The Rangers bankruptcy decision: maybe not as bad as it seemed yesterday

2 Comments

As I admitted yesterday, I had not had not yet had a chance to read the judge’s decision in the Rangers’ bankruptcy case. I read it last night, however, and in light of that it’s probably worth dialing back my initial reaction a bit.

Yes, this was still a setback for the Rangers and the sale of the team.  Neither the parties nor those who followed last week’s hearing expected the decision that the creditors’ rights were impaired. Indeed, the fact that Nolan Ryan and others close to the Rangers felt comfortable talking about potential trade targets in recent days suggests that they expected the judge would OK the prepackaged plan with little fuss.  The court’s ruling yesterday constitutes fuss, however, and the team does need to do some work in order to get through the process and have the team sold.

But it’s not as huge a fuss as it first seemed yesterday.  Yes, the creditors now have a right to vote on the bankruptcy plan which, if they had not been found to have had their rights impaired, they would not have.  I was wrong in suggesting yesterday, however, that the creditors could block the sale to Greenberg. The vote they now have is on the bankruptcy plan, not a veto over the sale.

The only way the sale itself could be hindered is if, for some reason, the Rangers do not restructure the bankruptcy plan in a way that gives the creditors the rights (e.g. the right to sue for damages, etc.) that the judge says they have. Given that the Rangers and creditors will be working with a mediator on this, that seems rather unlikely. It would also be rather stupid of them not to make the necessary changes.

But while my initial reaction was a bit overheated, it would probably be wrong to swing the pendulum too far back the other way as well. This decision, while not as devastating as initial reports first made it seem, does occasion delay and at least a possibility that more bumps could form in the road ahead. After all, if you give lawyers enough time to talk about something, they’re likely to come up with seven problems no one ever considered in the first place. And of course delay and uncertainly was exactly what the team’s bankruptcy filing was designed to avoid in the first place.

Nevertheless, while the news was not good for the Rangers, it was not as bad as my report and the reports of others made it seem.  Such are the perils of blogging, of course, but when it comes to legal stuff like this I, more than anyone, should know better than to go all ready-fire-aim like this. I’ll try not to do that again.

Note: a mighty shoutout to Baseball Time in Arlington on this point is in order.  BBTIA correctly illustrated how the media — and particularly I — got sloppy yesterday in an effort to try and be first and fast and all of that. I’ll gladly take my spanking from them in exchange for their handy digest of all of the day’s coverage of the decision, to which they link. 

Reds prospect Juan Duran suspended 80 games

Banned
1 Comment

Juan Duran, a minor-league outfielder in the Reds’ farm system, has been suspended 80 games following positive tests for the performance-enhancing drugs Drostanolone, Stanozolol, and Nandrolone.

Duran is 6-foot-7 with big-time power, averaging 23 homers per 150 games since 2011, but he also strikes out a ton and struggles to control the strike zone. He spent last season at Double-A, missing a lot of time with injuries and hitting .256 with six homers and a .728 OPS in 59 games as a 23-year-old.

Duran is on the 40-man roster and is considered a quasi-prospect, but he’ll be ineligible to play until July and figures to head back to Double-A once reinstated.

The Blue Jays will talk long term deals with Jose Bautistia and Edwin Encarnacion

Jose Bautista Blue Jays
1 Comment

Ever since Alex Anthopoulos resigned as Blue Jays’ GM and Mark Shapiro took over as team president, a distinct air of frugality has set in over Rogers Centre. The go-for-broke attitude that fueled Toronto’s fantastic second half last year was repudiated and long-term, sustainable building has seemed to be the order of the day.

But the Jays aren’t going to go crazy with that: ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Blue Jays plan to have long-term extension talks with the agents of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion during spring training. This, combined with the still-remaining possibility that they can avoid arbitration with MVP Josh Donaldson and hammer out a long-term deal could mean some serious spending by the Jays before Opening Day.

Or this could just be talk from the front office designed to buoy the spirits of fans. Locking up all three of them to long-term deals may be hella expensive and may not be possible. It’s also the case that, given their ages — Bautista is 35 and Encarnacion is 33 — it may not be advisable to lock the both up. As always, it depends on the terms and how generous Rogers Communications plans on being with the Jays’ budget.

But the chatter is now out there and expectations are poised to be set.

The Rays are REALLY ready to get to work on that new ballpark

rays logo
2 Comments

Last month St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay Rays reached an agreement that would allow the Rays to seek a new ballpark outside of the St. Pete city limits, anywhere in the Bay Area. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports¬†today that the Rays have submitted a required report to that end which “describes how they plan to evaluate potential ballpark sites across the Tampa Bay area” and serves as a rough outline of the sort of facility they’re looking to build.

They submitted it 39 days before deadline. Ya think they’re eager to get moving?

As for the specifics, it sounds like they’re shooting for a Braves or Cardinals style destination place with surrounding entertainment, retail and the like. The Braves are achieving that by basically building the park at a mall and plan to surround it with other mall/entertainment district-type development. The Cardinals built a downtown park, but have developed Ballpark Village after the fact. This is to be contrasted with downtown parks which either counted on existing city businesses or spurred separate development.

All of which makes sense given that there isn’t one dominant location in Tampa which all but demands development there. Tampa has a few different areas that might make sense and the place is generally more spread out than older cities. It also makes sense for the Rays’ owners who are likely well aware that being in the real estate business is just as good for them as being in the baseball business.

Will anyone EVER break that record that was broken nine years ago?

Hank Aaron
Associated Press
12 Comments

In 2007, Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run. He would go on to hit six more, finishing his career with 762. That was nine years ago and, at present, the active home run leader is nearly 80 homers behind him and no sure bet to come close. The next closest guy is over 200 homers back and clearly entering a period of decline.

All of which raises the question: will anyone EVER pass the home run total of Hank Aaron, who is in second place on that list?

Maybe you think that’s not really a pertinent question. We tend not to ask whether people who do not, by any objective measure, hold a record will have their records surpassed. But you’d be wrong. Why, just today, on Hank Aaron’s 82nd birthday, at least two journalists speculated whether anyone would ever become the all-time second place home run king:

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 2.01.17 PM

That’s from Cliff Corcoran at Sports Illustrated. As always, it’s excellent work from Cliff. Right up there with his seminal “will anyone ever catch Lou Brock in stolen bases?” and “who can catch Trevor Hoffman in career saves?” pieces.

Then there’s Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who approves of the question posed and has his own response:

You can imagine how those tweets were received by those parts of Twitter who are all about PED apologia, math, objective standards, noting that Aaron admitted that he took a PED that would have him banned today too and stuff like that. As always, these things get ugly.

Not that they have to be. It’s almost as if, if one were to try, one could celebrate the amazing inner-circle Hall of Fame career of Hank Aaron, full as it is with nearly unsurpassed accomplishment, without applying a revisionist gloss to the one accomplishment that, according to all objective measures and the accounting of Major League Baseball, has been surpassed. That one could talk about Aaron without slagging on Bonds.