According to the Associated Press, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt met Friday for the first time with Tom Schieffer, who was recently appointed by commissioner Bud Selig to oversee the team’s daily operations.
One of Schieffer’s first acts as “monitor” was to approve the team’s latest payroll. McCourt personally borrowed $30 million from FOX to meet payroll in April, which did not require approval from MLB. However, it’s not known if they’ll be able to meet payroll in May.
Schieffer, who was given an office at Dodger Stadium, told the Los Angeles Times that he assured Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti that he will operate normally and will only need his approval for an increase in the budget. In turn, Colletti told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that the Dodgers’ budget allows for moves similar to the ones they made at the last few trade deadlines. Yes, that means Colletti might have the chance to make more horrible trades like the Octavio Dotel for James McDonald and Andrew Lambo deal.
McCourt obviously isn’t thrilled with having Schieffer around and is still making his case to get MLB’s approval on a new television deal from FOX.
“I’m allowed here to run this business,” Frank McCourt said. “The judge has made that, he made that clear, and this deal is a great deal for the Dodgers. It’s ready to be signed. It’s ready to go and any questions about the Dodgers’ financial stability are solved simply by these documents.”
Meanwhile, Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president for labor relations, said that they want to conduct a full investigation into the club and its finances before rendering a decision. And considering how much money McCourt could potentially be leaving on the table in this deal, it’s unlikely this will end well for him.
The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.
In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.
The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report:
Catcher Welington Castillo was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Friday, making him one of 35 additional players to enter the free agent pool. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Castillo was drawing interest from the Rays, among a bevy of major league clubs, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien added that the Braves have “some interest” as well.
The Rays’ trifecta of catchers — Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Bobby Wilson — did little to inspire confidence behind the plate in 2016, and with top free agent Wilson Ramos sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in September, it makes sense that they’d explore more affordable options. Castillo profiled well at the plate during his first full season with the Diamondbacks, slashing .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs in 457 PA. Behind the dish, he placed third among all qualified major league catchers with seven DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), though his league-leading 10 passed balls weren’t anything to write home about.
Unlike the Rays, the Braves have a serviceable catching platoon in Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker. Beyond that, their catching depth is fairly shallow despite the recent addition of former Mariners’ outfield prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley, has not played behind the plate since high school, though GM John Coppolella is reportedly interested in trying him there again. A.J. Pierzynski is also rumored to be seeking a deal elsewhere in free agency, which could open the door for a multi-year deal with Castillo.