As expected, the creditors are objecting to the Rangers bankruptcy plan


The first hearing was held in the Texas Rangers bankruptcy yesterday.  As I presumed might happen, the creditors to Hicks Sports Group spoke up and objected to the Greenberg-Ryan sale, insisting that baseball “fast-tracked” the team’s sale to a lower bidder and that “there’s a better bid out there.”

There will be a lot happening in the bankruptcy case because, as we established on Monday, bankruptcy is really friggin’ complicated.  The creditor’s objection, however, is the thing to watch, because it’s the thing that could derail the sale as currently constructed.

With the usual caveat of “please let me know if I’m wrong about this, bankruptcy experts,” the upshot of what is going to happen now is that the judge will hold a hearing as to whether, in fact, there is a better deal for the creditors* out there, and if he finds that there is, he will repoen the bidding, allowing in Jim Crane, Dennis Gilbert, you, me and anyone else who wants to buy the Rangers to bid again. The hearing is set for July 9th.

The inquiry about whether a better bid exists isn’t merely a price comparison however. For example, it’s quite possible that the Crane and Gilbert bids are no longer operative and Greenberg is the only game in town. It’s possible that, even if they are operative and had higher sales prices that their terms for the creditors were no better and in fact worse than Greenberg’s.

What I’m saying here is that just because we’ve heard reports that Greenberg wasn’t the high bidder doesn’t mean that the bankruptcy court will put the kibosh on this deal. Indeed, in filing this bankruptcy the Rangers — no doubt in consultation with Greenberg — knew that this analysis would likely happen and felt confident enough about their chances to go through with it.

We’ll know if this was a good gamble some time after July 9th.

*Until now all decisions on the sale have been between the Rangers, the Greenberg Group and Major League Baseball.  In the usual order of things that’s fine — they can decide to do what they want to do, and if the Rangers want to take a lower bid they can.  Once the team goes to bankruptcy court, however, the law mandates that the best interests of the creditors — and not just the best interests of the owner of the bankrupt business — reign supreme. 

Lloyd McClendon will return as Tigers’ hitting coach in 2017

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 05:  Manager Lloyd McClendon #21 of the Seattle Mariners looks on from the dugout against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the six inning at Coliseum on July 5, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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The Tigers will promoted Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon to hitting coach for the 2017 season, according to a statement released by the team on Friday afternoon.

McClendon’s history with the Tigers is long and storied. After serving five seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ hitting coach and manager, he got his start with Detroit in 2006 as a bullpen coach, then transitioned to hitting coach from 2007 through 2013. When the Tigers hired Brad Ausmus to replace former manager Jim Leyland, McClendon took the opportunity to break from the team and pursue another managerial position of his own with the Seattle Mariners, whom he guided to a 163-161 record between the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Following his departure from Seattle during the 2015 offseason, McClendon took a spot as skipper of the Tigers’ Triple-A club, managing the Toledo Mud Hens to a 68-76 finish in 2016. His return to the big league stage is accompanied by the hiring of assistant hitting coach Leon Durham, who previously served as the long-tenured hitting coach for Triple-A Toledo.

The international draft is all about MLB making money and the union selling out non-members

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 13:  A fan flies the Dominican Republic flag during the game against Cuba during Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic on March 13, 2006 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.

We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.

Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:

Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.

Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.

Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.