Stark On Dodgers, Fielder, Rays, Braves

It’s tempting to assume the Dodgers will spend aggressively on free agents once new ownership is in place, but Jayson Stark of says it’s not that simple. Here are Stark’s latest rumors, starting in Los Angeles…

  • Former Braves and Nationals president Stan Kasten, a key member of the Dodgers’ new leadership group, spent conservatively on outside free agents while in Atlanta, and the Nationals didn’t start spending aggressively until Kasten had moved on. Agents say spending lavishly on free agents is not Kasten’s style.
  • Longtime Braves GM John Schuerholz "wouldn't be surprised" if the Dodgers spend big here and there, but he doesn’t expect splashy signings to become habitual.
  • For the first time ever, no MLB team has a payroll below $50MM.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Stark that National League teams have trouble competing for free agent sluggers who may have to become designated hitters late in their careers. Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols joined American League teams on long-term deals this past offseason. “When the length of those deals got to nine and 10 years, we just couldn't compete," Melvin said.
  • The Rays aren’t looking for a short-term solution behind the plate, but they’d like to add an everyday catcher who can contribute for years, according to Stark.
  • Schuerholz, who’s now the Braves president, says the team hopes to retain Brian McCann long-term, even though there are “no guarantees” that’s possible.

26 Responses to Stark On Dodgers, Fielder, Rays, Braves Leave a Reply

  1. Doug Melvin has a valid point about why MLB needs to either do away with the DH or institute it for both leagues. It’s an unfair balance of power if AL teams can always win bidding wars for big hitters because the number of years a player wants can be addressed better by an AL team having the DH for later in the player’s career. Players always look for more years in their deals and AL teams always have the advantage of affording those years.

    • Agreed, and I think this will change eventually.  Unfortunately, the DH will probably become universal rather than obsolete.  I think that will be a sad day for baseball.

    • Gumby65 3 years ago

      I don’t see the NL (bringing it in) or the MLBPA (getting rid of it) budging on their respective stances that have been in place for the last 30 years, simply because the disparity in a star DH’s salary and a 5th outfielders salary is anywhere between $5-15MM

  2. Colin Christopher 3 years ago

    As a longtime Braves fan, I’ll be saddened if the Braves can’t keep McCann long-term. I’ll understand – after all, McCann may be able to make MUCH more elsewhere and the Braves can’t compete with one player taking up 20-25% of their payroll – but I’ll still be very disappointed. McCann is a Georgia boy, born and bred, and it would be great to keep that guy around for his entire career.

  3. Fizzzay 3 years ago

    The DH must die!

  4. rainyperez 3 years ago

    But I thought the Dodgers were going to buy every free agent out there?

  5. Gumby65 3 years ago

    STORAGE WARS: Dodgers will sign the Houston Astros this offseason, then after sifting, will dispatch 95% of the take to the AL.

  6. cheez13 3 years ago

    Smart move is pick-up McCanns option- no brainier if healthy. Then, let him walk unless he signs a team friendly contract. Probably won’t happen but can’t see giving a catcher a long term deal at age 30-31 approaching 9 figures. No DH and Braves have Freeman at 1B for hopefully several years. I like the guy, my daughters favorite player ( she catches and is #16). It sucks but letting him walk in 2014 is the best move.

    • GreenCustom24 3 years ago

      Agreed. It’ll suck to see Mac go, but the Braves can’t afford the cash and risk it’d require to lock him up for what’s sure to be a 6+ year deal at Mauer money. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how it goes. Hopefully Bethancourt continues to progress and we’ve got a pretty ballin internal replacement. Can’t count on him, but he’s a legit prospect.

    • erm016 3 years ago

      I’d like to see Mac remain in Atlanta as well. I hope he’ll follow in Chippers foot steps in taking a team friendly contract to remain. I’d be nice to have him, freeman, uggla and heyward around together for a few years.

  7. johnsilver 3 years ago

     So does watching NL pitchers hit for the most part.. Tho watching some is good for comedy hour routine.

    Funny how some here are so ardent on getting rid of something that has been around longer than many that are so outspoken about it have been alive..

    Odd isn’t it??

    I wonder how many even know who was the 1st DH to get an AB? Or how many fabulous careers were prolonged because of it, rather than jokes of pitchers who hit because of some who argue because they maybe think pitcher’s bunting with 1 out is better for the game? Provides more real managing expertise? Puh-Lease…

  8. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

    Not longer than I’ve been alive, not by a long shot. Not longer than I’ve been a baseball fan, either. The entire concept of the DH stinks as far as I am concerned, and always has. So your DH trivia question doesn’t interest me.

