For eleven days beginning on December 18, Qualcomm Stadium, football home of the San Diego Chargers and San Diego State Aztecs, will carry a temporary new moniker: Snapdragon Stadium. Snapdragon processors by Qualcomm are the digital brains inside mobile devices made by top manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Nokia, and HTC. Snapdragon Stadium will host the Chargers-Ravens game on December 18, the Poinsettia Bowl on December 21, and the Holiday Bowl on December 28.
The Los Angeles Dodgers at their core are strong, with a duo as strong as any team in baseball. Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw had magnificent seasons in 2011, but it wasn't quite enough as the team won just 82 games and had to rally to reach .500 with a strong finish to the season.
The good news for the Dodgers is that Kemp and Kershaw will be around for quite some time. Kemp signed an eight-year, $160 million extension through the 2019 season to remain in Los Angeles and while Kershaw hasn't yet been extended you can bet that locking up Kershaw long-term is on the top of the priority list of the new owner.
The bad news for the Dodgers is that at least for the next two years the surrounding core looks to be a combination of declining production and increasing cost. There are 10 Dodgers signed through at least 2013, including six players signed this offseason. The difference in their 2012 and 2013 salaries is stark.
|Player||2011 WAR*||2012 Age||2012 Salary||2013 Salary|
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||1.45||36||$2,250,000||$3,750,000|
|Tony Gwynn Jr.||1.15||29||$850,000||$1,150,000|
|*WAR was an average of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference|
If you remove Kemp, the Dodgers will pay nine players who produced 10 total Wins Above Replacement in 2011 and will average 33 years old in 2012 a total of $45.35 million next year and $59.4 million the year after that. It's the main reason the Dodgers' 2013 payroll is already estimated to be roughly $107 million and that's without a first baseman or a right fielder.
We don't know what the new owner will do, or whether any new television contract would begin before the current one expires after 2013. What we do know is outside of the core of Kemp and Kershaw, the rest of the Dodgers will need to greatly improve if the Dodgers are going to contend in 2012 or 2013.
Want a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket powered by Qualcomm's revolutionary Snapdragon multiprocessor? Just leave a comment on this post with who you think the team's core player is and why he's so important to their success. Vox Media will select one winner from among the participating SB Nation blogs. All entries subject to the official rules found here.