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.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Dodgers have acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz and cash from the Phillies in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis, minor league pitcher Tommy Bergjans, and a player to be named later. It was reported on Wednesday that Ruiz and first baseman Ryan Howard both cleared waivers and that Ruiz was drawing interest from a couple of teams.
Ruiz, 37, has served as the backup catcher behind Cameron Rupp. Over 193 plate appearances, he hit .261/.368/.352. He continued to play solid defense and has always had a reputation for handling his pitchers very well. In fact, in a commercial for the video game MLB 2k11, former Phillie Roy Halladay essentially professed his love for Ruiz:
Ellis, 35, is a free agent after the season while Ruiz has a club option for the 2017 season worth $4.5 million. It seems likely that the Dodgers pick up that option and make Ruiz Grandal’s backup next year. Ellis hit a lousy .194/.285/.252 in 161 plate appearances, but the Phillies aren’t particularly concerned with his production since they’re still facilitating their rebuilding process.
Bergjans, 23, has spent the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He’s posted a 4.98 ERA with a 133/29 K/BB ratio in 130 innings spanning 21 starts and three relief appearances. He went to school in Haverford, PA so the Phillies are bringing in a local guy.
Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista has been activated from the 15-day disabled list ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Angels, the club announced. Utilityman Ryan Goins has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to create room on the roster.
Bautista missed the minimum 15 days due to a sprained left knee. He’s battled injuries throughout the season, limiting him to just 355 plate appearances over 80 games. He’ll resume play with a .222/.349/.444 triple-slash line, 15 home runs, and 48 RBI.
Bautista is in Thursday night’s starting lineup, batting first and serving as the DH.