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.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.