Record: 8-7-3. Change on 2013: +2.
Almost spot-on, it would appear. If we assume major-league minimum for Chone Figgins and Dee Gordon, this is how they stacked up:
- Yasiel Puig - $3,714,286
- Carl Crawford - $21,107,143
- Hanley Ramirez - $16,000,000
- Adrian Gonzalez - $21,857,143
- Andre Ethier - $15,500,000
- Chone Figgins - $500,000
- A.J. Ellis - $3,550,000
- Dee Gordon - $500,000
- Zack Greinke - $26,000,000
If you're playing along at home, that's a total payroll in 2014 for the Los Angeles Dodgers starting line-up this afternoon, of $108,728,572. The D-backs' nine? The only one not on the minimum or a minor-league contract was Cliff Pennington, at $3.25 million. Assuming everyone else is at the $500K level, that's a total payroll in 2014 for the Arizona Diamondbacks starting line-up this afternoon, of $7,250,000: short of Los Angeles by $101,478,572. Put another way, five individual Dodgers earned more than twice as much as our entire line-up. And it could have been worse still, but for Matt Kemp and his $21.25 million cost being on the disabled list.
So, no chance for starting pitcher Mike Lee and the selection of fringe players and Reno roster filler. Might as well give up and go home. It certainly looked that way after the first inning, as Lee retired the first two Dodgers, but then took four attempts to get the third, including a two-run double to Andre Ethier. But then Andy Marte homered off Zack Greinke to lead off the second inning and by the time it was over, Greinke was done, and had been tagged for two more, allowing three runs on six hits in two innings. A four-run fifth for the D-backs blew the game open, and they added two more in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Lee and fellow... Well, let's be honest, no-name, Cesar Carillo, settled down, blanking a close to full strength Los Angeles line-up for the next five innings. Each worked three innings and allowed three hits and a walk. With the game put away and a seven-run lead, the Dodgers pretty much gave up. Ryan Rowland-Smith, Joe Paterson and Jess Todd completed the rout with a trio of hitless innings, a walk by Paterson being the only base-runner they allowed over the last three frames.
Sure, it's meaningless spring training, and I'm sure Los Angeles will come with some kind of excuse involving that. But you could hardly have scripted a better psychological boost for the Diamondbacks, in their last pre-season encounter with the Dodgers. Pennington was just about the only Arizona player we saw all afternoon who is assured of a roster spot, and yet, they handily defeated a team many regard as being the World Series favorites. It's one of the joys of baseball, perhaps, that you never know. Pennington and Didi Gregorius each had three hits, Shelley Duncan two hits, and Tony Campana a hit, a walk and a pair of stolen bases.
A brief pause, then we see if the A-squad can do as well against their opponents tonight at Salt River. Wade Miley starts that one for the Diamondbacks, just after 7pm.