  9. Maverick60 3 years ago

    Not a single valid point, if you ask me. A pitcher is a baseball player.Some of them are decent hitters through college, they should have to hit just like everyone else. And because I have no idea who took the first swings as a dh does not take anything away from the opinion I hold. Just like it doesn’t add anything to one that does know.

  10. dieharddodgerfan 3 years ago

    Agree. Pitchers are position players like everyone else. They field their position, right? So they should also hit. The DH rule sucks and was just a way for the union to keep more players employed longer.

  11. johnsilver 3 years ago

    “Not longer than I’ve been alive, not by a long shot.”

    That wasn’t targeted at you. It got old years ago here and other places with people arguing against the DH and  non arbitrarily tossing (or wanting to) just because they are fans of NL teams and they play inter league games..

    Don’t like it? Toss inter league play, it’s far worse than the DH and it’s modern and of less use. The MLBPA wouldn’t raise a stink regarding it and there is -0- chance they are going to allow older and higher salary earning players get canned by allowing the DH to go bye-bye..

    For what it’s even worth.. Ronnie Blomberg was the 1st DH to get an AB, but Orlando Cepeda was my fav.. Never even got -1- inning in the field during his sole season with Boston that ’73 season.. His knees were shot out so bad.. Another reason for the DH, he would have had to retire if not for the DH, one of the sweetest swinging hitters of all time.

  12. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

    I don’t know about the union part, but yeah, they are position players like the other eight members of the team. The part I hate the most about the DH is that it makes baseball more like football. Why not have separate offensive and defensive squads? Wouldn’t having specialists at everything be “more exciting?”

  13. tacko 3 years ago

    The DH was actually a ploy to increase attendance for the AL. Believe it or not, the AL was actually a MUCH weaker league before the DH. The lagged in gate revenue year after year and of course, more runs = bigger audience. The majority of fans care more about the art of scoring runs than the art of fine pitching.

    Well the AL now leads the NL in attendance every year, but they’ve (and the Player’s Union) adapted too much to the DH to simply get rid of it

  14. Robb Logan 3 years ago

    One inter league play is now here to stay so deal with it. With the Astros move next season we a guaranteed one inter league series all season long. Yeah it blows but it is what it is. 

    As for the DH I actually support it for both leagues now as 10 years ago I was highly opposed to it. With the increase in recent years of pitchers in both leagues getting hurt running the bases because they really only concentrate on pitching it seems practical. Also with all the long term deals being tossed around many choose the A.L. because they can DH. As a fan of baseball I would like to see both leagues have the same competitive balance. Only way to do that now (sans the crazy Votto deal) is to have the DH in both leagues. Cut back on injuries and allow some players in the twilight of their career chase some personal goals. 

  15. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

    There’s that union thing again. Tell you the more I hear that as a reason the less I believe it, especially when AL fans also defend it as making the game “more exciting.” Seems like somebody is talking out of both sides of their mouth. Interleague play doesn’t excite me either, but that’s not the reason for the DL. And I certainly don’t get any excitement out seeing tired old sluggers who can’t run the bases or field anymore.

  16. johnsilver 3 years ago

     “And I certainly don’t get any excitement out seeing tired old sluggers who can’t run the bases or field anymore.”

    Not going to speak for the rest of the AL fans, but even some like David Ortiz are a whoooollle lot better than even good hitters like Zambrano. That makes no sense and is a statement from a die hard anti DH fan.

  17. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

    You mean I’m not going to convince you that I’m a fan of the DH? I wonder how that happened!

  18. johnsilver 3 years ago

     HAHA. How many discussions on various topics have we had here over the years?

    Amazing.. We have these and it’s rare we agree, but always nice disagreements.

  19. Jeff 3 years ago

    the DH rule difference is really hurting the NL though.  They need to make it a universal rule one way or the other, I don’t really care either way.

    In some ways, DH increases strategy, because pitcher moves are obvious, but I think DH decreases the value of bench players.

  20. tacko 3 years ago

    I do agree that it hurts the NL.

    But I can’t agree that it increases strategy. I believe that it actually takes out a huge chunk of strategy in the game. If a pitcher is pitching well in a low-scoring game (which is probably the most beautiful scenario in baseball) and there are runners on with the pitcher’s spot due up, the manager has to calculate whether it’ll be better to pinch-hit or keep the pitcher in the game. 

    Or decide whether to substitute a poor-fielding slugger with a better fielder late in a close game or make a double-switch.

    The DH decimates a large, but not entire, chunk of this strategy.

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