The Rangers sale is getting uglier

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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.

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.

Rockies sign 30-year lease to stay in Coors Field

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Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.

As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.

Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”

The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.