Good story over at the Los Angeles Times today illustrating just how gnarly things can get when litigation ensues, even if you think you have the clear high ground going in.
The upshot: Major League Baseball has been very sharp in its legal briefs thus far saying what we all know: Frank McCourt is undercapitalized and has used his team as a personal cash cow. McCourt’s logical response: “I ain’t the only one.” And he’s likely to seek the financials from other teams to prove it. Bill Shaikin notes that the Marlins may be particularly interesting given how clearly Jeff Loria was steered into the ownership chair of that team and how little of the Marlins’ revenue sharing money has been spent for baseball purposes.
In other McCourt news, there was apparently a hearing in the case this morning. It was mostly about schedules and boring stuff like that, but apparently McCourt’s lawyers argued that the Dodgers’ late season play — they’re going to finish over .500 — and the fact that Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp are leading candidates for postseason awards vindicates his management of the team and shows that it has not been harmed.
I don’t think that gets him very far — the business health of the team is every bit as important, if not more so, than the baseball health for the purposes of this proceeding — but I’m gonna be really mad if Kemp and Kershaw are even partially responsible for McCourt holding on to the Dodgers. They’re two of my favorite players right now, but I don’t think that can remain the case if that happens.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.