What the San Francisco Giants Can Learn From the Dodgers
The Dodgers went into the 2017/2018 offseason in good shape. They had most of their roster returning and had a whole lot of money coming off the books yet again mainly from Yu Darvish, Curtis Granderson, and Tony Watson. Then a weird thing happened. They traded Charlie Culberson (who by the way was also a solid contributor to the 2017 team), Adrian Gonzalez (and his contract), Scott Kazmir (and his contract too), and Brandon McCarthy (with most of his contract) to the Atlanta Braves for…Matt Kemp (and his contract)! So Farhan kind of came full circle and in a weird way let the Braves take on a bunch of expiring contracts so they can do their own type of Dodgers salary purge. Gonzalez, McCarthy, and Kazmir all came off the Braves books after the 2018 season. But wow, what a wild ride.
The Dodgers started the 2018 season a little slow out the gates as they fell on some bad luck. Corey Seager went down for the year requiring Tommy John surgery, Cody Bellinger slumped, Chris Taylor struck out a bunch, but Justin Turner remained consistent, Matt Kemp showed some flashes of his old self to help spark the team early in the season, Max Muncy came out of nowhere and hit 35 home runs somehow, and the midseason acquisition of Manny Machado propelled the Dodgers, who outlasted the Rockies to win another NL West crown in a 163rd tie breaker game.
In the playoffs the Dodgers quickly dispatched a young Braves team that had been enjoying the fruits of their recent rebuild in 2018. Then the Dodgers went down to the wire, battling a scrappy, analytics and match-up-driven Milwaukee Brewers team. It was almost as though the Dodgers were playing some poorer, bizarro, money-ball version of themselves, with an emphasis on the bullpen over starting pitching. But the Dodgers were able to outlast the Brewers and went on to get crushed in the World Series by the Boston Red Sox.
The Dodgers shortcomings from the 2017 World Series reared its ugly head again. The Dodgers lack of clutch starting pitching, questionable match up decisions, and a shoddy bullpen cost them as they lost again to a supremely talented team. At the end of the 2018 season the Dodgers had an active payroll of $160.5 million with only $30.5 million in money owed to traded or released players.