On Monday evening, Nathan Fletcher said on Twitter: “63 days till pitchers + catchers report!” The tweet was in the service of a photo of Fletcher’s cute kid weighed down in Dad’s catcher’s gear, but we’ll assume that the politician-on-hold is just as excited for the 2013 baseball season as we are. (OK, well, it’s really only our editor who’s amped for baseball, but he’s in control of this space.) We’ll also assume that the Chargers’ dreadful season also has local football fans looking forward to baseball more than they otherwise would in December.
Speaking of which, Padres fans couldn’t have been too excited by the news this weekend that the Dodgers had signed not only one of the best American pitchers—Zack Greinke—for the second largest pile of money ever spent on a pitcher, but also arguably the best pitcher in Korea, Hyun-jin Ryu. The total outlay for the duo was roughly $209 million for six seasons of work, which is, you know, obscene. It gives the Dodgers eight Major League-quality starting pitchers, allowing the team to trade two of them for needed spare parts.
As it stands, the Dodgers have payroll commitments of more than $250 million for the 2013 season alone, which is far above even the big-money New York Yankees, as they try to dislodge the San Francisco Giants from their World Series throne and status as the class of the National League West, where the Padres play. By comparison, the Padres’ 2013 payroll is expected to be somewhere between $70 million and $90 million. The Padres’ financial condition is on the upswing, thanks to new ownership and a new TV contract, which nets the team about $60 million per year. But as nice as that sounds, it ain’t squat compared with the estimated $240 million to $280 million per year that the contract the Dodgers are working out with Fox will pay them.
As the Dodgers were sizing Greinke and Ryu for new uniforms, the Padres were inking journeyman Jason Marquis to a one-year contract worth $3 million. That’s the difference between the two teams in a nutshell. Baseball’s revenue-sharing system helps teams like the Padres a little bit, but not enough to really matter. For now, they’ll find hope in the success that low-revenue teams like the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland A’s had last season.
Thanks for indulging our editor’s baseball geekout. We needed a break from local politics.
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