It's been popular to refer to the Los Angeles Dodgers as "Yankees West" -- heck, I did it just ten minutes ago -- but that overlooks the fact that the Yankees are actively working to get under the competitive-balance taxes established in the new collective bargaining agreement. The days of unlimited spending are over for the Yankees, who still owe Alex Rodriguez at least $143 million over the next five years.
That leaves just the Dodgers. The Yankees aren't even pretending they're "Dodgers East" these days. There was only team in baseball who could have thought it was possible to look at Carl Crawford as a tariff that came along with Adrian Gonzalez, and that team was the Dodgers.
Maybe they're on to something. From Grantland's Jonah Keri:
t some point in the past decade — maybe right after the publication of Moneyball, maybe later than that — the baseball world became obsessed with efficiency. The sabermetrically savvy A's and the scouting-adept Twins got very good while spending less than nearly every other team. The Rays followed suit. Those on-the-cheap wins caused other teams' philosophies, and the way the media cover the sport, to change.
The Dodgers, then, would be the first team in a while to say "To hell with efficiency." There aren't style points awarded for wins accumulated with a low payroll. And if they have to do things the inelegant way, shoveling money at players and being financial bullies, that's fine with them. As long as they win. That's their only goal, and they'll spend to get there.
The Yankees, Keri argues, are more about making a profit right now. That's the real reason they want to get under the
salary cap competitive-balance tax. It has to do with the other teams getting their wins for cheaper, too.
The Dodgers have no such concern. Their first step has been to reenergize the fan base that was thoroughly sick of Frank McCourt. That's been a success. The second step is to win. After that, I'm sure they're hoping ot make a profit, but they'll worry about that later. There are 29 other teams and then there are the Dodgers. Keri thinks they might be on to something here.