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.
In a special for USA TODAY Sports, Mike Vorkunov details how six teams — the Mets in particular — provide an education program that helps their Dominican prospects earn high school diplomas. It seems like an obvious win-win: smarter players make smarter decisions, making them more likely to achieve their potential as athletes. That, of course, requires spending money, which is why only six teams make the investment. For the players, if baseball doesn’t work out, they are better able to support themselves in other ways.
Vorkunov lists the Pirates, Tigers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Mariners as the other teams who provide an education program for their Dominican prospects. We learned earlier this month that the Phillies were also investing in making sure their minor leaguers eat healthy. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “few teams” supply their minor league players with healthy food options.
Juan Henderson, the head of the Mets’ Dominican academy, said, “We see the benefit of it. I gotta tell you, we’re working with a new generation of baseball players. You see in the past that players just carry a bat and a glove and a helmet on the baseball field and in the academy. Those years, I think, are going to be pretty much over. Now they also do that, but they also carry books, they also carry an iPad, they also carry a laptop.”
Kudos to the six teams for making a great decision and here’s hoping the other 24 teams follow suit.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols cranked out a two-run home run in the third inning against Rangers starter Derek Holland, breaking a scoreless tie. It’s the ninth homer of the season for Pujols and the 569th of his career, putting him into a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for 12th on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard.
Harmon Killebrew is Pujols’ next target at 573, followed by Mark McGwire at 583 and Frank Robinson at 586.
Pujols hadn’t homered since May 13. He entered Monday night hitting a mediocre .228/.309/.395 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 188 plate appearances.
Monday has unfortunately been a day of injury news. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is the latest to hit the 15-day disabled list, as he has been diagnosed with a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist. The club has recalled infielder Cheslor Cuthbert from Triple-A Omaha.
Gordon suffered the injury colliding with third baseman Mike Moustakas attempting to catch a fly ball on Sunday afternoon. He is expected to miss three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.
Gordon was having a tough 2016 campaign and the injury only makes it worse. He’s hitting .211/.319/.331 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 166 plate appearances on the year.
The Royals will likely use Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando in left field in Gordon’s absence.
The Orioles announced on Monday night that the club has traded reliever Brian Matusz to the Braves in exchange for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The Braves are also receiving a Competitive Balance Round B pick (76th overall) in the 2016 draft.
Matusz, 29, made his season debut on April 23 after battling a back injury since early March. It’s been a struggle, as the lefty has yielded eight runs on 11 hits and seven walks with just one strikeout in six innings. He is earning $3.9 million and can become a free agent after the season.
MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves are expected to designate Matusz for assignment. Essentially, the Braves bought the draft pick for Matusz’s remaining salary of $3 million of $3.9 million total.
Barker, 23, has been pitching at Double-A Mississippi after getting a taste of Triple-A last year. So far this season, the right-hander has a 2.00 ERA with a 40/12 K/BB ratio in 45 innings spanning eight starts and a relief appearance.
Belicek, a 23-year-old left-hander, has spent most of the year with Single-A Rome, compiling a 2.49 ERA with a 29/1 K/BB ratio in 25 1/3 innings over 11 relief appearances.