The Dodgers and Giants are the West Coast version of the Yankees and Red Sox ... at least according to Giants' owner Larry Baer (via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle). Baer cited his team's solid judgement in drafting players like Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum to insinuate that the Giants can compete with Los Angeles without having a $200 million payroll.
He acknowledged the fact that the Dodgers' astronomical budget is of some concern, but expressed confidence in the organization's ability to strategize with their relatively limited budget.
"We’re mindful of the Dodgers. We’d be crazy to say we’re not. Maybe it’s a little bit like New York and Boston in a lot of the years. We’re fine with not matching them dollar for dollar because when it comes down to it, it’s an art, not a science ... "
The Giants' payroll sits at about $155 million right now. They're one of the richest teams in baseball in that regard, but the gap between them and the Dodgers -- about $70 million -- is close to the same amount that the Pirates and Rays are set to spend on their entire roster this season.
Both of those teams made the postseason last year.
So did the Dodgers.
Well, they didn't, but they have won two more World Series than all three of those clubs combined over the last few years, and they have shown an aptitude for augmenting their core of homegrown players with a mix of big name acquisitions -- like Hunter Pence -- and bargains -- like Gregor Blanco and Angel Pagan.
On the other hand, the Dodgers' spending spree hasn't come at the expense of their minor league system. Of all their major acquisitions, few of them have cost the team prospects. Zack Greinke signed with them a season after being traded midseason from the Brewers to the Angels, meaning he didn't cost Los Angeles a draft pick in free agency. And although the Dodgers sent a few solid players to Boston in the deal that landed them Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, they still have an impressive farm system. If the Dodgers can produce some of their own impact players over the next few years, it could be hard for the Giants to compete with them in both player development and free agency.
However, Larry Baer doesn't seem worried. If the Giants need to make a move, Baer says they will be able to do so.
"There’s some firepower left if warranted."
In other words, it's not like the Giants are broke. They can compete with most teams in budgetary terms, and until the Dodgers use their massive payroll to take home a World Series or two, the Giants will have a a more impressive résumé.