Since Andrew Friedman was hired by the Los Angeles Dodgers as president of baseball operations, the front office has shown a willingness to spend and financial restraint. Friedman prefers not to be bound by any set rules, but the club certainly has guidelines.
One of which is to seemingly set a point that will not be passed in negotiations with a free agent. Such was the case with Zack Greinke, who signed a record deal — six years, $206.5 million — with the Arizona Diamondbacks in December 2015.
The Dodgers were in negotiations with Greinke down the to very end, but stopped short of adding on a sixth year to their contract offer. Team president and CEO Stan Kasten said the Dodgers went beyond what was ‘strictly prudent.’
Now, a similar scenario unfolded with Yu Darvish, who agreed to a six-year, $126 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. Reports indicate the Dodgers were involved with Darvish up to his decision being made.
Indications were Los Angeles was willing to extend to a sixth year for Darvish, but the value paled in comparison to what he received from the Cubs, per Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:
dodgers were the other team willing to go six years for darvish, but their offer was closer to $100M (which is about what twins & brewers offered for 5). also, as said before, dodgers offer was contingent on moving money (ie kemp). #cubs
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 11, 2018
Incentives can bring the total value of Darvish’s contract with the Cubs to $150 million, but he’s also said to hold an opt-out clause that can be exercised after the second year of the deal.
That the Dodgers were even in position to potentially sign the right-hander is a bit of a surprise. They organization made strides in getting below the $197 million luxury tax threshold this season, where they intend to remain.
That factor also complicated their pursuit of Darvish, as the Dodgers’ offers reportedly were contingent on being able to shed salary before finalizing an agreement.