing Scott Kazmir to a three-year, $48 million contract, and Kenta Maeda to an eight-year, $25 million deal.
Kazmir’s contract includes an opt out after the 2016 season, and the value of Maeda’s can reach just over $90 million should he trigger incentives. Then earlier this month Kendrick re-signed on a two-year, $20 million contract.
Kazmir’s and Kendrick’s contracts also include deferred salaries. However, that shouldn’t be taken as a sign of the Dodgers having cash flow issues, as president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman explained, via ESPN’s Doug Padilla:
“I think any time you spread out money, it’s helpful when you talk about commitments over a long period of time,” Friedman said. “Sometimes in negotiations you are able to do some; sometimes you’re not. When you’re not, it’s reflected in total value. So I think it’s just figuring out different points that are important and work for both sides and trying to figure out how to line up and reach an agreement. I think each negotiation takes on its own life form and this is the one we ultimately settled on that works well for both sides.”
Kazmir’s contract is deferred at $8 million annualy through 2021, unless he opts out after the first season. Kendrick will receive $5 million of his contract each year deferred, thus receiving two annual payments beyond the lifetime of his deal.
Despite their efforts to curtail spending, the Dodgers are again expected to have the largest payroll in the Majors this season.