SPORTSbyBROOKS has been told by multiple sources that MLB has reached out to AEG to inquire about the feasibility of building a new ballpark in downtown Los Angeles for the Dodgers.
AEG is the owner of the Staples Center, home of the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, in downtown L.A. and has already proposed to the city a plan to build an NFL stadium in the same area. MLB is looking to get involved as a way of getting Frank McCourt out of Dodgers business for good.
McCourt, who has taken the Dodgers into bankruptcy proceedings, not only owns the team, but he also owns the land occupied by Dodger Stadium. Some have suggested that even if MLB succeeds in wrenching the franchise away from him, it could create a situation in which the new owner is forced to pay McCourt rent.
Talks between MLB and AEG remain in the formative stage, but I’ve been told that if such a plan were carried out, AEG would not have a controlling ownership interest in the Dodgers.
Dodger Stadium has been the home to the Dodgers since 1962, making it baseball’s third oldest ballpark behind Fenway and Wrigley. In 2008, McCourt and the Dodgers announced a $500 million project to restore the area around the stadium and the creation of a new museum, with the idea the renovations would be completed for the 50th anniversary in 2012. However, those plans almost entirely fell apart.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.