Although Guggenheim Baseball Management made an immediate splash upon taking control of the Los Angeles Dodgers by assuming more than $250 million in salary via a trade with the Boston Red Sox in August 2012, the club has steadily curtailed spending since that point.
The trade, which netted Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto, revitalized a Dodgers fanbase that had grown frustrated and disappointed during the late stages of Frank McCourt’s tenure as owner.
While the Dodgers did go on to sign Zack Greinke and re-sign Clayton Kershaw, they have not made the regular splashes in free agency most would anticipate from such a storied franchise that is seeking to end its World Series drought.
In addition to dismissing the notion fans have increasingly grown concerned over the Dodgers’ lack of spending on marquee free agents, team president and CEO Stan Kasten explained his belief they relate more to players developed from within, per Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
“Fans want stars they can identify with,” he said. “I’ll tell you what they like better than free-agent stars and I absolutely will show you proof of this. They like homegrown kids that develop into stars. They like that better. And there’s no team that has focused more on that aspect of our program than us.”
The Dodgers have long outlined a planned in which the roster would feature notable free agents but largely be built on the backs of players from the organization’s farm system.
Of those who have played a prominent role, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Kenley Jansen, Kershaw and Corey Seager are products of the Dodgers’ Minor Leagues and have the star power Kasten alluded to.
However, all but Buehler was with the organization prior to Guggenheim purchasing the team.