Dear Stan Kasten,
Thank you for the form letter I received today thanking me for my support of the Los Angeles Dodgers and detailing the renewal information for my season tickets. As a 2012 season-ticket holder, please allow me a few words for whoever reads this letter in lieu of you.
Ownership’s supposed level of commitment to winning in 2013 is built upon a troubling organizational decision to both take on and award enormous long-term contracts to players who are over the age of 30. Not only this, but the quality of talent sure to take the field in 2013 and beyond has been experiencing a noticeable decline in performance over the past few years.
Carl Crawford will cost $100 million over the next five years and he was so terrible/injured the past two years the Red Sox were willing to give up Adrian Gonzalez to rid themselves of his contract. Hanley Ramirez is perhaps the worst defensive shortstop in baseball. He also produced an OBP that was barely above the NL average. He’s not the player he was in 2009, and he isn’t worth $31.5 million over the next two years.
Andre Ethier is a solid player, but he will be 31 at the start of next year and cost the franchise $82.5 million through 2017. His decline in power and productivity since 2009 is troublesome enough without the burden of a ridiculous contract. Similarly, Adrian Gonzalez is a good player, but his home run production has been on the decline since 2009 and his OPS last season was the worst ever in his career by a large margin. He’ll be 32 next year. The steroid era is over, which means players don’t get better as they head into their mid-to-late 30’s, so his $106 million through 2018 seems excessive to say the least.
Matt Kemp is great but costs $148 million. Kershaw’s next deal will be in excess of $100 million. Josh Becket will be 33 and is clearly overpriced at over $15 million per season. Mark Ellis is past his prime and will be 36 in 2013. A.J. Ellis was great last year but will be 32 in 2013. Aaron Harang will be 35. Capuano is 34. Ted Lilly will be 37 and cost $12 million. The team is old and most of the players are getting demonstrably worse. Costly long-term contracts to aging players on the decline won’t just hurt the team’s win/loss record in the short run, but also make trades/improvements difficult. Ownership’s ‘commitment to winning’ is more likely to bury the team for years to come than produce a championship-quality team.
Worse, I had to watch Mattingly bat Dee Gordon and Shane Victorino leadoff for most of the 2012 season. Stan, I’m begging you – flat out begging you – to sit Mattingly down and explain to him the concept of on-base percentage and why it’s important.
There is talent on the field and there are still dodger dogs, so all of this might be more tolerable had you not raised the cost of my season tickets by 25% for the 2013 season. It’s not quite enough to make me miss the previous owner, but jacking up my ticket prices in your first full season with the team represents a fine McCourt-like sensibility, so perhaps you’re well on your way to bankrupting the team and allowing fans to be assaulted in the parking lot.