If Frank McCourt only misses the June 30th payroll by only $122,000, we know why! Jim Peltz and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times report:
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt repaid more than $100,000 to a team charity after the state attorney general found the funds had been used primarily for the benefit of the club’s former chief executive, Jamie McCourt.
McCourt paid that back in March. This payback is not to be confused with the money McCourt paid back in connection with the $400,000 the charity — the Dodger Dream Foundation — paid the Dodgers’ lobbyist Howard Sunkin in 2007. $400,000 from a charity whose total charitable assets were something less than $2 million at the time state authorities became aware of Sunkin’s payment. The Dodgers have another charity — a cancer charity — which has also seen excessive payments to executives, though it’s unclear what kind of scrutiny that has come under from state or federal officials.
And no, I would not be surprised if federal officials were paying attention to this on some level. When you’re dealing with charities, you’re dealing with tax deductible money. And the IRS cares if tax deductible money is going to executives for decidedly non-charitable purposes.
But by all means, Frank, introduce some “acrimonious and extreme litigation” into all of this so that this stuff can be discovered and scrutinized more.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.