The Los Angeles Dodgers had to pay Justin Turner a lot of money to complete their infield after years of service? No problem! They take care of their own.
The Yankees ship them to the Red Sox.
In an offseason unlike any other (the sequel to “in these unprecedented times…” that no one asked for), New York has fought against the margins of its own roster, ignoring the names on the page in a desperate effort to claw below the lowest luxury tax threshold.
The Dodgers, in the other league on the other side of the country? With fewer holes than the Yankees, they blitzed past any and all luxury tax thresholds to sign the best pitcher on the market in Trevor Bauer.
Then, they extremely unnecessarily rewarded 36-year-old Justin Turner with a two-year deal worth $17 million annually, just because.
They’re now paying about $257 million for 2021, and signed Turner, still an effective ballplayer but not a centerpiece, mostly just so the fans would feel good. Must be nice!
Also important to remember? The Dodgers are passing an extremely high luxury tax threshold, which could result in them losing 10 spots on their first-round draft pick.
The Yankees? They’re fighting tooth and nail to stay below the lowest possible taxation level. Surpassing it by a million, or two, or five could result in only a small fractional penalty. A 50% tax on all overages, considering this would be the Yanks’ third consecutive season over the limit! No!
If they relented, improved their fifth outfielder spot, and signed Brett Gardner, they could end up as much as $5 million over the tax — and pay an extra $2.5 million! Disaster! Hal Steinbrenner would be ruined!
Keep in mind that, although the Steinbrenner family has made it a point of emphasis that they took a bath during the pandemic, the Yankees still spend the lowest percentage of their overall revenue of any MLB team, per Forbes.
They’d also like you to believe they’re the only family on earth that had a rough pandemic. We assure you, other non-millionaires had it worse.
The Yankees, whether they believe in Masahiro Tanaka’s bounce back or not, could use 160-180 extra innings in a rotation full of high-upside question marks.
They could also use Brett Gardner, and though fans have conditioned themselves that $5 million would be an overpay and $7.5 million would be an outright disaster — because fans have decided that they, too, care desperately about taxation now — the Dodgers simply would’ve…done it by now, damn the cost.
And there was certainly a space on this roster for Adam Ottavino, alongside Darren O’Day, Justin Wilson and the gang.
At the base level, the World Champion Dodgers realize that winning is a luxury and the playoffs are a crapshoot, and they’ve committed to both eternally getting better and rewarding those who brought them here.
The Yankees, bereft of a World Series win since 2009? They’re the best team in the American League on paper, and they know you’ll love whoever they throw out there, whether you have any emotional connection to the names or not.
Dreadfully, the Yankees’ ethos is closer to the Red Sox and Rays’ plug-and-play gibberish than the Dodgers’ approach at this point.
Now, who’s ready to partially fill the stadium and Hal Steinbrenner’s pockets on Opening Day again?