I missed this from late last week, but Mark Cuban — who has been denying any interest in the Rangers for a solid year now — has changed course and may now get involved in the upcoming auction:
“The economics have changed, which has gotten me interested. My lawyers are still going through everything, but the bigger point is that I now have an interest . . . As I learn more I will have a better understanding about how aggressively I will pursue the interest and whether or not I will actually make a bid come the first week of August or whenever the court sets the date for bids.”
The most interesting thing in the article are the quotes from anonymous insiders who say that Cuban is “approvable” in the eyes of Major League Baseball. While he was in on the Cubs bid a couple of years ago, there has long been a belief that Major League Baseball wants no part of him. He’s outspoken. He spends a lot of his own money. He blogs. He’s the kind of guy who Selig and his buddies simply don’t care for.
But he’s also no dummy. He suggests in the article that his interest may not be solely to bid for the team itself. Rather, he’d consider getting in on Greenberg and Ryan’s bid somehow, maybe as a “backstop.” That is, if they’ll have him. And my guess is that if they somehow come up short in the bidding or if things get stretched out and Greenberg’s financing — which some have suggested includes some fickle investors — starts to crumble, they wouldn’t mind having Cuban come in with some serious cash to seal their bid. And at this point, anything that saves Greenberg/Ryan’s bacon is good with Major League Baseball.
My question is this: if Mark Cuban comes in as a minority owner in a Greenberg/Ryan ownership group, how long does he stay a minority owner? Because you can say a lot of things about Mark Cuban, but one thing you can’t say is that he gets off on being someone’s silent partner.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.