There’s an interesting — but troubling — musing in Buster Olney’s latest column. First Olney notes that Frank McCourt is in dire financial straits — no surprise — but then speculates about one possible outcome:
It’s been awhile since Bud Selig formed the committee to study the Oakland ownership situation, with no resolution in sight for his longtime friend and former fraternity buddy Lew Wolff, the Athletics current owner. What Wolff and the Athletics want is a ballpark in San Jose, and Selig might feel as though he can’t give that to him.
But if McCourt eventually has to sell the Dodgers, providing Wolff — who lives in L.A. — an opportunity to buy the Dodgers would be a heck of a compromise move for Selig, who is, above all else, a deal-maker. In a similar way, he ushered John Henry and Tom Werner — previously connected with the Marlins and Padres, respectively — into control of the Boston Red Sox.
And Wolff, of course, could bring along GM Billy Beane, who could leave the Athletics in the hands of the next owner and heir apparent David Forst.
It’s all speculation. But it all could make a lot of sense, depending on which way the dominos fall with the Dodgers.
And here we thought that Bud’s-committee-on-San Jose was designed to look out for the best interests of the Oakland Athletics, not merely the team’s billionaire real estate developing fraternity-brother-of-Bud Selig owner. Silly us.
I hope this is just Buster on a flight of fancy and not a trial balloon being floated by someone at MLB. Because if it’s the latter it’s clear evidence that baseball doesn’t give a diddly durn about Athletics fans. At all.
Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.
Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.
The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.
The Rangers have reportedly agreed to a six-year, $49.5 million extension for second baseman Rougned Odor, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The extension comes with a club option for a seventh year, Heyman adds.
It’s close to the six-year, $52.5 million extension Jason Kipnis netted with the Indians in 2014, a sum Odor was rumored to be seeking during contract negotiations over the last two years. Granted, the circumstances are a little different this time around. Both players signed extensions on the cusp of their fourth year in the major leagues, but at 27 years old, Kipnis was coming off of an All-Star campaign and a career-high 4.5 fWAR performance. Odor, meanwhile, saw mixed results in 2016, batting 33 home runs and putting up 2.0 fWAR while struggling to stay consistent at the plate and exhibiting poor defense.
According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, Odor previously agreed to a $563,180 salary for 2017. Depending on when the extension kicks in, it should cover all three of Odor’s arbitration-eligible seasons and two seasons of potential free agency. The team has yet to confirm the extension.