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!
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.
The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.
While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.