The Rangers sale is getting uglier

Leave a comment

The basic dynamic of the sale of the Texas Rangers has been (1) Tom Hicks trying to settle his issues with his creditors; (2) Chuck Greenberg and Major League Baseball getting increasingly annoyed at Hicks for not doing so; and (3) everyone speaking optimistically all the same.

According to Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram, Tom Hicks has changed the dynamic, at least rhetorically-speaking:

“This will be resolved one way or the other,” Hicks said. “I’m
concerned about it. We’ve received information that as things stand it
will not be approved.”

Hicks distanced himself from responsibility for getting the deal
done, saying it’s up to Greenberg and Major League Baseball to find a
way to satisfy the lenders who are holding out. Monarch Alternative
Capital is leading the holdouts.

I’m sure that’s all news to Greenberg and Major League Baseball who (a) didn’t run up the big debt in the first place; and (b) aren’t the ones insisting that Hicks realize tens of millions of dollars free-and-clear from the deal despite the fact that he owes money to people all over the world.  For Major League Baseball’s part, it issued a statement last night that, while it could be construed as a warning to the creditors, calls out Tom Hicks by name:

“As part of the Texas Rangers sale process, Tom Hicks selected the
Chuck Greenberg/Nolan Ryan group as the chosen bidder on December 15,
2009 and entered into an exclusive agreement with that group. Major
League Baseball is currently in control of the sale process and will use
all efforts to achieve a closing with the chosen bidder. Any deviation
from or interference with the agreed upon sale process by Mr. Hicks or
any other party, or any actions in violation of MLB rules or directives
will be dealt with appropriately by the Commissioner.”

That “deviation” is likely referring to Hicks’ deviation from being the one responsible for making the creditor problems go away.  A responsibility which he’s now apparently punting.

But this is not really a surprise. The level of Hicks’ irresponsibility with respect to the Texas Rangers over the years has been astounding.  He has crippled the franchise with bad contracts and debt and now, just as a new ownership group is poised to invest in the team and to try and make it a winner, he’s all but sabotaging the sale with his intransigence, his insolvency or both.

Oh, and his delusions too. I mean, this is the guy who thinks he’s going to get a billion and a quarter dollars for his debt-laden soccer team despite all indications that such estimates are inflated. There’s no telling what he thinks is going to happen with the Rangers sale.

Two weeks ago the parties pointed to this week — the week of April 19th — as when they think the deal would be closed. With Hicks pointing fingers like he is, apparently unconcerned that a few dozen creditors want to take the team into bankruptcy, I don’t think anyone will be making more predictions on this score anytime soon.

Matthew Stafford audibles with “Kershaw! Kershaw!”

Getty Images
4 Comments

Last night the Detroit Lions played the New York Giants. During the game Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford called an audible. The call itself referenced Stafford’s childhood friend and high school baseball teammate, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. From the Freep:

Matthew Stafford stepped to the line of scrimmage late in the third quarter and surveyed the Giants defense.

With five pass rushers across the front and three Giants cornerbacks showing a press-man look, Stafford looked at his two receivers to the left and invoked the name of his childhood friend, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

“Give me Kershaw here, Kershaw,” Stafford said, repeating his friend’s name two more times as he spun around at the line of scrimmage.

The audible did not result in a pick-4 to Aaron Altherr. It called for a run up the middle. And it worked nicely, gaining eight yards.

You may suggest the results of other starting pitcher-themed audibles in the comments. I’ll start: “Harvey! Harvey!” is where the QB fakes a handoff, drops back, looks deep and then his arm falls completely off. Damndest thing.

Matt Harvey has a 13.19 ERA since coming back from the disabled list

Getty Images
9 Comments

Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.

Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.

Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.

Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.

Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.