The Dodgers and MLB are in court today

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As I type this, a big hearing is going down in the Dodgers’ bankruptcy case. It’s the one in which — or after which — it will be decided who gets to bankroll the Dodgers’ operations during the pendency of the case.  Frank McCourt and the $150 million loan he has obtained or Major League Baseball and the $150 million — and possibly more in the future — it has offered to extend to the Dodgers.

As we’ve noted several times, on purely financial terms MLB’s financing is better. Lower interest and no up-front fees like that McCourt would have to pay for his proposed financing. And that matters, because the more money lost to such costs, the less available to creditors of the bankrupt Dodgers (and the interest of the creditors is the primary interest being served in bankruptcy).

Over the past few weeks McCourt has been trying to compensate for these differences by arguing that MLB’s financing is part of a plot by Bud Selig — who he called “the devil” in a filing earlier this week — to shove McCourt aside as the team’s owner. Meanwhile, the creditors and the trustee representing them have asked the judge not to approve McCourt’s financing. It’s been a pretty ugly little battle. (UPDATE: right after I wrote this, the creditors withdrew their objections, noting that McCourt’s financier has lowered the interest rate a point).

But it likely won’t be resolved by a simple decision from the judge, approving one loan and rejecting the other.  As Bill Shaikin notes in a very useful primer of today’s hearing, the judge could ask for modifications to either side or go in a totally different direction if he wants.

What is clear, however, is that if one side’s financing is clearly favored, that side will have a much greater hand in steering the future course of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Rockies acquire Zac Rosscup from Cubs

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The Rockies announced a minor swap of relief pitchers on Monday evening. The Cubs sent lefty Zac Rosscup to the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Matt Carasiti.

Rosscup, 29, was designated for assignment by the Cubs last Thursday. He spent only two-thirds of an inning in the majors this year and has a 5.32 career ERA across 47 1/3 innings. Rosscup has spent most of the season with Triple-A Iowa, posting a 2.60 ERA in 27 2/3 innings.

Carasiti, 25, spent 15 2/3 innings in the majors last year, putting up an ugly 9.19 ERA. With Triple-A Albuquerque this season, he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 43/13 K/BB ratio in 30 1/3 innings.

U.S. Court of Appeals affirms ruling that the minor leagues are exempt from federal antitrust law

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The Associated Press reported that on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a district court ruling which holds that the minor leagues are exempt from federal antitrust law, just like the major leagues.

In 2015, four minor leaguers sued Major League Baseball, alleging that MLB violated antitrust laws with its hiring and employment policies. They accused MLB of “restrain[ing] horizontal competition between and among” franchises and “artificially and illegally depressing” the salaries of minor league players.

The U.S. Court of Appeals said the players failed to state an antitrust claim, as the Curt Flood Act of 1998 exempted Minor League Baseball explicitly from antitrust laws.

This case is separate from the Aaron Senne case in which Major League Baseball is accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. That case was recertified as a class action lawsuit in March. In December, Major League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC), which came months after two members of Congress sought to change language in the FLSA so that minor league players could continue to be paid substandard wages.