GREINKE TO DODGERS

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ assault on the luxury tax continued on Saturday when the club came to an agreement with RHP Zack Greinke on a 6yr/$147M contract. Greinke now joins fellow Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw at the front of the Dodgers’ rotation and is the latest in a dizzying string of high-profile acquisitions for the LA franchise since the mid-season ownership change earlier this year.

Greinke brings an impressive resume that includes a great strikeout/walk ratio and consistent reliability with workhorse numbers in innings pitched. The payday is equally impressive, as Greinke now has the 2nd-biggest contract for a pitcher, trailing only C.C. Sabathia’s 7yr/$161M pact with the Yankees.

And, speaking of the Yankees, it is well-known that the Bombers are working on getting the club out of Luxury Tax Hell by getting the payroll down below next year’s threshold of $189M. Doing so would turn back the compounded level of penalty that the team is currently under, as a multiple offender, to first-time status. A significantly lower penalty rate.

So the Yankees are cutting costs, in a way. Fear not, sports business fans. While even the Yankees are not immune to the recession, the Dodgers are stepping up in such a way that they may set the bar somewhere that the Steinbrenners hadn’t even thought of yet. The spending spree that LA is on may require that the Yankees, once they get back into spending mode, acquire whole teams. Or at least entire pitching rotations or intact infields.

Scott Miller column on CBSSports.com
Jeff Passan column on Yahoo! Sports
Tim Brown column on Yahoo! Sports