Andrew Friedman explains Dodgers’ resolution to not spend huge

Since taking up the Dodgers’ entrance workplace almost a decade in the past, Andrew Friedman has tried to strike a cautious steadiness whereas setting up the membership’s roster:

Maximize the group’s probabilities of successful the World Collection in every new season, whereas additionally sustaining its capacity to stay a contender within the subsequent a number of years to return.

Name it the doctrine of sustained success; the idea that championship home windows don’t should swing from utterly open to all the way in which closed, however can somewhat be pried open completely by means of shrewd prime to backside organizational execution.

“We’ve seen a lot of large-market teams compete over a short period of time, and then fall off a cliff,” Friedman stated throughout this week’s annual winter conferences in San Diego, the place his calculated philosophies have been below the microscope once more.

Whereas a lot of the remainder of the league indulged in an almost unprecedented spending spree, the Dodgers caught to their rules and stored a good grip on their purse strings.

They engaged in negotiations with a number of big-name gamers however didn’t splurge in an inflated market that has already seen greater than $2 billion of assured cash dolled out.

It’s not that the Dodgers couldn’t use one other splashy signing, with an skilled beginning pitcher, a defensively succesful heart fielder and probably a brand new shortstop all on their offseason want listing.

It’s not as in the event that they lacked the monetary capital for a blockbuster transfer, with their present luxurious tax payroll at round $189 million — nearly $100 million lower than final season and nonetheless nicely under the league’s $233 million luxurious tax threshold.

As an alternative, the Dodgers evaluated the market, talked to brokers and deemed the going charge for a lot of gamers surpassed what they felt was a accountable, manageable, sustainable quantity.

They got here near signing Justin Verlander, and demand they received’t hesitate to swing a giant deal later this winter, for both a free agent or commerce goal, if the appropriate alternative emerges.

However in a winter of rollicking — and what some would possibly argue reckless — spending, the Dodgers are hoping their restraint will in the end assist them conquer the game once more.

“The one thing that’s been constant,” Friedman stated of the group’s strategy, “is putting ourselves in the best position to win a championship while also keeping that window open for as far as we can see out.”

Such messaging harkens again to Friedman’s early years operating one in every of baseball’s most storied groups, when he was tasked with revamping a membership saddled with a bloated payroll and sputtering farm system.

Because the group’s payroll decreased each season from 2015 to 2018, its capacity to as a substitute develop prospects and nurture huge league expertise helped cement the muse of a new-look contender.

The Dodgers didn’t at all times signal top-of-the-line free brokers. However it hardly halted their transformation into one of many sport’s most constant regular-season winners.

The postseason was a special story, with the Dodgers’ annual shortcomings within the fall more and more blamed on their unambitious strikes the earlier winter.

That lastly modified in 2020, when Mookie Betts’ arrival preceded a long-sought World Collection championship — and have become the primary in a string of high-profile roster strikes.

In 2021, they signed Trevor Bauer, then traded for Trea Turner and Max Scherzer at that season’s commerce deadline. Final spring, they shocked the league once more by luring Freddie Freeman following his departure from the Atlanta Braves.

In hindsight this week, Friedman argued these strikes — which helped escalate the membership’s payroll previous the league’s luxurious tax threshold and, at greater than $280 million this previous season, to club-record heights — have been primarily the Dodgers’ effort at going all-in.

They tried jarring the window open a bit bit extra, hoping that it wouldn’t out of the blue slam shut.

The one drawback: The Dodgers did not convey one other title, and even Nationwide League pennant, to Los Angeles.

Getting into this offseason, all of it left them at a clumsy crossroads: maintain spending actually, actually huge … or attempt to recalibrate again at extra sustainable ranges.

So far, the Dodgers are choosing the latter. They’ve shed payroll and positioned themselves to reset their luxurious tax penalties. They’ve held onto a brand new wave of prospects now knocking on the door of the massive league roster.

It’s not a method that comes with out danger.

Although their 2023 group might be already playoff-caliber — firstly of the offseason, Fangraphs’ ZiPS projection nonetheless predicted the Dodgers to be a 91-win, first-place tram — the league’s different title contenders have made extra drastic enhancements throughout this week’s flurry of free-agent exercise.

Shortstop Carlos Correa is a free agent after spending one season with the Minnesota Twins. It’s unlikely the Dodgers would attempt to signal him.

(Carlos Osorio / Related Press)

The group will definitely bolster the roster earlier than opening day, however in all probability not with famous person additions — barring a change of coronary heart towards shortstop Carlos Correa, whom they’re intrigued by however not anticipated to pursue given his involvement within the Houston Astros 2017 sign-stealing scandal; or a sudden collapse in a pitching market now headlined by Carlos Rodón and Kodai Senga, who’ve additionally acquired curiosity from the Dodgers however will in all probability earn gives past the group’s most popular value vary.

Friedman defended the Dodgers’ strategy this week, pushing again in opposition to the notion that the group may gain advantage from one other all-in strategy.

“This is just not the sport where that reward is the same as in other sports,” he stated. “The sustained success part comes — and we’ve seen over the last seven, eight years — [by] interjecting young, talented players into the mix.”

And, because the Dodgers clearly imagine, given their conservative strategy amid this week’s flurry of winter assembly exercise, they’re keen to not maintain spending at ranges even their deep-pocketed possession group is likely to be unwilling to abdomen.