Time needed to properly evaluate Dodgers' blockbuster

Time needed to properly evaluate Dodgers' blockbuster

Time needed to properly evaluate Dodgers' blockbuster
The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox completed a nine-player deal on Saturday. The blockbuster trade changes the complexion of both the American League East and the National League West. While the Red Sox unloaded $261 million off their payroll, giving them some flexibility to rebuild this off-season, the Dodgers feel the superstars they acquired will almost guarantee them a playoff berth not only this year, but for years to come.

The Dodgers obtained first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, right-handed starter Josh Beckett, left fielder Carl Crawford, and utility infielder Nick Punto. They sent first baseman James Loney, top pitching prospect Allen Webster, infielder Ivan De Jesus and two players to be named to the Red Sox.

While Los Angeles rejoices about getting many high-priced talented players, the Dodgers depleted their already weak Minor League system. They might win now, but their payroll has suddenly become bloated. Undoubtedly, the Dodgers will have to pay the luxury tax next year.

After eight years with Frank McCourt and his reluctance to acquire high-priced players, most Dodgers fans are gleeful that the new ownership will spend whatever they think they need to bring a championship to Los Angeles. It has been 24 years since the Dodgers went to the World Series. Dodger fans eagerly await hearing Vin Scully call another Dodger world championship.

However, all baseball fans should know teams can't buy championships. If they could, either the New York Yankees or the Red Sox would have won the World Series for the past 10 years at least. They haven't! The Dodgers appear to be attempting to buy a championship without any regard for the future. As a lifelong Dodgers fan, I dislike it. I love watching young Dodger players develop into superstars. Now the Dodgers have no depth in their farm system, and this is a major worry for the future of the organization.

Being financially responsible will benefit the organization, its fans, and baseball in general. Keeping a reasonable payroll would enable the Dodgers to get one or two great players a season, and this might enable them to maintain a long-term dynasty. They can make the necessary improvements to Dodger Stadium that will enable the landmark to stand for another 50 years. The new ownership thinks they will get a huge television contract that will help to pay for their bloated payroll. If it doesn't happen, they will have financial problems forcing them to sell off some expensive players. This could decrease the popularity of the Dodgers.

With a reasonable payroll, the Dodgers wouldn't have to raise ticket prices, enabling middle-class families to go to the stadium a few times each season. The tradition of being baseball fans often is passed from generation to generation, and if families can't afford to go to watch games, this won't happen anymore. The popularity of the Dodgers will decrease.

Baseball dislikes teams who can buy everything they need to win. Everyone, except Yankee fans, hates the Yankees because they can afford everything they want and they often win. When a team plays the Yankees, fueled by its resentment, the team plays harder. Many National League teams already dislike the Dodgers since they have had much success and usually have been viewed as an ideal sports franchise.

Having a financial disparity adds to the competitive imbalance in the sport. The next time baseball needs a labor agreement, owners of the small-market teams who can't afford to pay players the same as owners of the large-market teams will ask for a salary cap. The Players Association won't accept this, so baseball possibly will face another work stoppage.

Gonzalez is the best all-around first baseman in baseball. He will help the Dodgers to have one of the most potent offenses in the National League. The three-time Gold Glove winner won't hurt the Dodger defense. Even though Loney has never done anything to hurt the Dodgers, and hadn't been on the disabled list, the Dodgers management didn't appreciate him because he lacked power. Gonzalez, a classy bilingual Southern Californian with Hispanic heritage, is a perfect fit for the Dodgers.

Although Beckett has lost his dominance in recent years, the Dodgers desperately need another starter. On Friday, Chad Billingsley had to leave the game in the fourth inning with elbow tenderness. The severity of the injury has yet to be determined. Since the Dodgers traded away many young starters to obtain Hanley Ramirez and this group, they don't have anyone to replace Billingsley. Beckett should fare better in Dodger Stadium than he did in cozy Fenway Park.

Crawford won't play this season because he underwent Tommy John surgery this month. When he returns, he will give the Dodgers a multi-talented left fielder. His power and speed will make the Dodgers lineup more dynamic. After the Dodgers lost Jerry Harrison, Jr., for the rest of the season because he needs hip surgery, they needed an utility infielder. Punto will do nicely.

On the surface, this blockbuster trade looks like it benefits the Dodgers. It is too early to evaluate because the Dodgers made an incredible financial commitment. Dodger fans will have an intense interest to see how the trade will work out.

Sarah D. Morris can be reached at sarahmorris27@gmail.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.