Of all of the litigation in which Frank McCourt is currently involved, the one in which I’m most staunchly on his side is his malpractice action — or malpractice action to-be — against the lawyers that handled the property distribution agreement between him and his wife.
As became clear during the divorce trial, one lawyer’s switching out copies of the agreement to fix what appeared to be a drafting mistake, rather than have Frank and Jamie re-execute a corrected agreement, was the turning point. It gave Jamie McCourt the opportunity — disingenuously in my view — to argue that she was always entitled to half of the Dodgers. But because of lawyer’s actions the judge was left with little choice but to set the agreement aside and treat the Dodgers as community property. That’s malpractice, pure and simple.
We’re not quite to the point where that’s being litigated, but Frank McCourt is in court today to make sure that day comes. The law firm sued him first, actually, claiming unpaid fees and hoping to head off the malpractice claim. Today Frank is trying to have the fee claim dismissed so he can proceed. And it’s important that he win it: he took a $30 million personal loan from Fox earlier this year, secured by the proceeds from the lawsuit. Risky as hell, but that’s Frank.
Anyway, Bill Shaikin, as usual, has the full story. Let us all enjoy the brief period in which we can actually root for Frank McCourt.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.