To baseball fans, Los Angeles must translate to the “City of Big Spending”. In this baseball offseason, both teams bearing the name “Los Angeles” have thrown around cash as if it were Monopoly money. Forget the Yankees and Red Sox, the Angels and Dodgers are quickly becoming baseballs most freely spending teams.
The glow is a lot brighter these days in Hollywood and Anaheim. After spending sprees from both teams this offseason, baseball fans in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas are understandably excited.
Since the Guggenheim Baseball Management ownership has taken over the Dodgers in May of last year, it seems like they haven’t stopped opening their checkbook.
In the little time the ownership has been in place, the Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto from the Boston Red Sox, Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins, Brandon League from the Mariners, and Skip Schumaker from the Cardinals via trades.
And from the free agent market they have acquired Zack Greinke ( 6 years, $146 million), Hyun-jin Ryu (6 years, $36 million plus posting fees), and J.P. Howell (along with some lesser known names).
Just in this offseason alone the Dodgers have spent $185,850,000 and the offseason isn’t done yet. With all these expensive additions and a roster already full of All-Stars, the Dodgers will enter the season with the highest payroll in sports history (approximately $220 million). The scary part is that they don’t even seem to care.
Similarly down the I-5 freeway in Anaheim, the Angels have thrown themselves into the spotlight by stealing the top free agent hitter for the second consecutive year.
Both times, seemingly out of nowhere, the Angels have swooped in on two BIG free agent bats with their take-it-or-leave-it approach with contracts.
Including last season, the Angels have signed Albert Pujols (10 years, $250 million), Josh Hamilton (5 years, $125 million), C.J. Wilson, Sean Burnett, Joe Blanton, and Ryan Madson as well as trading for Tommy Hanson, Chris Iannetta, Jason Vargas, and Zack Greinke (for a few months).
This offseason alone the Angels have spent $138 million after spending over $300 million last offseason.
That’s a lot of superstars changing addresses to the West Coast. Within the past few years the Western divisions in baseball have slowly started to take the spotlight away from the East Coast. Including last year, the San Francisco Giants have won 2 of the last 3 World Series and the Texas Rangers have been in 2 of the past 3.
It seems like there is a power shift in baseball that is being accelerated by big spending by the Angels and Dodgers.
While the Western division is becoming more popular, it’s the Angels and the Dodgers who are capturing most of the attention this offseason.
Although the Angels and Dodgers have had a bit of a dry spell in playoff appearances lately, big money and big names tend to get you noticed. With big spending comes big expectations.
Just ask the Angels after spending big last year on Pujols and Wilson.
However big spending seems to raise the pressure even higher. With increasing media attention, mega TV deals, and marquee players, the expectations have never been higher. The Angels and Dodgers are both out to prove that their big spending is worth it and not a mistake. Las Vegas has the Angels and Dodgers as early favorites to win the World Series and rightfully so.
Angels fans are getting restless after missing the playoffs the last few years and expect nothing less than a deep playoffs run.
Owner Arte Moreno is also fed up with losing and is doing whatever it takes to win. With one of the best, if not the best, offensive lineup in baseball, the Angels need to win and win soon.
After a 6-14 start last season and fading playoff hopes in the late summer, attendance decreased and fans became upset quickly.
Now with the addition of Josh Hamilton and the emergence of Mike Trout as one of the best players in baseball, the Angels will need to get out of the gate quickly to keep their fan base and their World Series aspirations alive.
As for the Dodgers, ownership has made a serious statement that they are here to win as soon as possible. During the Frank McCourt debacle, the Dodgers were a mess on and off the field. But with new owners comes the opportunity for a clean slate.
Baseball needs the Dodgers to be relevant again because of their standing as one of the most prominent franchises in sports. And with the way money has flown out of the pockets of Dodgers owners, everyone expects nothing less than a return to greatness this year.
Is it reasonable to expect the Angels and Dodgers to make it to the World Series? Absolutely. Southern California fans are begging and hoping for a Freeway World Series. Talk about a dream come true for So Cal baseball fans.
But as baseball has shown us over the years, the best teams on paper don’t always win championships.
However, both the Angels and Dodgers are out to prove that the best team on paper can also be the best team on the field. With a little over 30 days to go until Spring Training, baseball fans in Los Angeles and Orange County can barely wait for what could be the most anticipated season in So Cal baseball history.
Come October, both teams should be getting ready for a matchup that could start a Civil War in Southern California. Only time will tell…