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Monday, December 22, 2008

So You See, Johnny, The Dodgers Really Are A Small Market Team

In today's Dodgers mailbag by Ken Gurnick:

Why haven't the Dodgers entered the Mark Teixeira bidding?
-- Daniel C. Fontana, Calif.

It's the same reason they haven't bid on any Type-A free agents but their own. They are trying to develop from within. They are in a youth movement. They don't want to give nine-figure deals to anyone. Plus, they already have a solid, inexpensive, young first baseman in James Loney.

As much as fans don't like hearing it, the Dodgers are a business as well as a team. That's just reality. Current ownership has concluded that such contracts present an unwise risk/reward proposition, particularly with the unknowns of the current financial climate.

The Dodgers traditionally are among the game's leaders in ticket sales, allowing them a payroll annually near the top in the National League. But for another four years they will lack the riches that a regional television network provides teams like the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox. And squeezing added revenue out of a 47-year-old stadium has become a difficult challenge as well, as it requires huge capital expenditures to upgrade the venue.

So while the Dodgers can easily outspend their smaller-market division rivals, they don't have the resources some would expect for a club in a big market, even if they wanted to hook up in a bidding war with a free-spending rival. [emphasis mine]

Wow, seriously? I have been very willing to give McCourt the benefit of a lot of doubt on salary — the Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre, and Andruw Jones signings alone ought to prove the McCourts' willingness to spend — but this is the first time I've heard the "we don't have our own cable network, boo hoo" excuse trotted out.

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