UPDATE: It doesn’t sound like Frank McCourt changed any minds during his radio hit today. According to Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts, McCourt basically said everyone is lying about him:
“If the stuff that was written about me was true, I wouldn’t trust me either”
Except that most of the stuff that has everyone hating and not trusting him were things that came out under oath during his divorce proceedings. Or, as Jon notes, all of the defenses McCourt raises are ludicrous on their face. Such as his claim that the FOX deal is totally fabulous despite the fact that it was clearly struck while McCourt was desperate. And that his financial woes are the result of Major League Baseball blocking the deal, even though it is a deal for the future and that it’s his past that is catching up with him.
The fans aren’t buying it either. The first caller on the radio show said that he won’t go to a Dodger game as long as McCourt owns the team. I don’t think that person is alone.
For a totally thorough recap, go to Dodger Divorce, where my friend Josh Fisher and ESPN’s Molly Knight, each of whom have been covering McCourt in detail for years, live-chatted the call, the recap of which you read now. It’s not pretty for Frank McCourt. Unfortunately for him, he’s too deluded to realize it.
2:29 PM: This ought to be fun. Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts comes word that Dodgers “owner” Frank McCourt join Steve Mason and John Ireland at 3 p.m. Pacific time on ESPN AM 710 in Los Angeles. And during the broadcast he’s going to take calls from fans.
Here’s hoping that some good sharp questions are allowed through the call screeners. Not ranting lunatics, but Dodgers fans who can explain to Frank McCourt that his problems are not, contrary to his claims, one of fan perception. And fans who can demand from him something a little better than the condescension he’s been giving them for some time.
Mostly, though, this should be good for Frank McCourt awkwardness. He doesn’t strike me as a man who is very self-aware. It should be interesting to hear what happens when he’s challenged.
Giants second baseman Joe Panik missed nearly all of August and September last season due to a nagging back injury, but he told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com on Friday that he’s feeling “100 percent.”
Panik, who earned his first All-Star selection last season, originally landed on the disabled list in early August due to what was described as lower back inflammation. He made his return in September, but appeared in just three games before being shut down. The good news is that he was cleared by doctors in mid-December and considers himself “back to normal.”
“It was right around the time of all the signings,” he said, smiling. “I was able to fly under the radar. I got tested and everything had healed up. I got cleared and was able to have my full offseason workouts. I’m good to go. I’m happy to be feeling good and going back out on the field to show that I’m healthy. My swing feels strong.”
Panik altered his offseason workout routine and plans to spend less time in his spikes in the early part of spring training. The hope is that these changes will prevent future issues.
After a strong showing as a rookie in 2014, the 25-year-old Panik proved to be one of the best second baseman in the majors last season by batting .312/.378/.455 with eight home runs and 37 RBI over 100 games while playing solid defense.
Baseball America unveiled their top 100 prospect list Friday night during a special on MLB Network. It should come as no surprise that Dodgers infielder Corey Seager came in at No. 1.
This makes Seager the consensus top prospect in the game. He was also ranked first by MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN’s Keith Law. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was ranked second on all four lists.
Baseball America has the most aggressive ranking of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada from the Red Sox, who checked in at No. 3. He was followed by pitching prospects Lucas Giolito from the Nationals and Julio Urias from the Dodgers to round out the top five.
You can see Baseball America’s full top 100 list here.
Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was permanently suspended on Friday after testing positive for a third time for a performance-enhancing drug. The right-hander is maintaining his innocence, as ESPN’s Adam Rubin notes in quoting Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez. Mejia said, “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”
Mejia has the opportunity to petition commissioner Rob Manfred in one year for reinstatement to Major League Baseball. However, he must sit out at least two years before becoming eligible to pitch in the majors again, which would mean Mejia would be 28 years old.
Over parts of five seasons, Mejia has a career 3.68 ERA with 162 strikeouts and 76 walks over 183 1/3 innings. He was once a top prospect in the Mets’ minor league system and a top-100 overall prospect heading into the 2010 and ’11 seasons.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is at least three years away from free agency, but people are already contemplating just how large a contract the phenom will be able to negotiate, especially after taking home the National League Most Valuable Player Award for his performance this past season.
When the likes of David Price and Zack Greinke are signing for over $200 million at the age of 30 or older, it stands to reason that Harper could draw more as a 26-year-old if he can maintain MVP-esque levels of production over the next several seasons. $400 million might not be enough for Harper, though, as MLB.com’s Jamal Collier reports. He said, “Don’t sell me short,” which is a fantastic response.
During the 2015 season, Harper led the majors with a .460 on-base percentage and a .649 slugging percentage while leading the National League with 42 home runs and 118 runs scored. He also knocked in 99 runs for good measure. Harper and Ted Williams are the only hitters in baseball history to put up an adjusted OPS of 195 or better (100 is average) at the age of 22 or younger.