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Dodgers taking up Yankees' mantle as biggest spender

By December 10, 2012

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The Los Angeles Dodgers' thrifty days are a long over.

The team's new ownership group is spending their lucrative TV deal in a big way, first with the trade for Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford last summer, and now with the Zack Greinke, the consensus best pitcher on the free agent market this offseason.

The deal is for six years and $147 million, the largest contract ever given to a right-handed pitcher. A year after Albert Pujols signed his historic contract with the Los Angeles Angels, he became the second-highest paid player in Southern California.

Greinke's deal will pay him an average of $24.5 million per season, which is $500,000 more than the average salary Pujols will collect for the next nine seasons. Don't feel to bad for Pujols, however. He'll be paid at least through 2021. Greinke's contract will run out after 2019.

He wasn't the only pitcher the Dodgers signed, either. Left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin agreed to a six-year, $36 million contract with the Dodgers. The 25-year-old was 98-52 with a 2.80 ERA and had five strikeout titles in Korea. He's expected to be a part of a rotation that also includes 2011 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and perhaps Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly or Chris Capuano. That's a deep group.

And the Dodgers are also sinking $100 million into Dodger Stadium renovations. And if Greinke is worth $24.5 million per season, Clayton Kershaw should get even more when his contract expires. He can be a free agent after the 2014 season, but you can bet the Dodgers will try to lock him up before then.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are also spending $100 million in renovations to Dodger Stadium.

The New York Yankees wish to cut their salaries below $200 million this offseason, and they've had the biggest MLB payroll in every season since 1999. The Dodgers might just pass them, and very soon.

As T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times wrote,"Just think if Frank & Jamie had decided not to get divorced. Do we have a chauffeur to thank for all this?"

Largest contracts in baseball history, by total and average value

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