mccourt reuters

Bud Selig threatens to terminate Dodgers from MLB if Frank McCourt does not sell

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The only thing that can save current Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is a high-dollar and stable new television contract — one that will bring financial security to a club buried in bankruptcy court.

Well aware of that fact and still craving an ownership change, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has made his most aggressive move yet, threatening to terminate the Dodgers from the league if McCourt does not sell the team. This according to Maury Brown, founder of The Biz of Baseball.

Selig would never actually go through with it. He’s not going to give the boot to a franchise with a cherished 128-year history and further alienate an already frustrated fanbase. But the threat of termination alone is sure to scare away any potential investors who might have helped McCourt climb his way back to respectability. And that includes television networks.

McCourt is planning a response, the language of which could turn ugly now that the 58-year-old divorcee has been backed into a corner. But what’s been apparent all along is now even more indubitable: McCourt is cooked. Fried. Roasted. Because the club he’s owned since 2004 is nothing without the league it’s part of, and landing a television deal is going to be near impossible for a team labeled — even falsely — as doomed.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.