The Dodgers' spending isn't a problem; teams like the Athletics are

The LA Dodgers have signed another top free agent, but their spending isn't bad for the league.

Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

On Thursday evening, the LA Dodgers came to terms with free agent phenom Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a right-handed pitcher coming to the US from Japan's NPB.

Yamamoto's deal is reportedly for 12 years and $325 million, which makes him the highest paid free agent pitcher in the history of the sport. He beat out Gerrit Cole's contract by $1 million.

Yamamoto was a superstar in Japan. He's coming off a year in which he posted a 1.16 ERA in 171 innings. His career ERA of 1.72 is stunning, considering he's achieved that number over almost 1,000 total innings.

Many suspect there will be a slight drop for Yamamoto after coming to MLB, but having his numbers as a starting point is impressive. He'll slot right into the top of the Dodgers rotation, working alongside recent trade acquisition Tyler Glasnow and holdovers Walker Buehler and Bobby Miller.

The group should create a formidable rotation, arguably one of the best in the league. And that doesn't count Shohei Ohtani, who won't pitch in 2024 due to elbow surgery.

A bigger part of the conversation around the Yamamoto signing is whether what the Dodgers are doing is bad for baseball. Having signed the two highest profile free agents this offseason, the Dodgers head into 2024 markedly better on paper than they were last year when they won 100 games.

There are some fans out there calling for a salary cap, or some means of prevention to keep top teams from moving too far away from the pack.

Brodie Brazil posted a great video where he discusses the topic, and I think makes some salient points.

Personally, I think what the Dodgers are doing is good for the game. It gives fans something to talk about, and provides everyone with a common enemy.

MLB has had more unique champions since the turn of the century than any other major sport. Baseball doesn't have a competitive balance problem. Giving teams the ability to solve problems with money is the easiest way to provide upward mobility.

Look at the problems the NFL and NBA have. Free agency in those sports is a popularity contest. Players have a specific maximum contract they can earn, so when they're deciding whether to sign with Memphis or Los Angeles, which team do you think has the advantage?

MLB gives teams like the Padres, Royals, Brewers, and Reds the opportunity to entice free agents by outspending teams in larger markets. Just because we have bad owners like John Fisher and Bob Nutting doesn't mean there's a competitive balance issue. The teams at the bottom have chosen to be there, make no mistake about it.

We have two current scenarios - the Dodgers spending more money to make their team better on the field, and the Athletics making an absolute mockery of the process while ripping the franchise out of its current city. I can say wholeheartedly that what the A's are doing is worse for baseball than what the Dodgers have done.

Teams should be trying to win. It's unfortunate that the expanded playoff system punishes the best teams by leveling the playing field. The league absolutely should not be trying to handicap teams that put effort into creating the best possible product in order to satisfy owners like Fisher who expect to be catered to simply because they exist.

MLB should be forcing teams like the Athletics, Pirates, Royals, and Guardians to be better, not dragging teams at the top back down to the middle.

feed