Jamie McCourt accuses Frank of "blatant balance sheet manipulations"

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More fun from DodgerLand, as Jamie McCourt has filed new papers seeking adjustments in her monthly allowance. The highlight — at least from my perspective — is Jamie’s claim that Frank has way more money than he claims, and that he has grand, grand plans:

“Frank McCourt hopes to transform the Dodgers from a baseball team into
the anchor of a sports business empire that could include cable
television channels broadcast in English and Spanish; homes, shops and
a football stadium within the Dodger Stadium parking lots; and the
purchase of a soccer club in China and another in the English Premier
League.”

These smell less like concrete plans and more like every half-assed idea a husband mentions to his wife over a handful of years. If my wife was Jamie and I was Frank the list would include plans for the basement to become a rec-room, a home gym, a home theater and maybe, just maybe, to get cleaned up for once.  The article notes that a lot of those things have been discussed publicly, but in a world where Jamey Carroll is your big offseason pickup and Randy Wolf isn’t offered arbitration, some of those choices have to exclude the others, don’t they?

But man, if that football thing has even a kernal of truth to it, Frank McCourt should have the car keys taken away from him. I mean, if you think it’s hard to get to and park at Dodger Stadium now just plant a football stadium in the parking lot and see what happens.

Other highlights:

  • Jamie McCourt asked that her allowance be raised from her initial $488,000 request to $988,845 per
    month because of (a) property tax bills; and (b) records which show that the couple actually used to burn through $2.3 million. I couldn’t imagine how I’d spend $2.3 million a month even if money were edible;
  • In advance of the divorce filing Frank used “blatant balance sheet manipulations” in order to portray himself as less wealthy than he really is.  It’s a serious charge to be sure, but hey, he is a baseball owner and they have the market cornered on that kind of thing.
  • Frank McCourt currently resides in a “luxury hotel in Beverly Hills” and has spent $52,000 on clothes since November.  Given that the divorce papers revealed that the McCourts own approximately 326 pieces of real estate, I can only assume that he’s staying at the hotel while one of his houses gets renovated into a Quagmire-style bachelor pad. It would explain the clothing bill too, because a swingin’ bachelor needs nice threads.
  • Frank keeps two of his sons on the Dodgers’ payroll — at a combined annual
    salary of $600,000 — “despite the fact that one is a graduate student
    at Stanford and the other works full-time for Goldman Sachs.”  Eh, a grad student and an investment banker are more useful than Juan Pierre, and Frank kept him on the roster for way more money than that.

The trial to decide who owns the Dodgers is set for May 24th. The Dodgers are off that day before going on the road to play the Cubs, so it shouldn’t inconvenience anyone.

Eric Hosmer’s eight-year, $144 million contract isn’t that bad

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Late Saturday night, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres and first baseman Eric Hosmer agreed to an eight-year, $144 million contract, the new largest contract in club history. According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, the contract includes an opt-out after the fifth year. Further, Hosmer will average $21 million per year for those first five years and $13 million for the final three years, so it’s severely front-loaded.

Hosmer, 28, had a career year last season, playing in all 162 games while batting .318/.385/.498 with 25 home runs, 94 RBI, and 98 runs scored in 671 plate appearances. Per Baseball Reference, Hosmer accrued 4.0 Wins Above Replacement, only one of six first basemen to do so. At No. 6, he was 0.4 WAR behind Anthony Rizzo and 0.4 WAR ahead of Logan Morrison.

Wil Myers had previously told the Padres he would accept a position change if the club were to sign Hosmer. He will be moving to the outfield as a result. The Padres now have a logjam in the outfield, so Jose Pirela could move moved to the infield. How the Padres plan to handle that situation remains to be seen.

The general consensus about the Hosmer signing once news broke was that it is laughably bad. Back in November, Dave Cameron — ironically now in the Padres’ front office — called Hosmer a “free agent landmine.” That thought hasn’t really changed among many writers. For example, using restraint, Dennis Lin of The Athletic calls the deal “a big gamble.” MLB Network’s Brian Kenny said Hosmer has at least three “red flags.”

FanGraphs projects the Padres to finish 71-91, so adding Hosmer isn’t likely to transform the club into a contender on his own. That being said, the Padres’ payroll was only at $70 million prior to the Hosmer signing, so the contract won’t hamstring them going forward. If the young nucleus of players — including Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe — perform as expected, the Padres could be a threat in the NL West relatively soon with plenty of cheap, cost-controlled players and having some experienced veterans like Hosmer and Myers could be useful for their intangibles — pennant race/playoff experience, clubhouse presence, leadership, etc.

Hosmer has had three seasons of 3.5 WAR or more, according to Baseball Reference. He’s had four between -0.5 and 1.0. Now entering his age-28 season, it’s hardly a guarantee he’ll be an All-Star-caliber player in 2018, let alone in 2022 when he is 32 years old. From a strict dollars-to-WAR standpoint in a complete vacuum, one could’ve done better than Hosmer at eight years, $144 million.

The Padres, however, aren’t a small market team; they just operate like one. Forbes valued the club at $1.125 billion last April. The Padres don’t have the financial muscle of the Dodgers or Yankees, but paying Eric Hosmer $18 million on average for the first five years of his contract won’t come close to hurting the organization in any way, shape, or form. More importantly, signing Hosmer shows the rest of the team and the fans a commitment to being legitimate, bumping the payroll up towards $90 million. That now dwarfs teams like the large-market Phillies, who opened up spring training with just over $60 million in player obligations.

In the grand scheme of things, the Hosmer signing is also a good sign given the standstill in the free agent market. Many veteran players — even reliever Fernando Abad, who posted a 3.30 ERA last season — had to settle for minor league contracts instead of guaranteed major league deals. Many others, including the likes of Jake Arrieta and J.D. Martinez, remain unsigned. The rumor that Hosmer wanted more than seven years and close to $150 million was laughed at last month. Agent Scott Boras was still able to get his client the deal he wanted, which could bode well for those still teamless. Martinez’s patience may yet be rewarded like Hosmer’s was; money may once again start flowing in the free agent economy.

In summation, the Eric Hosmer contract is good if: you are Eric Hosmer, related to or a friend of Eric Hosmer, a teammate of Hosmer’s, Scott Boras, a current or soon-to-be free agent, a Padres fan, and a baseball fan in general. The Hosmer contract is bad if: you are a penny-pinching owner of a Major League Baseball team, or someone who cares more about $/WAR than an actual good product being put on the field.