MLB is concerned about Greenberg group's funding in the Texas Rangers bid

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UPDATE:  I received a call from someone with the Greenberg group. They couldn’t explicitly comment because of confidentiality agreements, but they deny the report that there is anything amiss with financing and say that everything is going just fine.

Fair enough. The way it breaks down right now, however, is that I have a source I trust and who has no dog in the hunt telling me that there are issues with the financing. I have a party with an undeniable interest in the matter telling me that all is hunky dory.  Absent anything new, I am going to stick with the report as it currently stands.  Greenberg has a window to negotiate. If he has a deal at the end of all of this, we’ll know that, ultimately, there weren’t any problems (or at least the problems were overcome).  If it falls through, we’ll know differently.

3:02 P.M.: A source is telling me that that the Chuck Greenberg/Nolan Ryan group’s bid for the Rangers is in trouble.  Money trouble, specifically, as in they’re having problems putting financing together and it has Major League Baseball concerned that the bid may not be viable. Tom Hicks — who stands to be a minority stakeholder in the Greenberg group and desperately needs to sell the team to save his Hicks Sports Group — is freaking out.

You’ll recall that Greenberg’s group beat out the MLB-favored bid led by former agent Dennis Gilbert and the reportedly highest bid by Houston businessman Jim Crane. What they won was an exclusive negotiating window.  It may have been the Hicks/Nolan Ryan factor more than the merits of the bid that won the day, however, because even before this report there were whispers that Greenberg, while a great minor league operator, may not have the financial wherewithal to pull this off.

If the Greenberg bid falls through, it’s back to square one.  Specifically, it would mean that the Rangers would be left with Gilbert, for whom Nolan Ryan said he would not work, and Crane, who everyone who matters in Major League baseball hates because he reneged on a previous bid for a team (UPDATE: Apparently hatchets, to the extent they ever were wielded along these lines have been buried. I missed this over the weekend. Apologies).

Merry Christmas Rangers fans!

Report: Phillies want a top-five prospect for Jeremy Hellickson

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 20: Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the second inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on July 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.

Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.

ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.

Video: Matt Cain launches a three-run home run

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 26: Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants hits a three run home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning at AT&T Park on July 26, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.

Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.

It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.

On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.