With the Los Angeles Dodgers’ magic number to win the NL West down to two, the rest of the division has started looking toward the future. But with the salaries the Dodgers are able to afford, is the future any brighter for those teams than the present?
ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian was on Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Wednesday, and he discussed the challenge the Arizona Diamondbacks face having to compete against such a financially endowed team. One small market team that’s been able to achieve success is Tampa Bay Rays, but Kurkjian said following their lead is easier said than done.
“Keep in mind that the Rays became good because they were historically bad for almost 15 years. If you want to be good, draft the right people and then develop them correctly,” Kurkjian said. “The Rays‘ model is different because they’ve kept it going now for six years. To sustain it for that long is very difficult.”
The Dodgers sported an opening day payroll of $216 million while the D-backs were at just under $90 million. With a likely extension to pitcher Clayton Kershaw coming soon, the Dodgers’ payroll should only rise in the next few years.
Kurkjian did point out that not all high-spending teams have success, but admitted it allows them to make a mistake a team like the D-backs can’t.
“If [the D-backs] have to go out and get that one guy, that they have to overspend for in order to stay competitive with the Dodgers, they better be sure that deal they give him works long term because if it doesn’t, they’re in big trouble,” Kurkjian said.