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.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.