McCourt Divorce Trial Continues With Ownership Of Dodgers In Contention

The settlement proposed by the mediator in the McCourt case was interesting

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Like I said last week, it’s a bit of sucker’s game to try to predict an ultimate ruling in a case based on what a court-appointed mediator proposes. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to try to predict such things.  And there is one fact in the proposed settlement, reported by Bill Shaikin, that I find to be pretty interesting:

As the mediator in the Dodgers’ divorce case prepared his settlement proposal, he consulted not only with Frank and Jamie McCourt but with representatives from Bingham McCutchen, the firm that employs the lawyer whose actions could determine who owns the team. The mediation process is confidential, but analysts said the mediator likely invited Bingham to help fund a settlement now rather than risk a potentially more costly malpractice suit later.

The malpractice, you’ll recall, is related to Frank’s lawyer switching out the exhibit to the post-nuptial agreement that had Jamie getting the Dodgers and switching in the one that showed her being cut out.  Which, I still believe, is what the parties intended, by the way. Problem is, if you were going to try and unfairly screw Jamie out of her stake in the Dodgers, that would be an excellent, albeit obvious way to do it, and the court is going to have  a hard time overlooking that behavior. If you want to make such clerical changes, you get both parties on the horn and have them re-execute the deal. You don’t pull the old switcheroo.

If the court ultimately rules for Jamie, Frank will have a righteous malpractice suit against the Bingham firm as a result of all of this. By having them kick in money now, as the proposed settlement does, it softens that blow and heads off an ugly litigation in which many of the same issues that happened in the divorce case would be dredged up.  No one wants that.

So the question is this: does the mediator — who is himself a judge, by the way — know that the judge presiding over the case is going to rule for Jamie and wants to try and wrap it all up now? Does he merely suspect it? Or is this just a belt-and-suspenders kind of thing?

I have no idea. I do know this, though: if someone tells me that they want to make my future malpractice case against my lawyers easier, I’m not going to feel very good about the case I actually have pending at the moment.  Frank, I would assume, is not a happy man at the moment.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.