There is an adage that you "never argue with anyone who buys ink by the barrel." The digital era has sure added a galaxy's worth of context and added weight to that expression.
On Tuesday, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted out some simple facts and figures to illustrate how dominant the Los Angeles Dodgers have been over their last 62 games.
The first thing anyone has to wonder—why would anyone argue that the Dodgers (the first team to 90 wins before September has even started) are elite? The answer is fairly simple. It's the internet. The first comment was inevitably related to the Dodgers payroll, since paying for your players is bad, or something.
Regular readers know I am a Dodger fan, so let's just acknowledge that to move forward. The first thing I think when I read this preposterous comment is "please, Buster, comment on the fact that many of the Dodgers are homegrown talents."
Every single name in Olney's tweet is a homegrown Dodgers player. The fact of the matter is that the Dodgers are elite at drafting and developing. Drafting talent can often seem random. Scouts and experts see a lot of talented ball players every year. The Dodgers are elite at developing their players into MLB-ready players.
The Payroll Argument
Imagine an arguing that the Dodgers are so good because they spend money. Let's address the argument by dispelling the notion that other teams are too broke to spend more money. There is not a single team in Major League Baseball that cannot afford to spend considerably more on their payrolls. If the issue is that they cannot extend good contracts to their homegrown payrolls because their players are not very good—never mind I drove this argument into the ground. It's a ridiculous assertion.
We can save the part of the conversation about rookie contracts for another time. The fact is, if other teams drafted and developed as well as the Dodgers, they would be a lot better. The Dodgers paying for players like Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman is something any team can do. Mookie Betts also came to the Dodgers in a trade. Why did the Boston Red Sox trade him to the Dodgers? Was there some conspiracy? No. It is because the Dodgers (saying this one more time) draft well, develop well, and had the best prospects to trade with.
If anyone has more silly assertions about payroll, send it to the front office of your favorite team and ask them to talk to their owners about it.