Frank McCourt could file for bankruptcy

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Because the Dodgers situation isn’t complicated enough, it’s probably time to throw bankruptcy into the mix:

Major League Baseball is preparing for the possibility that Frank McCourt might take the Dodgers into bankruptcy court before the league could strip him of the team … The league is “looking hard” at that option, said a personal familiar with the matter but not authorized to comment publicly because of the potential for litigation.

In the article, Bill Shaikin talks to some bankruptcy experts who talk about what that could mean for MLB’s assumption of control over the team, Frank McCourt’s ownership interest and all of that. There’s not much in the way of consensus unless you count “man, this would really make things difficult” as a consensus.

With the all of the same “I know next to nothing about bankruptcy law” caveats I gave last year when the Rangers’ business was going down, it strikes me — and those quoted in Shaikin’s article — that a key inquiry in bankruptcy would be the Fox TV teal that McCourt claims is the key to the Dodgers well-being and which Major League Baseball is loathe to approve.

As far as that goes, I suppose it’s possible that a judge could say, yeah, that deal should happen. But (a) I’m not sure how an unconsummated deal can be an asset that a bankruptcy court could consider; and (b) even if it is, baseball could probably call a parade of experts to testify that the Dodgers could do way better on the TV side than what Fox is offering. And of course, Jamie McCourt has a stake here too, and nothing about her involvement would make this less, rather than more complicated.

All I keep telling myself here is that, however horrible this gets, at least it will forever serve as a lesson to Major League Baseball to not let litigious, greedy and cash poor nudnicks like the McCourts into the ownership club in the future.

Baseball is learning that lesson, right?

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.