The Dodgers are a bankrupt company with declining revenues, but that doesn’t have to stop them from offering nine-figure contracts to their best players and the stars on the free agent market, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. Shaikin surveyed players, agents, union officials and MLB executives and heard that the Dodgers will be able to spend despite the ongoing financial issues of owner Frank McCourt.
Michael Weiner is not only the executive director of the Players Association, he represents the interests of the Dodgers’ creditors. He says it’s in “everyone's interest for the team to be competitive and not compromised in trying to operate." Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive VP for labor relations, told Shaikin that McCourt is ”free to sign players to long-term contracts," though deals could require approval if they surpass $100MM.
The Dodgers’ revenues will likely drop $27MM this year, but MLB guarantees all player contracts, according to Shaikin. That means a team’s bankruptcy wouldn’t put a player at risk of losing any guaranteed money on a pre-existing deal.
GM Ned Colletti has talked about improving the team’s offense in “the most dramatic” way he can, so fans have started wondering about a long-term deal for MVP candidate Matt Kemp and the possibility of signing a middle-of-the-order hitter like Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols. Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart, told Shaikin that the Dodgers have not started discussing a long-term deal for the center fielder, who can file for free agency after 2012. Kemp isn’t worried about the direction of the team and would consider a multiyear deal if the Dodgers make a proposal.
Fielder has said that he’ll evaluate possible suitors based on their ability to win, but Scott Boras, the first baseman’s agent, pointed out that all players aren’t so forgiving. Pujols has said he plans to weigh offers from teams based on a number of factors, including minor league systems and the willingness of ownership groups to spend on improving the team, according to Shaikin.