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.

Gerrit Cole set to begin throwing program

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates sits in the dugout in the second inning during the game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on August 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.

The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.

The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.

The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.