Friday is the McCourts’ last chance to avoid Dodgerpocalypse

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the mediator in the McCourt divorce case is going to propose “a fair settlement” to each side on Friday. The idea: this is a last chance for the McCourts to avoid the judge telling them how the Dodgers will be divided up. If they don’t settle as a result of this process the court will rule. And in my view, both sides should take a long hard look at settling because based on what went down at the trial, they both stand a chance of losing everything.

Personally, I had a hard time believing Jamie’s McCourt’s testimony.  Contrary to what she said, I think she knew full well what she was doing when she signed the post-nuptial agreement that gave the Dodgers to Frank in exchange for her getting all of the real estate in the event of divorce. Everything about the document makes sense if seen in those terms and there’s no reason for the document at all if what she says is true and she was to retain an interest in both the team and the houses. That was the default. If she wanted things that way, the document has no real purpose.  And that’s before we get to the part where she — the experienced family lawyer — tried to convince the judge that she had no idea what the document was supposed to do and was oh-so-confused about it all. Please.

But Frank has his own problems.  Specifically, that business in which his lawyer admitted to changing  the exhibits to the document after it was executed. I actually believed him when he said that it was all a simple mistake and that he was merely trying to fix it without anyone knowing, but courts, as a rule, don’t give lawyers that kind of benefit of the doubt.  Nor should they, because if you start letting lawyers off the hook for this kind of stuff you’ll see all manner of “mistakes” that work injustices to people not as well-off and sophisticated as the McCourts.  Regardless of Jamie’s dubious claim of ignorance, I think there’s a good chance that — on general principle — the judge rules that the post nup agreement is invalid.  If that happens, community property rules apply, Jamie gets half the team and Frank spends the next several years (a) appealing; and (b) suing his old lawyer for malpractice.

But that’s just my gut. I’ve been wrong about this stuff before, as has been anyone else who tries to predict what a court will do in a tough case.  But that also means that Frank and Jamie McCourt have no idea what the court will do either. And as a result, they’d be well-advised to take the mediator’s proposal seriously. Because this is the last chance hey have for this thing to end without a world of pain. Both for them and the Dodgers.

Joey Votto thinks he can win the Home Run Derby, but hasn’t been invited yet

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Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.

In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”

Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.

Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.

There was apparently some miscommunication between Pete Mackanin and Pat Neshek

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The Phillies won their first game since last Thursday, beating the Cardinals 5-1 on Thursday afternoon. Starter Aaron Nola pitched into the eighth inning, but left with one out. Pat Neshek took the mound with a runner on first base and induced an inning-ending double play on a 3-1 count to Tommy Pham.

Given that Neshek only threw five pitches and the Phillies were staked to a four-run lead, it wouldn’t have seemed unreasonable if the sidewinding right-hander came back out to finish the ninth inning as well. But Luis Garcia had that honor, tossing a scoreless final frame to nail down the win in a non-save situation.

After the game, manager Pete Mackanin said he asked Neshek to go back out for the ninth, but Neshek didn’t want to, per Stephen Gross of the Morning Call. Neshek told the media that Mackanin never asked him. There was also a miscommunication on Wednesday. The combination of Joaquin Benoit, Hector Neris, and Edubray Ramos combined to allow four runs in 2 1/3 innings, helping the Phillies lose 7-6. Neshek never appeared. According to Mackanin, Neshek told him that he wasn’t available to pitch. Neshek said he was told he’d have the day off.

The disconnect between Mackanin and Neshek could speak to a larger divide between the manager and his failing team. The Phillies have underwhelmed across the board due to players like Odubel Herrera (whose head was down and did not see Juan Samuel’s stop sign last night in what became a base running blunder), Maikel Franco, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Aaron Nola (today’s start notwithstanding), and Hector Neris not living up to expectations. The Phillies signed Mackanin to a contract extension last month, but the team has completely fallen apart since then and the latest communications issues certainly don’t reflect well on him. Neither does last night’s travesty of a game.

As for Neshek, he said that going to the Phillies was “the best thing that happened to me in a few years” but also realized, given the state of the team, that it remains very likely he winds up in a new uniform by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. After Thursday’s performance, Neshek is carrying a 0.63 ERA with a 25/4 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings. He very well could be the Phillies’ lone representative at the All-Star Game in Miami next month. That is, if he’s still wearing their uniform. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Nationals have shown interest in Neshek.