Los Angeles Dodgers: 4 Ways Money Won't Bring a Title to La La Land
The "big market" team vs the "small market team."
The concept it simple. Teams located in larger metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles, New York and Boston have more money to spend in efforts to build a championship roster.
Unlike many sports, Major League Baseball does not have a salary cap. This means that owners are free to spend as much as they would like to build their team.
Without a salary cap, teams in a bigger market have an advantage because they have money to spend on salaries that smaller market teams may not be able to afford. This allows the bigger market teams to stack their roster with talent.
But, is spending billions of dollars the only way to win a title?
Unafraid to spend, the newly-owned Dodgers have made noise this season in hopes of making this team a contender. Most notably, the Dodgers traded and took on a quarter of a billion dollars in salary by trading for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford.
Of course, a team's chances to win are heightened with more talent on a roster. However, there are several other factors other than talent that contribute in a championship team.
Spending money doesn’t guarantee a championship. It simply increases the odds. The big dollars spent on free agents won't guarantee a World Series trip, but it will keep a team in contention on a consistent basis.
Here are four reasons why the big spending Dodgers won't bring a title to Los Angeles merely on talent and money.
1. Money Can't Buy Team Chemistry
Even with a great middle of the lineup consisting of Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier, the Dodgers cannot seem to manufacture runs.
As star-studded as their team is, the Dodgers seem to lack chemistry throughout their lineup.
Dodgers' manager Don Mattingly knows it as well, as he was quoted as saying, "There's something to be said for guys being around each other. I can't deny it."
The players on this roster have not spent enough time together and it has been showing of late.
Los Angeles Times writer Bill Plaschke wrote it best when he said:
"They haven't played in the same lineup long enough to know when to instinctively protect each other by taking a pitch or shortening a swing."
"The Dodgers need spring training. It's that simple. Adrian Gonzalez and Ramirez need time to learn Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. A lineup around them needs to be assembled that will complement those four guys. Everyone needs to know each other better. Everyone needs, you know, practice."
Since the trade, the Dodgers have gone 7-12 and have fallen seven and a half games out of the divisional lead.
However, they still have playoff aspirations as they are only one game out of the second wild card spot.
The Dodgers must pick up their offensive chemistry to find late season success and hopes for a deep playoff run.
2. Money Can't Buy Consistency
Baseball is a game that can be classified as inconsistent.
Even the very best hitters are unsuccessful more often than not, and the best cannot simply create success whenever they like.
Essentially, every player, even the great ones go through slumps throughout a long MLB season.
Late in the season, it's not about who has more money or who has the best players, it's about how consistent the players perform to guide their teams with a playoff push.
Since the blockbuster trade, Ramirez is hitting .186, Kemp is hitting .188 and Gonzalez is hitting .233.
The Dodgers have not shown much consistency as of late and with the postseason right around the corner, the Dodgers may miss the playoffs.
Winning only seven of their last 19 games, the Boys in Blue must find a way to close the gap between the Giants for the divisional lead or consistently win to secure a Wild Card spot.
The Dodgers do not seem to be getting hot, and inconsistency this late in the season may be their demise.
3. Money Can't Buy Momentum
We all know that to find success late in the season and into the playoffs, a team needs to get hot at the right time.
Momentum can carry a lot for a team especially in the playoffs where even the smallest things matter.
A team that surges late in the season and can carry their momentum into the postseason has a better chance to win a title, as opposed to a team with the most stacked lineup.
In the 2010 season, when the Giants had the ninth highest payroll in the MLB, they barely made the postseason.
Playing every game in the month of September as a must-win, the Giants were able to beat the Padres on literally the last day of the 2010 season and carry that momentum for an 11-4 postseason record and were eventually crowned the 2010 World Series champions.
The same can be said for the 2011 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. With the 13th highest payroll in the MLB at the time, the Cardinals went 18-8 in the last month of the season. Key players stepped up at the right time, and the Cardinals used that momentum to win the 2011 title.
Outside the top five in payrolls, the Giants and Cardinals were both able to use momentum to their advantage en route to a World Series championship.
4. Money Does Not Equate Wins
Take a look at the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays. Both have baseball's lowest payrolls, yet they find themselves in playoff contention.
As a matter of fact, The Rays' entire roster costs less than the Yankees’ infield, and they have built one of the best pitching rotations in baseball with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.
What is more impressive is that the Rays have made the last three out of four playoff appearances with a low-budget roster.
In the past 10 years, the Yankees have spent around $2 billion on players salaries, with only one championship during that span to show for it.
In the last four-years, only one mega spender has one the World Series (Yankees), while the other three were won by teams just outside the top 10 in payrolls who used homegrown players to win a championship.
Although it helps your chances, money alone cannot help a franchise win a title.