By: Lydia Vazquez
It’s game one of the 2017 World Series, Astros vs Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw became the second pitcher (Brooklyn Dodger Don Newcombe) to strike out 11 and walk none in a World Series game. Critics were craving this type of dominance from post season Kershaw, veteran Dodger with its highest paying total salary of 35,571,428.
#11 – Slider to George Springer
Meanwhile, the Astros played hungry ball winning 101 games in the regular season as they repped #HoustonStrong in honor of the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey.
(Photo: Larry McCormack, The Tennessean via USA TODAY NETWORK)
On paper, both teams dominated finishing the regular season with two of the top three records in the game. The only thing that set them apart, payroll.
With a $259 million dollar payroll the Dodgers became the most expensive team in the MLB, according to Spotrac. The Astros ranked 17th, with a $139 million payroll.
And just for fun, the team with the second-highest payroll, the Boston Red Sox, clocked in at $224 million. The Dodgers spent almost $40 million more than the team in second.
“The Dodgers are only in the World Series because of their payroll. The Dodgers bought their team.”
No, you didn’t hear it here first, folks. Heck, you’re probably still hearing critics cry about it today. And, well, maybe you’re the critic crying about it today.
So let’s get to the facts.
The Dodgers spent a ton of money on under-performing players like Adrian Gonzalez with $22 million and Andre Ethier at $17 million. They spent over $20 million wrapped up in other contracts and players no longer with the team, a third of the Oakland Athletics’ entire payroll. Take Matt Kemp for example, the Dodgers paid him over $2 million in 2017 while he played in a Braves uniform.
Sure, the more than double payroll the Dodgers held over the Astros may have been the magic in the pot that prevented a stir of previous costly mistakes and what very well could have been the reason they won the most regular season games (104- 58). But it obviously didn’t win them a ring.
Here’s why the Dodgers actually failed to win it all and why money had zero to do with the outcome of the World Series:
Rosters were identical when it came to payroll.
All 25 players from each team rounded out to an equivalent worth of $154 million. In the end, payroll didn’t matter. Though Dave Roberts made questionable calls, he did not start players based on their salaries. You didn’t watch Enrique Hernandez sit over Andre Ethier who had one of the highest paying salaries on the team.
Overuse of the bullpen and micromanagement by Roberts could be to blame.
But it’s as simple as the Astros played smarter baseball and were starving for a ring. They entirely overshadowed a team who completely dominated the regular season both on paper and on the field. Not only were they fighting to rebuild hope for the city of Houston but they were fighting to win a World Series Championship for the first time in their 56-year history.
The Astros played like they had everything to lose and in the end, it showed.