The McCourt Divorce could kill the Dodgers in the short term

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Recently-fired Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt filed for divorce from Dodger
owner Frank McCourt yesterday. Or I should say alleged Dodger co-owner
Jamie McCourt filed for divorce from alleged Dodger co-owner Frank
McCourt, because ownership of the Dodgers is clearly the big deal here.
If you’re into this sort of thing you can read the papers in their entirety here.

If that’s too long for you — and at 137 pages, it just may be — you can read the still-too-long breakdown I did of it over at my other blog last night. That’s probably still too much to read too, but the World Series doesn’t start until later tonight, so you’ve got some time to skim if you’re interested. In the meantime, some general observations based on the divorce filing:

First, it’s impossible to say who’s right and who’s wrong based on reading a single filing in a massive lawsuit, but if even a portion of the allegations regarding how Frank McCourt pushed Jamie McCourt out after they seemed to have built their financial fortunes together over 30 years are true, Jamie is going to walk away from this with half the Dodgers, which could either force the team’s sale, or force Frank to buy her out and run the team on a shoestring. Or, now that I come to think of it, force Jamie to buy Frank out and run the team on a shoestring.

Which of those things will happen? Well, according to Jamie, the McCourts are worth $1.2 billion, with $800 million of that worth being the value of the Dodgers. Assuming for a minute that those numbers are accurate, and assuming that Jamie is found to be the co-owner of the team as of right now, whoever walks away from the ownership in the divorce will have to either (a) pay the other all of their remaining total assets; or (b) go into hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. That suggests sale to me, though I’m sure there are some other creative options I’m not considering at the moment.  All of the options, however, would lead to ownership upheaval in some form or another.

The second observation is that, based on Jamie McCourt’s description of the Dodgers’ owners’ lifestyle — constant private jet travel at $12K an hour, hotel rooms which never cost under $1000 a night,  six dinners out a week at $400+ a pop, etc. etc. — I’m going to get medieval on anyone who suggests the players are the greedy ones who make
too much money to play a kid’s game.  No player in the game lives anything close to a lifestyle as opulent as the current Dodgers owners do, and I’m certain that all of them work just as hard at what they do as the McCourts do for their money. Everyone in the game is pretty rich, people, and it’s a business. Nothing makes that more clear than the details Jamie McCourt provides regarding the inner workings of the Dodgers here.

Oh, one final observation: don’t ever, ever, ever get married.

Report: Rays having “advanced talks” with free agent reliever Tommy Hunter

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.

Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.

Pirates sign left-hander Cory Luebke

Cory Luebke Getty
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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Eric O'Flaherty wasn’t the only reclamation project added by the Pirates today, as the club also announced that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Luebke once looked like a solid rotation piece for the Padres, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since April 27, 2012. He’s undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries since. Now 30 years old, he logged seven innings in the minors last season before requiring a procedure to remove loose bodies around a nerve in his forearm. The Padres cut ties with him in November after declining a $7.5 million club option for 2016.

It’s hard to count on much from Luebke at this point, but he told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he feels healthy and hopes to compete for a bullpen job in the spring.

White Sox reportedly considering Ian Desmond

Ian Desmond
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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Many have speculated on a potential match between the White Sox and Ian Desmond this winter, but we haven’t heard much in the way of legitimate interest. That could be changing with spring training right around the corner, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Chicago is among the teams considering the free agent shortstop.

After turning the page on Alexei Ramirez this offseason, the White Sox currently have Tyler Saladino in line to serve as their starting shortstop in 2016. The 26-year-old is considered a strong defender, but he batted .225/.267/.335 with four homers over 254 plate appearances as a rookie in 2015. Desmond is coming off a nightmare of a walk year and has seen his strikeout rate climb by 8.5 percent since 2012, but he possesses more offensive upside and it’s not hard to imagine a bounceback campaign while calling U.S. Cellular Field home.

Similar to fellow free agents Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler, Desmond is attached to draft pick compensation after turning down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals. It’s a big reason why a potential deal with the Rays is reported to be a “long shot.” Chicago’s No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft is protected, so they would give up their No. 28 overall pick if they sign a qualifying offer free agent like Desmond.

Pirates sign reliever Eric O’Flaherty

Eric O'Flaherty
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Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.

O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.

It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.