That’s what Dodgers minority owner Magic Johnson wants for his team. And, well, like it or not, pressure is what LA can expect with a payroll that is expected to surpass $210 million this season.
Ten players are scheduled to make $10 million this season, including former Royals pitcher Zack Greinke, who signed a six-year, $147 million deal in December.
At a Dodgers news conference introducing Greinke, Magic harkened back to his playing days in the NBA.
“We hope the players enjoy the pressure,” Johnson said. “When I was with the Lakers, we knew every year the bull’s-eye was on us. But we loved it.”
The players may feel less pressure than manager Don Mattingly. If the Dodgers fail to make the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season, Mattingly could be on the hot seat. He’s used to that, having played and coached in New York.
The Dodgers have supplanted the Yankees as baseball’s free-spenders, so that pressure has followed Mattingly.
“It’s tough to win. It’s tough to win the whole thing,” Mattingly told reporters at the winter meetings.
“It is the feeling that you get in New York when basically coaching. Playing, it wasn’t like that, but coaching it was pretty much like that. The payroll was huge. And it was like, if you didn’t win it all, you had a bad year. That’s kind of tough to live in. I don’t think we can think like that.”
Mattingly and the Dodgers may not have any choice.