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.

The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.

Daniel Szew: “Landa was a leader, happy-go-lucky guy”

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 1:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins poses for a photo during the Twins' photo day on March 1, 2016 at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Twins’ right-handed pitching prospect Yorman Landa passed away in a tragic car accident on Friday night, per a team statement. According to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, 22-year-old Landa was in the passenger seat of the vehicle when it struck a fallen tree.

Daniel Szew, Landa’s agent, spoke highly of the young pitcher, who was one of his first clients back in 2010. Szew acknowledged Landa for helping him expand his company, LA Sports Management, and referred to the late pitcher as a leader and his “little brother.”

Per Berardino:

He was very even-keeled,” Szew said. “That was his personality. He wasn’t wild. That’s why this is so tragic. He wasn’t a wild guy. He was a happy-go-lucky guy who took life as it came, and he was super happy — always happy.

If leadership was one facet of Landa’s personality, so was loyalty. The 22-year-old agreed to a minor league contract with the Twins on Tuesday after getting cut from the 40-man roster, fulfilling a promise to re-sign with the club despite fielding multiple offers from competing teams. The deal included an invite to spring training, and comments from his agent suggested that the right-hander was “super confident” he’d break through to the major leagues in 2017, notwithstanding a troublesome shoulder injury that hampered his progress in High-A Fort Myers during the 2016 season.

“He never wanted to leave,” Szew told Berardino. “It was the only organization he ever knew.”

Our condolences go out to Landa’s family and the Twins organization during this terrible time.