Report: Ex-Agent Dennis Gilbert expected to buy the Rangers

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I’ve been hearing that the winning bidder for the Rangers is going to be announced this week. Today SI’s Jon Heyman reports that a front runner has emerged:

Former baseball superagent Dennis Gilbert and his ownership group
have emerged in recent days as the surprise frontrunner to buy the Texas Rangers SI has learned. The
deal is not believed finalized yet, but the winning bid is expected to
be “north of $500 million,” according to people familiar with the
talks.

Gilbert used to represent Barry Bonds, George Brett and Jose Canseco. He’s a Beverly Hills  estate planner and insurance man by trade. His website claims that he “revolutionized the sport of baseball through developing the free agent system.”  I’m guessing that Marvin Miller, Curt Flood, Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally would be curious to know that. Murray Chass has a pretty good takedown of the claim. Murray also notes that Gilbert is a former assistant to and good friend of White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and if you know anything about how ownership politics works in baseball, you know that being one of Jerry’s boys makes you one of Bud Selig’s boys, and that puts you at the front of any line you wanna be in.

Anyway, it certainly will be interesting for the guy who claims to have invented the very institution that has led to such high player salaries to show up at the owners’ meetings this winter. They’d probably greet him with a beating from a bag of doorknobs.  It will also be interesting to see a well-heeled Beverly Hills businessman to take over a Dallas sports team.  Think he’s gonna make a lot of home games?

Giants closer Mark Melancon is heading to the disabled list once again

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The Giants have placed closer Mark Melancon on the 10-day disabled list with a right pronator strain.

This is the same injury that sent him to the disabled list last month. He came back from that quickly, but it can’t be great that this is happening again. You have to assume he’ll miss more time given the recurrence of trouble. He’s going to get an MRI too. Sam Dyson is expected to serve as the Giants’ closer while Melancon is sidelined.

Melancon has a 4.35 ERA and 11 saves in 22 appearances this year. He signed a four-year, $62 million deal with San Francisco last December.

The Cubs visited the White House. Again.

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Last January, the World Champion Chicago Cubs visited the White House. It was a bit unorthodox, as World Series winners typically wait until the following summer and make the trip during a road series in Washington or Baltimore.

They did it, however, because when the Cubs won the Series, then-President Obama asked the Cubs to visit before he left office. He’s a White Sox fan but a Chicago guy and said he was rooting for the Cubs. So the Cubs visited.

Today they’re back again. It’s been characterized as an “informal” visit. No suits and ties or big official photo-ops in front of the White House. It was even unclear until this afternoon if they’d even meet with President Trump. The visit was inspired in part by Maddon’s longtime friend, U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta, and partially by the Ricketts family’s ties to the Trump administration. The Ricketts are significant Republican donors and one of the Cubs’ co-owners, Todd Ricketts, is Trump’s deputy commerce secretary.

So to the White House the Cubs went. At least some of them. Many decided not to go for a number of reasons, ranging from “no-comment” to game preparation considerations (the visit just happened, much later in the day than usual White House visits). At least one vocal Trump supporter, Jake Arrieta, did not go. Another, John Lackey, did go, but declined to give any comment on it, expressing concern that his quote would be used for political purposes. I’ve yet to see anyone say they weren’t going specifically because they do not support Trump, though I presume some felt that way. The man isn’t exactly popular at the moment.

Nevertheless, the political overtones of all of this are hard to ignore. The Cubs already had their official White House visit, so a second one has to mean something, right? Teams don’t just get invited to the White House whenever they happen to be passing through town. Some of this is probably about the Trump administration smarting a bit over Obama swooping in for that visit in January. Some of it is probably about the Ricketts family either wanting to send the team for a non-Obama visit, to do a favor for Trump or some combination of those things.

Joe Maddon was defensive about it all yesterday, saying it wasn’t political. Trump obviously didn’t hear him as he used the time when the Cubs were standing next to him for photos to take questions about the health care legislation and slag on Obamacare:

Maybe Maddon and the Cubs wanted to keep out of politics, but politics makes no such agreement with anyone.