Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Frank and Jamie McCourt have finally reached a divorce settlement and an official announcement will come this afternoon.
They filed for divorce 20 months ago, turning ownership of the Dodgers into a huge question mark amid various ugliness and cash flow problems.
Of late reaching payroll every two weeks has been a major struggle and there’s an $8.33 million deferred compensation payment due to Manny Ramirez by June 30.
UPDATE: No so fast: Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that the settlement agreement is based upon MLB approving the Dodgers’ new television contract (and the influx of cash that comes attached) with FOX, which he describes as “a long shot.”
UPDATE #2: Shaikin confirms Brown’s report that everything hinges on MLB’s approval of the FOX deal and also has more details on the settlement, including that the two sides have agreed to a one-day trial where a Superior Court Judge will determine “whether the Dodgers belong solely to Frank McCourt or whether the team should be considered community property.” The latter would mean splitting the Dodgers 50-50, which Shaikin writes “would almost certainly result in the sale of the team.”
The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.
Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.
Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.