The biggest reason the sale of the Texas Rangers still hasn’t gone final is because the team’s creditors are angry that all kinds of cash is coming off the top of the deal to go to Tom Hicks and others, leaving less for them. One of the “others,” SBJ reports today, is a deferred compensation fund that the Rangers are required to maintain pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Yeah, they’ve been defaulting on that:
The Texas Rangers have been
in violation of baseball’s collective-bargaining agreement since at least last
season for failing to pay $39.55 million into a deferred compensation fund,
according to a letter sent on Oct. 22, 2009, by MLB executive vice president
Rob Manfred to the bidders for the ballclub. The MLBPA is aware of the
situation, Manfred wrote in the letter, and the union’s executive director,
Michael Weiner confirmed, in response to SportsBusiness Journal questions.
Weiner confirms that the team has not yet defaulted on any specific deferred compensation obligation (i.e. all players who have such arrangements have gotten all of their checks) but a violation is a violation, and if and when Chuck Greenberg gets the team, he’s going to have to replenish that fund with a cash payment.
There’s that word again. “Cash.” The thing that some have reported this deal is short on. The thing that is still keeping the creditors from signing off on the sale. You read stuff like this and you can’t help but wonder whether Greenberg has enough on the table right now.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.