UPDATE: Now it’s official, with Shaikin and everyone else reporting that Major League Baseball has, in fact, rejected the Dodgers-Fox deal and that Frank McCourt has, in fact, been notified of it.
So now it’s go-time.
1:06 PM: Um, OK, Bill Shaikin reports that MLB has not notified McCourt of any decision on Fox deal. Shaikin is usually right, but then again, so is Tim Brown, so who the heck knows?
12:56 PM: All that’s left now is for the lawsuit to be filed.
Yahoo!’s Tim Brown reports that Major League Baseball has notified Frank McCourt that it will not approve the Dodgers’ 17-year television deal with Fox. This will (a) put the kibosh on the McCourt’s divorce settlement, which hinged on the deal’s approval; and (b) all but ensure that the Dodgers won’t make their end of the month payroll. When that happens, baseball will likely seize and sell the Dodgers.
The biggest question here: does Frank wait until that happens to sue, or does he sue now, claiming that Major League Baseball interfered with his ability to run his baseball team? My guess is on the latter. My guess is also that he’s had the papers to that effect drawn up for some time.
It’s about to get real in L.A., folks.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.