Frank McCourt

The Dodgers can’t meet May payroll

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers do not have enough cash to meet payroll through this month. At least not the second round of it which comes due at the end of the month.

In April he got a $30 million loan from Fox to make ends meet. With Major League Baseball now approving any transactions — and with the Fox deal seemingly on life support if it’s even still alive — there won’t be any such cash infusions this month.

So, does Matt Kemp have to take a second job? Does Andre Ethier have to try to keep his hitting streak alive while his stomach growls because he can’t afford groceries?

Not quite. If McCourt fails to meet payroll, Major League Baseball will cover expenses. However, it is believed that pursuant to the standard ownership agreement to which McCourt is subject, baseball has the ability to fully seize the Dodgers if they have to cover payroll.

It’s worth reminding ourselves that McCourt’s talking point through all of this has been that his cash difficulties are the doing of Major League Baseball’s refusal to approve the Fox TV deal.  Yet he has never acknowledged that the Fox deal was the for the future, not the present. Or that, even if there was going to be a big upfront payment from Fox when the deal was struck, that his current state — debt heavy and cash poor —  was all of his own doing, not of Bud Selig’s.

I hope every single Dodger employee gets paid. But I hope it’s by Major League Baseball stepping in to do it, not by Frank McCourt.  Just to be safe: avoid going to Dodgers games for the month of May, people. I’d hate to see him make it just over the wire by virtue of a bump in beer sales or something.  Besides, you can listen to Vin Scully call the home games, so you won’t be missing out on not being there.

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.

Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.

Shelby Miller is in the best mental shape of his life

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.

Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.

So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]

Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.

I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.

Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”

Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.

It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.