The Los Angeles Dodgers officially ended the New York Yankees' 15-year streak as Major League Baseball's biggest spenders in 2014, as the team will be forced to pony up more that $26.6 million in luxury tax, per Ronald Blum of the Associated Press.
Will the team's record $257,283,410 payroll scare off GM Andrew Friedman from making any more big moves? How will the moves the Dodgers have already made this winter affect the team long term? We'll answer these questions and more in our latest Dodgers Rumors Roundup!
The dangers of dealing Matt Kemp
New Dodgers general manager Andrew Friedman knows the backlash he could incur if outfielder Matt Kemp continues his return to superstar form after being traded inside the division to the San Diego Padres.
"Sure," Friedman answered when asked if he had reservations about dealing Kemp, via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. "He was a really popular player because of how gifted he is offensively. We get it. I have a lot of respect for what he can do in the batter's box. You have to give up talent to get talent and we felt this put us in a position to be a better baseball team."
Kemp is under contract for five more years at $107 million - $32 million of which the Dodgers will pay as part of the terms of the deal that landed L.A. catcher Yasmani Grandal, right-handed pitching prospect Joe Wieland, and gave the team the prospect (Zach Eflin) it needed to secure former Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
Howie Kendrick contract extension talks off the table for now?
The Dodgers traded a top-tier pitching prospect, 23-year-old lefty Andrew Heaney, for what could end up being one year of Howie Kendrick, provided the 31-year-old second baseman opts for free agency next offseason.
“We haven’t even talked anything about that,” Kendrick said of potential contract extension talks, via Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t know if that will or won’t happen. But my main focus is to play the game. That stuff will work itself out, whether it does or doesn’t happen.”
GM Andrew Friedman wasn't committal either way when discussing the prospects of an extension, indicating that the "focus right now is on the 2015 season."
Brandon League to follow Brian Wilson out of town?
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Dodgers may be willing to pay nearly half of veteran reliever Brandon League's 2015 salary to move him in a potential trade:
#Dodgers aren’t done. Per sources, talking to teams about Brandon League, willing to pay almost half of his $7.5M salary as part of deal.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 17, 2014
This comes on the heels of the Dodgers eating $9.5 million to release fellow veteran relief pitcher Brian Wilson outright.
League hasn't fully lived up to the three years and $22.5 million the Dodgers handed him prior to the 2013 season, and his 38-to-27 K/BB ratio in 2014 could raise a red flag for teams looking for bullpen help.
News & Notes
* Despite the fact that Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels grew up a Dodgers fan, MLB.com's Jim Duquette thinks the retooled San Diego Padres are a more distinct frontrunner when it comes to pulling off a potential blockbuster trade. Los Angeles may be unwilling to take on the $100 million-plus left on Hamels' contract, especially in the wake of the team's spending last season.
* Jimmy Rollins is "most definitely" ready to take a leadership role in the Dodgers clubhouse, as the 36-year-old looks to capture his second World Series title in the twilight of his MLB career.
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