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

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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. 

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.