As if any further proof was needed, the historic extension handed out to Clayton Kershaw yesterday showed without a doubt that it is the Dodgers' world; everybody else just gets to live in it.
There isn't much point in going over the details of the extension here, as nearly every article written on the internet in the past two days either detailed the mind-blowing numbers in Kershaw's new contract or talked about the Oscar nominations that dropped this morning (if you're a betting person, put your money on 12 Years a Slave for Best Picture). There is cause for such talk on the subject of the contract, as it makes Kershaw the highest-paid player in baseball starting in 2015. The lanky Texan southpaw has yet to visit the disabled list in his career, and he currently holds the lowest career ERA of anyone with more than 1,000 IP, so there isn't really a lot of point in arguing against the deal as any contrarian viewpoints are simply made by those worrying about health--a real concern, of course, but a relatively belabored point when talking about long-term deals.
The more interesting notion that the Kershaw extension and the ensuing talk that the extension does not eliminate Masahiro Tanaka as an option for the Dodgers this offseason elucidates is that with the Dodgers' ludicrous local TV deal the Dodgers are in a league of their own. Where the Yankees of yore were the odds-on favorites to sign the three or four biggest free agents every offseason, they're getting outbid and jilted left and right while their former crosstown rivals now seem able to sign every player they want.
If you want to really highlight the difference between the former cocks of the walk, the Yankees, and the new kings of baseball, the Dodgers, look no further than the fact that the Dodgers are still looking long and hard at Masahiro Tanaka.
For the Dodgers, Tanaka would be a luxury. They really would only need him to be their #4 starting pitcher. Even then, they currently have Dan Haren and Josh Beckett in the back end of their rotation. And Chad Billingsley on the mend from Tommy John surgery due back sometime in the middle of the season. Even if they don't sign Tanaka, Ned Coletti has stated that they will still add another starting pitcher.
When you are pulling in $340MM a year on your local TV deal (for those keeping track at home, that's roughly $250MM more than the Yankees net, per anum), the playing field is non-existent. The fact that they already have $94.75MM committed to their current rotation plus Billingsley and are intent on adding another starter must be driving opposing general managers to the nuthouse.
Is there a limit? Dodgers still in on Tanaka
•True Blue LAThe Dodgers ownership group since taking over in May 2012 has added nearly $1 billion in new salary commitments.
By contrast, the Yankees need Tanaka. Their rotation is Hiroki Kuroda, whatever C.C. Sabathia is now, Ivan Nova, David Phelps, and Michael Pineda. You could argue that to truly contend in 2014 the Yankees need to add Tanaka and one of the other four top starters on the free agent market. On paper in their current incarnation, they seem to be at best the third-best team in their division and have to compete against the reigning World Champs who spent roughly $70MM less than them to do it. It would be hard to argue that they're not outmatched by two front offices just within their division.
Now the one thing they could always count on--being able to outspend everyone--has been blown to smithereens.
The Dodgers are the big boys.
Everyone else is helpless and simply gets the scraps Ned Coletti lets them have.
Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.