The Los Angeles Dodgers are baseball's answer to the question: "What if Manchester United were one of the smartest clubs in the world?"
In 2014, the Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman, something of a Billy Beane 2.0, away from the Tampa Bay Rays, something of an Oakland A's 2.0, to be their president of baseball operations. Friedman helped build a Rays team that made the World Series in 2008 and consistently featured in the playoffs despite running one of the lowest payrolls in the league.
The Dodgers hadn't won a World Series since 1988, but they lured Friedman away by making him the highest-paid executive in the sport -- and then giving him a ton of money to spend. Over the past eight years, Los Angeles has built up one of the league's biggest analytics departments, created one of baseball's top farm systems, developed an impressive track record of improving flawed players, and spent as much money on salaries as just about any other team. They finally won it all in 2020, and they're pretty much the favorites to win the World Series every season at this point. That trend doesn't seem likely to change any time soon, either: They began the current season with a league-record $310.6 million payroll and still have one of the league's five-best collections of prospects, according to MLB.com.
That all probably sounds pretty good to Chelsea fans, but at least for now, the Premier League club's new owner, Todd Boehly, hasn't hired another Friedman to overhaul the latest sports team in his ownership portfolio. No, he's currently serving as his own Friedman. In the same statement detailing the departure of longtime director Marina Granovskaia last week, the club announced that Boehly would be its interim sporting director.
A handful of early reports suggest that Boehly wants to exploit a mechanism that his baseball team frequently uses but soccer teams almost never do: player trades. All of which raises a question that perhaps even Boehly himself is wondering: Why don't Premier League clubs trade their players more often?