The Los Angeles Dodgers winning the World Series is good news for Philadelphia Phillies fans.
A whacky 2020 MLB season has finally come to a conclusion, and the Los Angeles Dodgers stand alone as the best team in all of baseball. While it ultimately wasn’t our beloved Phils who got to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy, the Dodgers winning the World Series should in theory be good news for fans of the Philadelphia Phillies moving forward.
Clayton Kershaw and Blake Snell storylines aside for a moment, the Dodgers knocking off the underdog Rays provides the Phillies with a blueprint on how to end their own respective World Series drought.
Spend money. Spend a lot of money.
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While it may not be as cute as “Moneyballing” your way to the final round of the playoffs like the Rays did, the Dodgers won the World Series by way of dominant star power. They had the second highest payroll in all of baseball this season, and the highest in the entire National League. They possessed a plethora of superstar type talents in Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, and Clayton Kershaw, and they never once shied away from paying said players the money that they deserved.
It’s worth noting that the Dodgers acquired a majority of these star talents via analytic-based scouting and savvy drafting, but the overarching point remains the same. For years, the Dodgers have flexed their financial power on the MLB as they snatched up as many superstars as humanly possible. The trade for Betts seemed like the move to finally push them over the edge, and that’s exactly what it ended up being,
I would argue that the $400+ million that ownership spent on Betts has already proved to be a worthwhile investment.
While the Philadelphia Phillies are still lightyears away from matching the Dodgers elite scouting and analytic departments (they don’t even have a GM yet!), they can without question compete with the likes of LA in terms of financial prowess. The Phillies had the fifth highest payroll in baseball last season, spending just under $30 million less than the Dodgers did.
The obvious problem with the Phillies the last two seasons has been where exactly they’ve invested said money. The team’s front office has been completely directionless, spearheaded by two below average executives who are now on their way out (Matt Klentak, Andy MacPhail). If the Phillies can simply get a smart GM/president in the building, their lofty payroll should prove to be a lethal enough weapon to vault the team back into October baseball.
If the Rays had pulled out a World Series win this year, it’s hard not to feel like Middleton wouldn’t have used it as a way to justify cutting payroll in the offseason. The Phillies owner still might opt to slash the organization’s budget, but at least he can’t pretend it’s for the better of the team.
Whether it’s re-signing Didi Gregorius and JT Realmuto, splashing on someone like George Springer, or hiring the best scouting department in the history of sports, John Middleton and the Philadelphia Phillies need to follow the Dodgers example. Money might not be able to buy happiness, but it can definitely buy world championships.