Tom Hicks is getting squeezed from every direction

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Liverpool FC.jpgAs you all are probably getting sick of me reminding you, Tom Hicks is busy trying to figure out a way to make the Hicks Sports Group’s creditors happy so that the Rangers sale to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan can go through. So he probably didn’t need this: The Royal Bank of Scotland — to which Hicks and his fellow Liverpool FC owners owe 100 million pounds — has given him until April 6th to pay back the money. Most people thought he had until at least July. Nope. He needs the dough now.

In the meantime, some New York investors known as the Rhone Group — who are obviously no dummies — have offered Hicks exactly 100 million pounds for a controlling interest in Liverpool FC. Assuming he accepts the offer within the next 20 days, that is.  According to this article, Hicks rejected offers of as much as 500 million pounds for that stake just two years ago, however, and it’s an open question what the EPL would think about a guy torpedoing franchise values so severely in one fell swoop, so it’s possible that they wouldn’t allow the bargain basement sale to the Rhone Group to even happen.

The baseball point? As Maury Brown has astutely reminded me, the real hiccup in the Rangers deal is not the creditors accepting anything new from Greenberg. It’s the creditors making their peace with Hicks (i.e. the man whose business ran up the debt). Specifically, Hicks needs to kick in more cash from his take of the sale, or else the creditors won’t sign off. Only now it seems that Hicks has to kick cash all over the place lest he lose his soccer team in a foreclosure proceeding or, at best, take a royal bath on his investment.

Can Hicks print money?  If he’s going to sell his baseball team and keep his soccer team, he’d better figure out how to.  Here’s some irresponsible advice for Hicks:  take the 100 million in cash, kick the dough into the Rangers sale, and when the Royal Bank of Scotland comes knocking on the door for their money pretend you don’t speak British.

You can have that one for free, Tom.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.