The McCourts want to settle, but that's a tall order

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The L.A. Times’ Bill Shaikin — who has been doing a whale of a job covering the McCourt divorce, by the way — reports today that the McCourts would like to settle if at all possible.  While on one level that’s a no-brainer — no one wants to go through an ugly trial — it is significant in that Shaikin’s story is the first one I’ve seen in which Jamie McCourt’s people have actually said that she’d take something short of team control in order to make the madness stop.

Not that she’s laying down — she still wants 50% ownership or something close to it and an executive position, which both seem like non-starters based on what Frank has been saying for the past several months — but it’s a step down from the “I’ll get my rich friends to buy you out” rhetoric Jamie had launched previously.

In reality I’m guessing that Jamie’s position is a precursor to a demand for a cash settlement that is at least couched in terms of her interest in the Dodgers (whatever it is) being bought out. Such a settlement would allow her to declare some sort of a victory and claim that, yes, she really did own the Dodgers once while allowing everyone to avoid a fight over that property distribution agreement and who slept with who and all of that business.

As Shaikin notes, however, this doesn’t mean that life gets easier.  All it really means is that a fight over who gets to control the Dodgers is transformed into a fight over how much the Dodgers are truly worth in order to value Jamie’s buyout. If the example of every single battle over franchise valuation in major sports history is any lesson, you can bet that Frank McCourt will attempt to show that the Dodgers are worthless, while Jamie will attempt to show that they’re worth seventy-gabiliion dollars.

And the sad thing is, given the state of major league baseball franchise accounting and the particular manner in which the McCourts have run the Dodgers, each side will likely have a mountain of paperwork supporting their position.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.