The Dodgers’ luxury tax bill for the year came to $43.6MM, Ronald Blum of the AP reports. For luxury-tax purposes, the Dodgers had a payroll of $297.9MM. As luxury-tax offenders for the third consecutive year, they were taxed at a 40% rate for the amount by which they exceeded the tax threshold of $189MM. The Yankees, meanwhile, will pay $26.1MM, while the Red Sox owe $1.8MM and the Giants $1.3MM. The $72.8MM between the four teams amounts to the record amount of luxury tax collected in a season, Blum reports. That the Dodgers’ bill was so steep comes as little surprise, of course — their 2015 payroll, headed by large expenditures for players like Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, was the highest in MLB history. Here’s more from the West divisions.
- Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune profiles new Padres outfielder Jabari Blash, who the Athletics selected from the Mariners in this month’s Rule 5 Draft and then traded to San Diego. The 26-year-old Blash looked like one of the best potential power sources available in the Rule 5 — he batted .271/.370/.576 and hit 32 homers between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma in 2015. Interestingly, Blash grew up in the Virgin Islands, and one of the first offers of congratulations he received was from Callix Crabbe, a former infielder from the Virgin Islands who the Padres selected in the Rule 5 Draft in 2007.
- The surprising package the Astros gave up to get Ken Giles from the Phillies reflects an industry-wide trend in which relievers capable of pitching high-leverage innings are valued more highly, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. The Astros gave up Vincent Velasquez and Mark Appel in the Giles deal. They re-signed another reliever, Tony Sipp, to a hefty three-year, $18MM contract. The belief that good relievers are fundamentally less valuable than good starting pitchers or position players has long been widely held, but perhaps that’s changing, at least to a degree. “You’d have to say that as an industry, we’re valuing a team that’s in contention needs to have those guys at the back end of the bullpen,” says Astros GM Jeff Luhnow. “We’ve seen what the Royals have been able to do with a successful execution of that strategy, and the Mets with (Jeurys) Familia, and there’s good late-inning relievers on the teams that make it to and win in the playoffs.”