I get the shakes if I don’t write something about the Rangers sale for more than 48 hours or so and right now I’m jonesin’ hard, so I’ll even settle for linking to Heyman:
The snag in the Texas Rangers’ sale talks appears fairly serious. Two
sources say they believe the banks are looking for $50 million more.
They are unlikely to cut Rangers owner Tom Hicks any slack,
either, as he’s been slow to pay back his debts. One possibility if this
deal falls through might be to auction off the team.
This comes in a notes column and doesn’t have much more context than that so it’s hard to say if Heyman has heard something new or just going off of the reports from early last week about the latest creditor objections. Either way, his reference to an auction of the team is something I’ve never seen anyone say before.
And while it’s a possibility, it doesn’t strike me as a realistic possibility. If someone involved in the current negotiations decides that a total impasse has been reached aren’t there less-intrusive options? For one thing, Greenberg-Ryan could simply go back to the drawing board with a new proposal that bypasses Hicks in some important way or otherwise makes the creditors happy in ways that Hicks can’t seem to now. Also, might it not be possible for the guys who were interested before — Jim Crane or Dennis Gilbert — to get back into this thing? Reports had each of them with some important advantages back in December, with some people saying that Crane’s offer was the richest and others saying that Gilbert was favored by Major League Baseball.
All of that is speculation, of course — I have no idea if Crane or Gilbert are even interested any more or if there’s some procedural reason why Greenberg and Ryan couldn’t simply start over — but those options all seem more likely and less disastrous for all involved than some auction or bankruptcy gambit that the creditors have been barking about in recent weeks.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.