Despite making blockbuster deals that brought Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett to Los Angeles, the Dodgers are struggling to close the gap on both the Wild Card and pennant races, which has increasingly put their playoff hopes into doubt.
While the Blue Crew still has the opportunity to make its first postseason journey since losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS in 2009, time is ticking away as the Dodgers' offensive woes continue to weigh down the team from their true potential.
After an eventful season of transactions this year that brought big-name players and their big-name contracts to the City of Angels, we begin to wonder how the Dodgers’ new spendthrift ownership, Guggenheim Baseball Management, will respond to an unsuccessful conclusion to the 2012 season.
Will the new owners go on another massive spending spree if the Dodgers’ recent shortcomings cause them to disappointingly miss this year’s playoffs?
Judging from their recent actions, which stunned many, it seems as though the new ownership will throw cash in any direction to ensure that this team succeeds, an effort that is greatly appreciated by fans.
However, after the shock-and-awe of the Dodgers’ monster deal with the Red Sox to bring Gonzalez, Beckett and Carl Crawford to the team has worn off, the management may have learned a valuable lesson: Money can’t buy you championships. Not in baseball, at least.
On top of that, the owners understand that it takes time for players to acclimate to their new surroundings. All of the new acquisitions, despite their spotty achievements, have struggled since putting on a Dodgers uniform.
So, while the new owners would love to create more excitement in L.A. and give the Dodgers an increased chance of succeeding, they also realize that adding superstars can only do so much for a team, and can also backfire in the clubhouse.
Furthermore, as much as they would like to support the franchise and its future, there is a finite amount of funds that they can use for players’ salaries. They incurred $262.5 million in future salaries in the Red Sox blockbuster deal, which is no expendable amount.
Other key factors that the new ownership will take into account before embarking upon another expensive endeavor are the underlying reasons why the team has not succeeded this season despite a face lift to its roster.
In addition to the struggles of the newcomers, the Dodgers have also been marred by key injuries.
Major utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. is out for the season. Ted Lilly has been sidelined since May. Clayton Kershaw has been dealing with lower-body injuries all season. Chad Billingsley was on the disabled list and is now on out for the season after an impressive return for the DL.
Closer Kenley Jansen is having cardiac issues, and most importantly, Matt Kemp was sidelined with a hamstring injury and has recently been struggling since crashing into a wall at full speed in Colorado.
Injuries occur to every team, but so many injuries to key players have really affected the team this season, especially in the second half of the season.
Lastly, the team has the potential to be a much more cohesive unit after a proper spring training together, which can help set the mold on this group of players.
In all, the overwhelming signs that indicate that the new ownership should be patient before pulling the trigger on a big deal once again.
It’s simply too risky financially and may prove to be a dud or counterproductive like the recent acquisitions have proved to be so far.
Chances are that the Dodgers will still make a deal for a pitcher or two in the offseason, but they need not get too desperate.
There are only so many moves that a front office can make.
After all, the game is played on the field.