MLB is pushing Hicks' creditors to sign-off on the Rangers sale

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Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram reports that MLB is stepping in to the Tom Hicks-HSG Creditors dispute in an effort to get the Rangers sale locked down:

The last obstacle delaying the sale of the Texas Rangers could be
cleared this week, thanks to an assist from Major League Baseball. Sources
confirmed that the lenders who hold $525 million in Hicks Sports
Group debt were sent a request from MLB to reach a settlement with HSG by the end of the week.
agreement would allow the deal in place with Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan to move forward toward final approval from baseball’s club

Look, I know I’ve been critical and pessimistic about this deal for a long time, but believe me when I say that I don’t mean to be pessimistic when I ask why a request from Major League Baseball to the creditors would constitute “an assist” that could make this get put to bed any faster than it otherwise would.  If it were more than a request — if say, MLB kicked in some money or promises or something that could help bridge the gap between Hicks and his creditors — I could see how that could wrap things up.

But what would a mere request from a non-party to the debt really do? If the creditors are trying to squeeze money out of Hicks to let this thing happen, the only thing that will make them do so is more money. From everything that has been reported these creditors are trying to take advantage of their temporary leverage to extract as much dough as possible. Based on this report all baseball is doing is asking these guys to get the deal done on Greenberg and Ryan’s timetable. So what? Everyone has been wanting that for months.

My guess, and it is just a guess, is that one of two things is happening: (1) Wilson is being a tad optimistic about what MLB’s “request” could accomplish and reaches his “assist” conclusion a bit too hastily; or (2) Baseball has done more than “request” that the deal get done. Rather, they’ve offered something to the creditors to facilitate it but understandably don’t want to be seen as bailing out Hicks any more than they already have.

Either way, everyone is saying that they think this will be done the week of April 19th. 

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.