Skip to main content

MLB News: Frank McCourt, Dodgers, Royals, Cubs, Theo Epstein and More

The same morning last week's BOB report came out, it was announced that Frank McCourt had agreed to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers. While many people feel this is now the beginning of the end of the whole Dodgers' divorce saga, it'll still be interesting to see how this all plays out. By agreeing to sell the team under bankruptcy protection, McCourt might be able to twist the screws on Bud Selig one last time before he leaves the Lords of the Realm.

So let's paint a scenario. McCourt is going to put the team up for auction, and the package is going to include both Dodger Stadium and some of the surrounding parking lots. The price tag is expected to exceed $1 billion, so that in and of itself should weed out a lot of the pretenders.

The way this might be McCourt's last chance at sticking it to MLB is by allowing the team to go to a winner-takes-all auction. This means just about all of the owners who have been shut out by MLB because they didn't fit the owner mold can now throw their hats in the ring.

MLB probably will retain some control over the process, but it might not be able to get away with taking an inferior bid for an “approved” owner because McCourt could go to the courts and try to get the highest bid pushed through.

With that, we're seeing plenty of names bandied about as potential owners. Peter O'Malley, the former owner of the team, has shown some interest, and Mark Cuban has been mentioned, but he also has said the price was too high. I can't imagine the court is against the auction, so now we just have to get some dates set and go from there.

MLB, players union close to agreement

With the clock ticking on the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, it looks like just about everything has been decided except for one thing. Bud Selig and MLB appear to want forced slotting for the draft, and that would control signing bonuses for draftees. Everything else seems to be in order.

Currently, slotting and signing bonuses are recommended, but some teams have gone outside the system. I know one of the offenders in recent years has been the Detroit Tigers, but it would apply to any team that has a player fall to them because the teams above them want to pass on that player due to signability concerns. For now, though, a lot of the negotiations have stayed outside of the press, which is only a good thing. My guess is that we will see a new agreement soon.

Royals close to selling naming rights for Kauffman Stadium

The Kansas City Royals appear close to selling the naming rights to their current home, Kauffman Stadium. The park was named after the team's founder and, for now, all we know is that the company that's close to getting the rights is a bank. There's speculation that it's Arvest Bank, which has ties to Walmart, as does the Royals' CEO, David Glass, but for now we're just going to have to wait and see.

It's expected that the rights should get the team anywhere from $3-$6 million a year. It's interesting that the city also has the 2012 All Star Game, so I'm wondering if the timing of that came into play at all with Kansas City set to be on the national scene.

Cubs want Theo Epstein for more than World Series

Theo Epstein is the new president of the Chicago Cubs, and while many think he'll be the one to bring a World Series back to Cubs fans, his hiring also could have been for another reason. As Ben Strauss writes in his New York Times article, Epstein not only helped bring two championships to the Boston Red Sox, he also helped transform the venerable home of the Red Sox, Fenway Park, into a money machine.

Wrigley Field is in desperate need of an upgrade, but any time you're dealing with something historic and nostalgic, you have to do it right. Epstein seemed to walk that line pretty well when he was with Boston by making upgrades while keeping the general feel of Fenway the same. Now, one of his goals will be to do the same for Wrigley Field.

Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.

Get more great baseball stuff at The Hardball Times.


Popular Video