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On June 22, Don Mattingly's Dodgers were 9.5 games out of first place in the NL West. In fact, the Dodgers had just a .500 record through the season's first half. And with a 2013 payroll of around $240 million, the boys in blue were falling way short of expectations. There were even talks of a possible managerial change.
Then, coincidentally or not, after the Dodgers promoted Cuban import and phenom Yasiel Puig on June 3, the club went on a hot streak. At the time of Puig's promotion, the Dodgers were in fifth place in the division. Within a month's time, the team made it to second place in the division. And by the end of July, they were top of the division—a position they have held ever since.
After a rough start, the sleeping dragon awoke, and the rest of the West paid the price.
For quite some time, the New York Yankees were frequently looked at as the "evil empire" of Major League Baseball. They won pennant after pennant, often with a very lofty payroll.
Well, the Yankees did not make the playoffs this year. But the Dodgers did, and their payroll is the highest in baseball. And of course, it remains to be seen just how far the team goes. Should the team win it all, some could make the argument that they "bought" their way through the playoffs. Some could find it hard to pull for a team with a payroll that outranks several teams combined.