You might be surprised by the Dodgers' Cinderella season, what with manager Don Mattingly's
the dismal, 196-193 record in June. With that kind of hardship, a 1-3 record against the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series is but a small hurdle to overcome.
But maybe you shouldn't be all that impressed. Because when it comes to getting what you pay for, the Dodgers pay for the best. According to ESPN, the team ranks up there with the mighty Yankees in payroll. That's nearly $220 million worth of fine Latino and Korean ballplayer on the field during the National League Championship Series.
A Dodgers spokesman told us the team doesn't confirm salary figures, but the website Cot's Baseball Contracts dug up what appears to be reasonable data mirrored by other reports. Here are the Dodgers' 10 richest ballers according to Cot's:
10. Ricky Nolasco. Yes, the Dodgers spend a lot on pitchers. They win games. Nolasco is a $11 million-plus per year right-hander. We like him because he's from the blue-collar, Inland Empire town of Rialto. And because he has a winning record so far with the Dodgers. Manager Don Mattingly put him on the mound as a starting pitcher during the NLCS.
9. Chad Billingsley. Here's one pitcher who's not in the running to become the Dodgers' Next Top Model. That's because he's recovering from Tommy John surgery. Lest you think that the Blue is wasting made money on pitchers who sit on ass, remember that pitching is absolute hell on the arms and shoulders of those who rock the fastball. We weren't really made to do that. In the case of Billingsley, the cost of bench warming is $11 million a year and rising.
8. Andre Ethier. A fan fave, this Phoenix-bred player got his start in, yes, community college. And when he took his bat to Arizona State, coaches told him he didn't have what it takes. He's a true underdog's hero. As an outfielder he's making more than $13 million a year but will eventually be bumped up to $18 mil under his contract. Baller bonus points: He's married to a former Arizona State gymnast. And he's half-Mexican, like all good ballplayers (Ted Williams!) and/or journalists.
7. Hanley Ramirez. This Dominican shortstop should get a raise. He's playing in the NLCS despite a hairline fracture in his eighth rib. His annual take for this 2006 National League Rookie of the Year is about $15 million these days. He was a National League All Star in 2008 and came to the Dodgers only two summers ago. Baller bonus: He DJs.
6. Michael Young. This infielder is a five-time All Star and, more importantly, a Southern California boy who went to high school in the San Gabriel Valley and attended college at UC Santa Barbara. His take home is about $16 million a year with $15 million deferred under his contract. Extra credit: He's also half-Mexican. Orale.
5. Josh Beckett. The Dodgers obtained this right-handed pitcher in a "blockbuster" trade with Boston that also sent Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto. What a deal? It wasn't cheap. Beckett is getting nearly $16 million a year. And the pitcher is out for the postseason with an injury that could be serious, as in career-ending serious.
4. Zack Greinke. Yes, another pitcher makes the list. Yay. Greinke pitched for those American League, O.C. losers down south, the Angels, so his inclusion as a top-paid Dodger is extra sweet. His take this year is said to be about $17 million, but it will balloon to $24 million next year, making him one of the highest-paid boys in blue. Extra baller credit: Greinke is married to a former Miss Daytona Beach.
3. Matt Kemp. This outfielder, another fan favorite, is not on the postseason roster as a result of injury. And he's yet another $20 million man. So you can see how this baseball business can add up. Kemp, who has spent his whole major league career with the Dodgers, gets extra baller credit for dating Rihanna a few years back.
2. Carl Crawford. This left-handed left fielder is making about $20 million a year. Worth it? He has hit more triples than anyone else in Major League Baseball. He's been a six-homer key player despite a hamstring injury this season, too.
And the Dodgers' richest player (according to salary) is ...
1. Adrian Gonzalez. The first baseman from San Diego makes more than $21 million a year, enough for he and his wife to bankroll the nonprofit Adrian and Betsy Gonzalez Foundation for underprivileged youth. The organization recently rebuilt a kids' ballpark in Tijuana. How's that for bling?
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Sorry folks: Clayton Kershaw (number 11 with about $11 million a year), Yasiel Puig (about $2 million) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (about $2.5 million) didn't make the top 10. They're still relatively new. Give them time.
The top players for the Cardinals, by the way, include Matt Holliday (about $17 million a year), Yadier Molina ($14 million) and Carlos Beltran ($13 million).
We'll see if money can buy victory.