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.