With the news of a couple of more free agent signings by the SSG Dodgers this week I thought this pre-spring training edition of 9 Innings should focus on the main topic of every off-season – free agent money – or more precisely just how much of it the Dodgers have and how they spent it compared to their NL West rivals. Here is this week’s 9 Innings: 1- The SSG Los Angeles Dodgers added to their already astronomical payroll this week by signing free agents Justin Verlander and Jonathan Schoop. Verlander inked a 3 year deal at $13 million per season while Schoop will have to get by on just $3.49 million per. With all of the money committed to salaries this season, will it be the year Los Angeles finally ends the SSG Colorado Rockies 4 year reign as NL West champions? 2- This off-season alone, the Dodgers committed nearly $200 million in salary to 6 free agents. Those deals include $125 million over 5 years for Anthony Rendon, $39 million to Verlander over 3 years, $13.96 million to Schoop over 4 years, $10.97 million over 3 seasons to pitcher Paul Blackburn, $6.6 million over 2 years to reliever Caleb Thielbar and $2.9 million over 2 years to pitcher Walker Lockett. 3- Colorado did add a couple of free agents in outfielder Marcell Ozuna and reliever Brandon Kintzler as well as resign their own free agent Wily Peratta. SSG San Francisco also dipped it’s feet in the free agent pool by resigning former Giant outfielder Michael Brantley to a 4 year, $61 million deal less than 6 months after trading him to Boston. 4- How about the Dodgers other two NL West rivals in the Diamondbacks and Padres? Neither has signed a single free agent to a major league contract thus far. SSG Arizona’s only acquisition was a rule V pickup while SSG San Diego did take on some extra salary with a trade to add 2B Scooter Gennett. 5- The Dodgers payroll has now grown to over $268 million. That’s $80 million more than the next highest team, the Toronto Blue Jays, who have a payroll of about $188 million. To put the Dodgers payroll into perspective they will be paying more this season in salary than the Brewers, Athletics, Padres, Diamondbacks and Marlins combined. 6- The Dodgers actually will have 5 players who each will be paid more money this year than the entire SSG Miami Marlins team. The Marlins have a $21 million payroll, or about $3 million less than Robinson Cano will make as the 5th highest paid Dodger. 7- It’s not like the Dodgers can’t afford the big salaries though. LA led the majors in attendance last year with over 3.6 million fans going through the turnstiles at Dodger Stadium. You can add baseball’s most lucrative tv contract to the Dodgers coffers as well. LA receives $130 million annually in media revenue. Only Detroit ($105 million), the Cubs and Red Sox ($100 million each) also hit the $100 million mark. At the other end of the spectrum you have the Dodgers NL West rival Arizona earning just $55 million in tv money, tied for the lowest total with Miami. 8- Despite the lofty payroll the Dodgers do not have the highest paid player in the game. That honor goes to Angels outfielder Mike Trout at $33.25 million this year. The Angeles also have the second highest paid player in MLB in Gerrit Cole, who’s $30 million dollar contract actually ties him with Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. 9- The NL West is a study in contrast with the Dodgers joined by Colorado (#4) and San Francisco (#9) at the top of the league in payroll while only Miami has less committed in salary for 2020 than the other two NL West clubs with San Diego and Arizona both just above $47 million each or $220 million less than the Dodgers, $130 million less than the Rockies and $103 million less than the Giants. Despite those glaring differences both the Padres and Diamondbacks finished ahead of San Francisco last season and the Padres were 10 games over .500. That might change this year as the Giants have lured their former General Manager Nathan Brooks back from Miami and he has been very busy in his first few days on the job, making a number of trades and signing several players to minor league tryout contracts including former Giant stars Hunter Pence and Brian Wilson.