What would you do with $100 million?
The Dodgers' payroll-driven trade Saturday — in which they exchanged players with troublesome contracts for a player they might never activate — was designed primarily to free them from paying the luxury tax next year.
The team was assessed a $36.2-million tax this year, based on a season-ending payroll of $253.6 million, according to a person speaking on condition of anonymity because those numbers have not been disclosed publicly.
If the Dodgers can get that payroll below $197 million next year — as has long been their plan — they would pay no tax. Add that savings to the reported $50 million that each team is expected to receive from the sale of the league's technology arm to the Walt Disney Co., and the Dodgers could have close to $100 million to save for a shopping spree next winter.
The Dodgers run a disciplined business, focused on sustained winning through depth and player development rather than star power, wary of investing too much money into too few players who get too old toward the end of their contracts. On the other hand, as cable and satellite companies continue to lose customers, the Dodgers' record-setting television contract might make them one of the few teams able to count on cable dollars for long enough to set the market next winter.
A look at the big three in next winter's projected free-agent class, and some of a talented supporting cast (ages as of opening day 2019):
Manny Machado, SS/3B (26): Machado and Harper are the twin prizes next winter, with each player arriving at free agency so young that he could be expected to be productive for the life of a 10-year contract. Machado offers durability (he has missed 11 games over the last three seasons) and power (105 home runs over the last three seasons) at premium positions, but he reportedly prefers to play shortstop, where the Dodgers can get both from Corey Seager, who will open the 2019 season at age 24.
OTHER PLAYERS ELIGIBLE FOR FREE AGENCY IN 2018
Relief pitchers: Cody Allen (30), Zach Britton (31),
*Price can opt out of his contract with the