Dodgers vendor asks bankruptcy court for protection

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The big foam fingers at Dodger Stadium might have a different digit raised next season.

With attendence well down at Chavez Ravine, Facility Merchandising Inc. isn’t feeling so good about the eight-year deal it signed with the Dodgers prior to the 2010 season.  It’s asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to intervene on its behalf as the Dodgers continue their bankruptcy proceedings.

FMI’s deal with the Dodgers guarantees it a minimum of $4.5 million per year through 2017, but the company claims it will lose about $2.5 million over the first two seasons of the agreement.  Now the company is worried that the potential for future gains could be wiped out by the Dodgers walking away from the contract, something that could happen through bankruptcy law.  According to the Los Angeles Times, FMI wants the Dodgers to decide whether to honor or reject the contract by the end of the season, before the company has to make this year’s payments to the Dodgers and buy next year’s merchandise.

The Dodgers argued in a court filing that FMI in leveraging the bankruptcy to try to redo the contract, with included no attendence benchmarks.  Dodger Stadium merchandise revenue is down 25 percent this year, but there’s nothing in the agreement to protect FMI against such a decline.

A hearing is set for Aug. 16.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.