According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, who has been all over this story, Fox has advanced Dodgers owner Frank McCourt money in order to help cover the team’s operating expenses.
Fox owes the Dodgers $35 million for television rights this year, $37 million next year and $39 million in 2013, according to court documents.
Naturally, many find the timing as curious, such as Andy Dolich, a former top executive with the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Athletics and Memphis Grizzlies.
“It’s a bit odd, because the people and the entities that own these teams usually have the money to operate the team well into the future,” said Dolich, who emphasized that he has not reviewed the Dodgers’ finances or how the McCourt divorce might have affected them.
“Maybe it’s not odd, in terms of what’s going on, but I haven’t heard of a lot of teams that do that.”
Shaikin reports that McCourt has discussed a new television deal with Fox that would likely give him the money he needs to settle his divorce case, but as I wrote last week, Commissioner Bud Selig has the right to reject any such deal.
On a related note, yesterday a judge finalized his ruling in which he threw out a post-nuptial agreement that would have provided McCourt with full ownership of the team.
And so, McCourt is now covered in the short-term, but unless something changes, it still looks like an eventual sale of the team is inevitable.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.