Are the Los Angeles Dodgers the new New York Yankees?

The answer may make the late George Steinbrenner role over in his grave. For over four decades, Steinbrenner’s Yankees consistently outspent every team in Major League Baseball, winning seven world championships in the process. Now the free-spending Dodgers, who were purchased in March 2012 by investment banking firm Guggenheim Partners for a record $2.15 billion in cash appear to be following Mr. Steinbrenner’s blueprint.

On Friday, the Dodgers reportedly signed starting pitcher Zack Grienke to the largest contract ever for a right-handed pitcher, $147 million over six years.  Then on Sunday, the team agreed to terms with Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu on a 6-year deal worth $36 million. The Dodgers had previously posted a fee of $25.7 million just for the rights to negotiate with Ryu’s agent, Scott Boras.

Including the mega-trade the Dodgers made last season with the Boston Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, AND the generous contract extensions the team gave to home-grown stars Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, the team has now committed over $600 million to six players over the next seven seasons. Even George never did that.

We may be witnessing, ladies and gentlemen, the formation of a new Evil Empire. Stay tuned.

Lance Williams

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