Dodgers' failed World Series bid cost them money and trust. Now the bill comes due

Dodger's shortstop Corey Seager reacts after beating the Atlanta Braves in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the NLCS on Saturday. Seager is slated to become a free agent this off-season.
It was just before midnight on Saturday when Atlanta broke out. A sold out crowd broke out. Fireworks broke out. The players broke out, threw off their caps and hopped around the infield like crazy. The mascot stormed onto the field and waved a huge red flag with the words "NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPS".
But since the Dodgers left the field for the last time this season, I wasn't thinking about the Braves. I thought of the New York Yankees. I couldn't help but think about what Aaron Boone, the Yankees manager, said after his team was eliminated in the playoffs this year.
"The league closed the gap with us," said Boone.
The Yankees didn't fire Boone for this. They just signed him for another three years.
Here are the Yankees, in a sport where financial power alone no longer guarantees success. It could be where the Dodgers end up on the most glorious run in the history of a proud franchise.
After seven years of winning division championships and rebuilding an organization, the Dodgers and their owners went all out for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, signing Mookie Betts and Trevor Bauer together a half billion dollars this year.
The Dodgers won the World Series last year. Flags fly forever.
They didn't even get to the World Series this year - and no, it wasn't Bauer's fault. The Dodgers replaced him with an even better one: Max Scherzer.
And they got pretty close: within two games of coming back to the World Series despite losing Max Muncy to injury on the last day of the regular season, too late to get a replacement, and losing one player a day, for injury in the NLCS for three consecutive days: Justin Turner, Joe Kelly and Scherzer.
Now the bills are due.
The top prospects the Dodgers traded to get Betts and Scherzer - pitcher Josiah Gray, catcher Keibert Ruiz, infielder Jeter Downs and outfielder Alex Verdugo - are no longer here.
Still here: David Price, who the Dodgers accepted as part of the deal to get bets and who wasn't among the 13 pitchers the Dodgers used in the playoffs. Here too: Bauer, at least until the police station presumably suspends him after the investigation into allegations of sexual assault against him. Until that unpaid suspension is either negotiated or upheld on appeal, Price and Bauer's contracts are $ 80 million on the Dodgers' books.
Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, Corey Seager, and Chris Taylor can all be free agents. All are 30 years old, except for Seager, who could start bidding for a new contract at $ 300 million.
The league has cut unlimited spending on international amateurs that the Dodgers' owners have skillfully used in rebuilding the minor league system. The Dodgers' farming system, thinned out by years of trades to bolster the Major League roster of top prospects and deep prospects, currently ranks 15th among 30 teams, according to Baseball America.
Whether the owners of the Dodgers will continue to spend a league-leading quarter of a billion dollars on players' payroll every year remains to be seen. Regardless of the level of spending, hiring decisions must be made wisely.
For the Dodgers, so many decisions have gone right in this hit streak that it is heartbreaking to see how many went wrong this year.
It is testament to the strength of Andrew Friedman and his baseball team that the Dodgers have won 106 games that year, largely obscuring their weaknesses by the postseason.
Gavin Lux was at the learning center in September and October because he could not hold the second base in April and May. Matt Beaty, Zack McKinstry and Edwin Ríos couldn't replace Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson on the bench. The seventh inning pinch hitter Saturday that represents the tieing run: Steven Souza Jr., 32, who has had nine major league hits in the past three years.
The Dodgers started Corey Knebel in the first game of the NLCS and Kelly in an elimination game, partly because Kershaw and Dustin May were injured, but also because Tony Gonsolin wasn't performing as expected and the Dodgers got replacements for injuries - Danny Duffy and Cole Hamels - who were injured themselves.
The Dodgers used Scherzer as Closer and Julio Urias as Utility Pitcher in the playoffs, which hindered their effectiveness in their lead role as a starter. A team that had eight starters in April was trying to get through the postseason with three. The front office tried unsuccessfully to cover up the lack of weapons by rethinking, and the team ended the postseason with two healthy starters.
All of that pales in comparison to the Bauer debacle, of course - not because it prevented the Dodgers from repeating it, but because it severely damaged the reputation of the team and its management.
"Hopefully over the past six years," Friedman said when the Dodgers signed Bauer, it has built some trust and credibility about the research we do on players and the review process we go through. "
That trust and credibility has been sacrificed - by the front office and the owners - for the chance to sign a stellar pitcher on a short-term contract.
By and large, the Dodgers play in an increasingly tight league of moneyball with money teams. Like Friedman, the two AL finalists, the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros, are led by alumni of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Braves are directed by Alex Anthopoulos, who worked under Friedman in L.A. The San Francisco Giants are led by Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler, both of whom worked in L.A. under Friedman.
The Dodgers' analytics guru went to start his own company. The Dodgers revenue guru went to help the fanatics dominate the sports business.
Perhaps the league closed the gap with the Dodgers, like Boone said it did with the Yankees. Maybe not. The Yankees haven't made it into the World Series since 2009. The Dodgers have done it three times in the past five years.
The Dodgers are still gifted with plenty of intelligence and money. The rise of streaming means viewers no longer have to pay for channels they don't watch. While the League and many of the Dodgers' rivals try to tweak their moneymaking models on the fly, the Dodgers have a record $ 8 billion deal on cable that extends through 2038. You should continue to thrive.
But you never know in advance when the golden era might end. The Angels won a World Series and five division championships from 2002 to 2009. It seemed like the good times would continue. They haven't won a postseason game since then.
For the Dodgers it's too soon to wait until next year.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
In this article:
Trevor Bauer
American baseball player
Max Scherzer
# 31
Aaron Boone
Baseball player

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