The two teams often at the top of the salary spending and free agency signings in terms of money spent are the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. Each, in their own way, made it through this offseason trying to improve their rosters in other ways, or at least seem less eager to throw dollars at every possible free agency target.
As someone said on a comment thread regarding offseason spending: It’s unamerican to see the Yankees spend $0 on free agents. That might now with Greg Bird out for the season and the team needing some depth at first base, but they’ll try to either solve it from within or through a trade. It’s unlikely they’ll sign someone who expects regular at-bats, with Mark Teixeira starting at that spot. Maybe Juan Uribe, but his demands so far this offseason make it seem unlikely.
What have the Yankees done this offseason? Traded. They moved Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan to the Chicago Cubs for Starlin Castro and their big move was sending four prospects to the trade-happy Cincinnati Reds in order to acquire Aroldis Chapman, maybe the best closer in baseball right now. They’ve improved their aging lineup with Castro and solidified what now may be the best three-man relief crew in Major League baseball without actually making the big signings we’ve gotten used to seeing from the Yankees, who believe that last season is enough to build on without making some major changes to the team.
It’s hard to say the Dodgers are reformed when they’ve put up $141.3 million in guaranteed money on 7 free agency signings, most of it to Scott Kazmir on a three-year deal worth $48 million and Kenta Maeda with $25 million over eight years, but has a potential to make $10 million more each season through incentives. But they averaged $8.3 million per season on these contracts, which is 12th in baseball in terms of annual average value of these deals, not exactly what you expect from a team notorious of going after every possible free agent in the market.
While the Dodgers didn’t want to let Zack Greinke go, they weren’t about to match what the Arizona Diamondbacks gave him:; $206.5 million over six years. One of the targets set for this offseason was to lower the salary cap and eat away at the massive spending that might be getting them into the playoffs, but hasn’t been winning them a championship despite becoming the biggest spenders in baseball. They reloaded nicely in terms of starting pitchers (might be a bit overloaded there), but remain weak when it comes to relief pitching, hoping that the quality in their lineup and rotation makes up for that.
Not that the Dodgers aren’t looking to add players. They’re looking for someone to pick up some of Andre Ethier’s contract, mostly dealing with the Chicago White Sox in that aspect. They acquired some prospects in a Dodgers-White Sox-Reds trade earlier in the offseason that could be of use to them when they do try to be more aggressive about a relief pitcher but for now, they seem set with what they have, hoping that this time, with a new manager running things, it leads them to the World Series.