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.

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays nearing a two-year, $35-40 million deal

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run homer during seventh inning game 5 American League Division Series baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.

The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.

Padres sign Trevor Cahill

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Trevor Cahill (53) during the seventh inning of Game 3 in baseball's National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.

He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.