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 are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.

Report: Phillies agree to minor league deal with Daniel Nava

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 12:  Daniel Nava #12 of the Kansas City Royals bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.

Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.