There are a lot of things I love about the Dodgers being in it and I will start with the positives. Clayton Kershaw is one of the best pitchers the game has ever seen, and I would love to see him get a ring! The Dodgers have started to spend their money more effectively and have gone back to the square one, which no team can get around and that is the truth that you have to farm your core talent. They did this with Kershaw and now they have players like Seager and Bellinger giving a boost to the batting order.
So the Dodgers have started doing things similar to the Astros young core that was Farmed in House, but they certainly took the long way to get there! Highlighted in my other article MLB: Farming (vs) Buying, it talked skeletons in the Dodgers’ closet that are in the form of $125M worth of players contracts that are still paid out despite the players no longer contributing. Can you imagine how good this team would be if they were able to re-direct $125M to players that would actually benefit their lineup!?
Now we have the Astros, who do not have the luxury of spending money on experiments that MIGHT WORK like the Dodgers. The Astros have been bad for so many years, but they played it smart and knew that their core talent had to be developed and not bought. Then once you figure out that you have the home grown talent of guys like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Dallas Keuchel, you THEN get the green light to find talent to compliment them with Justin Verlander, rather acquire talent to “make them.”
When you add it all up with amount they are spending on active payroll, retained contracts, and minor league contracts, the Astros are paying just shy of $150M, which is only $25M more than the Dodgers are spending on players that no longer in their starting lineup.
All in all, you have two sides to the story of how teams get to the end of October. You have the Dodgers spending just over $265M on a combination of failed (and some successful) experiments + phenomenal home grown talent. Then you have them going up against the Houston Astros who grew without the luxury of having access to Magic Johnson’s wallet (and others in the owners group), and built this team from the ground up before getting a guy like Verlander to compliment this young powerhouse.
Love the story line and excited to see how each one finishes out!