Despite their high-spending ways and immense on-field success, the Dodgers managed to stay under the luxury-tax threshold in each of the previous three seasons. However, they’re going to surpass the limit in 2021. The mark stands at $210MM for this year, and Jason Martinez of Roster Resource/FanGraphs projects the Dodgers’ current tax payroll at almost $258MM. The Dodgers are on track to pay $13MM in taxes and go back 10 spots in next year’s draft, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register notes, though president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman revealed that ownership has not pressured him to cut payroll for the upcoming campaign.
While Friedman said he expects trade talks to happen during the spring, “moving money” isn’t at the forefront for the club. And though Friedman doesn’t think the Dodgers’ current payroll is sustainable, he added: “We don’t ever view our payroll at any one moment in time. We really view it over a two-, three-, four-, five-year period. So from where we are right now, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this is where we finished the year. And we’re okay with it and factored it in.”
Even after winning a World Series title last fall, the Dodgers haven’t rested on their laurels this offseason. They signed the top free agent available, right-hander Trevor Bauer, to a three-year, $102MM guarantee and then re-signed third baseman Justin Turner to a two-year, $34MM pact earlier this month. But Bauer may not be on the team in a year because of the opt-out clause included in his deal; meanwhile, longtime ace Clayton Kershaw, shortstop Corey Seager, outfielder/infielder Chris Taylor, and relievers Kenley Jansen and Joe Kelly could all become free agents next winter, so the Dodgers will be in position to trim their payroll in 2022 if that’s their plan.