Nine of 30 teams in violation of MLB’s debt rules

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On the one hand, this sounds alarming: Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times reports that nine of baseball’s 30 teams are in violation baseball’s debt service rules. The teams: Dodgers and Mets — duh — as well as the Orioles, Cubs, Tigers, Marlins, Phillies, Rangers and Nationals.

On the other hand, it’s hard to say what this truly means. Sure, former commissioner Fay Vincent calls this “troublesome,” but he thinks everything that has happened since he left office is troublesome.  What we don’t know, however, is how any of these teams outside the Dodgers, really, arrived at their currently-reported out-of compliance status and if it’s really a serious thing.

Is it short term debt or long term debt? A temporary blip of being-out-of-compliance, or something chronic?  Generally, the rules limit a team’s debt to 10 times its annual earnings.  How badly out of whack are, say, the Tigers, compared to where the Dodgers are? Doesn’t it matter that the Tigers owner has more money than Croesus, while the Dodgers’ owner does not?

Finally, Frank McCourt claims that he was given exemptions on his debt limit at times. If that’s the case (i.e. the game’s most train wreck of a financial case can be in technical compliance) doesn’t that render the concept of compliance a rather fluid one?

I don’t like that so many ownership groups are leveraged and baseball needs to be sure that the Frank McCourt/Tom Hicks examples are exceptions and not the rule.  But I’m not sure that this report, in and of itself, tells us much.

Rays sign Carlos Gomez to a one-year deal

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The Tampa Bay Rays signed free agent outfielder Carlos Gomez to a one-year deal worth $4 million.

Gomez hit .255/.340/.462 with 17 homers in 105 games for the Rangers last year. He missed time due to various ailments, as he has frequently over the past several years, playing 118 games in 2016 and 115 games in 2015. He’s useful when healthy. He just has to find a way to stay healthy.

The Rays just traded away Steven Souza and designated Corey Dickerson for assignment, making room for Gomez. Dickerson was slated to make $5.95 million and, if he is not traded, the Rays will be on the hook for $1 million of that. Souza was making $3.55 million. Gomez will work in the outfield corner rotation with Denard Span and Mallex Smith, while Kevin Kiermaier will cover center.