The judge warns Frank and Jamie McCourt: shape up or I'll order the Dodgers sold

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Right after I got done reading that giant McCourts article posted below, I read Bill Shaikin’s article in the Los Angeles Times which reports the judge in the McCourts’ divorce case saying — contrary to what Frank McCourt has been insisting for months — that the Dodgers may have to go on the block:

“The parties are unintentionally pushing the court toward an interesting
position — selling the asset which is being fought over”

That comment comes after months of wrangling over legal fees and arguments between Frank and Jamie in which each of them tried to portray themselves — at varying times — as the richer or the poorer than the other, depending on which tack suited them at the time.

As the legal experts in the article note, the judge’s comment about the team having to go up for sale were most likely a warning to Frank and Jamie to stop their bickering. A nuclear option, if you will, that probably won’t be taken but could be if everyone doesn’t start behaving first. But even if it’s unlikely, it is most certainly something the judge could order if things get bad enough.

And after everything we’ve seen with the Rangers, the last thing anyone wants to go through at this point is another acrimonious franchise sale.

Report: Phillies interested in Manny Machado; Orioles have done homework on Phillies’ minor league system

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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.

The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.

Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.

As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.