Combination of file photos of MLB commissioner Bud Selig and Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt

Major League Baseball offers a better bankruptcy financing deal


As mentioned this morning, the first issue the bankruptcy court is going to have to decide is whether or not to allow Frank McCourt to finance Dodgers’ operations with that $150 million loan he obtained.

Also as mentioned, Major League Baseball has come up with an alternative financing arrangement, which Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times just reported:  Financing at 7% interest as opposed to the 10% McCourt obtained, plus no $4.5 million fee or any other fees on top of it, like the fees wit which McCourt would saddle the team.

Bankruptcy experts, help us out: are these financing arrangements usually judged purely on the dollars (i.e. what costs the debtor the least), or is there a broader analysis in play, encompassing the source of the financing as well?  Because if it’s purely dollars, MLB would have to have it beat, one would assume.  If McCourt gets a thumb on the scale in his favor as the current owner, however, it may not matter.

The point to all of this, of course, is that if the court decides that MLB’s financing is going to rule the day, it will likely mean that McCourt’s days of calling the shots are over or soon will be.

Updates as warranted.

Nationals fire reigning Manager of the Year Matt Williams

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.

Today the Nationals fired him following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.

His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.

Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.

Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.

Dan Haren plans to retire after the playoffs are over

Dan Haren
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Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.

At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.

However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.

Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.