The McCourt trial is on hold today as the parties meet in a mediation. Josh over at Dodger Divorce provides a brief rundown of what’s happening and what’s at stake (and if you care about this subject at all you should be reading him every day anyway).
I rarely had good results in mediation when I was practicing. Sometimes because I was a crappy negotiator. Sometimes because my clients were insane. Sometimes because the mediator himself just didn’t do a good job. Sometimes because the conciliatory nature and unfamiliar mechanics of it all are so hard to get into after you’ve been fighting tooth and nail for weeks. As a result I’m rather skeptical of mediation.
But I think the key thing here is that both sides bled some this week. Frank because his lawyer admitted to switching documents around, which is never a good thing and could conceivably be seen as evidence that he tried to muscle Jamie out of Dodgers ownership through less than kosher methods. Jamie because, well, let’s face it, her dumb act (“what’s a document?”) simply isn’t plausible, and if you doubt her when she says how ignorant she is about the agreement in question, you must necessarily give less weight to the whole document switching business.
Settlements don’t happen when people are at each others’ throats. They often do happen when people see their own case get beat up a bit in court, and realize the risks they face. I’m still not terrible optimistic given that it’s Frank and Jamie we’re talking about and each of them have shown wide, wide streaks of irrationality and greed throughout this saga. But there is hope.
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.