Major League Baseball filed a response to Frank McCourt’s motion from yesterday, claiming that McCourt is engaging in “harassment” and that his claims for various documents related to how Major League Baseball treated other teams with liquidity issues as irrelevant and frivolous.
Overall, the league is clearly trying to keep Frank McCourt’s financial irresponsibility as the central issue in this case, reiterating how the Dodgers’ problems are all of his doing. And they offered a new little tidbit: that even though the Dodgers’ financial crunch was readily apparent by early this year, McCourt tried to take another $20 million out of the team. Which wouldn’t shock me a bit, actually, because that’s just how Frank rolls.
I would expect this kind of back and forth to continue between now and July 20th, when the next hearing is scheduled. I would also expect that, by then, we’ll know the cut of the judge’s jib too.
If he indulges McCourt’s apparently massive discovery requests, we’ll likely have an ugly and protracted bit of litigation on our hands, because McCourt and his lawyers could likely find all kinds of ways to gum this up into a document-intensive case if given the latitude. If, on the other hand, he smacks McCourt’s motion down, it will be a sign that he’s not too crazy about his claims of unfair and disparate treatment by Bud Selig, which could bode ill for McCourt’s future as the Dodgers’ owner.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.
Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.
The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.
Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.