File photo of Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt speaking at a news conference about increased security at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles

Frank McCourt calls MLB financing “a deal with the devil”

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One thing you learn pretty quick as a litigator is that, just because you can say something, doesn’t mean you should.  At least in court filings, where sometimes one’s rhetorical flourishes can go too damn far. Where one’s zealousness to make a sharp point leads one to say something in writing that they would never (one hopes) say to a person’s face.  I have this feeling Frank McCourt’s lawyers are about to be reminded of this, because the filing they just made with the bankruptcy court is over the top.

I haven’t read it yet — and given its length I may not —  but Eric Fisher of SportsBusiness Journal is tweeting the highlights from it, and he came across a doozy.  In arguing against the idea of allowing Major League Baseball to finance the operations of the Dodgers during the pendency of the case, McCourt argues that “it is well within [the Dodgers] business judgment to decline such a ‘deal with the devil.’ ”

That deal would be with Major League Baseball and its Commissioner Bud Selig.  Who, yeah, has been called a lot of things before, but I’m not sure he’s been called “the devil.” And certainly not by a major league owner.  And I’m guessing that a Delaware bankruptcy judge isn’t used to having a putatively sophisticated litigant before him who tosses around that kind of hyperbole in briefs during the preliminary rounds of a complicated business case.

In their weight, McCourt’s multiple arguments that he, and not Major League Baseball, is the more responsible steward of the Los Angeles Dodgers are laughable.  I mean, you can only say “up is down and black is white” so many times before you lose all credibility.  But I have this feeling that referring to an alternative financing plan — one that has better terms than the one he is offering — as “a deal with the devil” is going to make the judge pretty angry and put a big dent in whatever credibility McCourt and his legal team has at the moment.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.