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Dodgers lost big on Trevor Bauer. Can they still win World Series?



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The Dodgers guess on Trevor Bauer as soon as, and they lost. They weren’t about to double down on the dumbest wager they’ve ever positioned.

Beginning the method to end their affiliation with Bauer received’t absolve them of their unique mistake, nonetheless. Whether or not they launch or commerce him within the coming days, they’ll proceed paying for the choice to signal him within the first place.

They’ve already spent nearly all of this offseason on the sidelines whereas their rivals picked up high-priced reinforcements on the free-agent market.

Due to Bauer.

They could possibly be restricted within the wage commitments they will tackle in-season.

Due to Bauer.

They usually nonetheless won’t have the ability to maintain their payroll beneath the luxury-tax threshold.

Due to Bauer.

Now, the onus can be on Andrew Friedman and his military of quantity crunchers to reside as much as their fastidiously curated public picture. They may truly should be smarter than their competitors.

The Dodgers have qualified for the playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons, profitable their division 9 occasions in that stretch. They’ve received with scouting and training, unearthing beforehand missed gems akin to Max Muncy and Tyler Anderson and coaching them as much as be All-Stars. They’ve received with participant growth, their success tales together with the likes of Corey Seager, Walker Buehler and Will Smith.

What’s made their strategies work in addition to they’ve is their wherewithal. Their conflict chest has permitted Friedman to outspend his errors.

Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir had been each $48-million busts within the early years of the Friedman regime. However reasonably than obtain criticism for losing cash on a few broken-down pitchers, Friedman was praised for locating fairly priced replacements within the likes of Brett Anderson and Alex Wooden.

Anderson was a $10-million flier. Wooden was acquired in a commerce for Cuban prospect Hector Olivera, whom Friedman signed for $62.5 million.

Genius would’ve been putting offers for Anderson and Wooden with out signing McCarthy and Kazmir. Within the context by which they had been acquired, Anderson and Wooden had been premium insurance coverage insurance policies — ones different groups couldn’t afford.

The Dodgers have continued throwing round their monetary weight. They spent $1 million final yr on Cole Hamels, who got here out of retirement solely to be shut down after pitching one inning of a simulated recreation. Additionally they prolonged Blake Treinen’s contract by a season in alternate for the reliever delaying a shoulder operation. The Dodgers hoped Treinen may get well with out surgical procedure and return for the playoffs. That didn’t occur. They’re now caught paying his wage in a season that can be largely spent rehabilitating.

Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations, talks to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, talks to Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts, proper, throughout a staff apply on Oct. 10.

(Mark J. Terrill / Related Press)

This isn’t a knock on the Dodgers. That they had a monetary edge and used it.

Besides now, they don’t have that benefit. Whereas they haven’t explicitly mentioned they need to stay beneath the luxury-tax threshold, they definitely have behaved as if that’s the case.

With Bauer’s suspension for violating baseball’s home violence coverage lowered from 324 video games to 194, the Dodgers now owe the scandal-ridden right-hander $22.5 million, which locations them close to the luxury-tax threshold of $233 million.

They’ve little room, if any, to maneuver financially. Their roster is worse on paper than it was final yr, their offseason departures together with Trea Turner and Tyler Anderson. And after a decade by which they outspent the opposite groups within the Nationwide League West by a number of orders of magnitude, they’ve a division rival within the San Diego Padres that has a better payroll than them.

This implies they will’t miss on their reclamation initiatives akin to designated hitter J.D. Martinez and beginning pitcher Noah Syndergaard.

This implies they’ve to reach remodeling Gavin Lux into an on a regular basis shortstop and Trayce Thompson right into a dependable contributor within the outfield.

This implies they should develop their subsequent wave of prospects, a gaggle headlined by pitcher Ryan Pepiot and Bobby Miller.

Bauer will quickly be out of sight and out of thoughts however will affect the Dodgers of their upcoming season as a lot as any participant on the roster. He has price them their best benefit. He has price them their margin for error.

The Dodgers are actually betting they are often what they are saying they’re about — insightful scouting and knowledgeable teaching, reliable participant growth and seamless integration of younger expertise.

After all, in the event that they discover themselves at risk, if the Padres lastly mount an actual problem to their supremacy within the division, they will resort to their outdated strategies. They’ll pull out their bank cards on the commerce deadline and spend, spend, spend.

There can be a draw back. The Dodgers would enter subsequent offseason as a three-time repeat luxury-tax offender and the penalties for exceeding the brink would as soon as once more escalate. The Curse of Trevor Bauer would proceed to afflict them of their anticipated pursuit of Shohei Ohtani.