Major League Baseball is trying to force a sale of the Dodgers and has even threatened to drum them out of the league. But I don’t think either of those things present as serious a threat to Frank McCourt as this does:
Fox Sports filed suit against the Dodgers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court late Tuesday, alleging the team has breached its current television contract in pursuit of a new one. … The suit asks that the court reject any such sale except in accordance with the current contract, under which Fox retains exclusive negotiating rights through November 2012 as well as the right to match any other offer. The auction process proposed by McCourt and his attorneys would not honor those rights.
McCourt’s only hope of coming out of this is getting a new, lucrative TV deal. If he can’t auction the rights and, instead, has to deal with only Fox in a situation where they have all the leverage, I don’t see how the Dodgers emerge from bankruptcy with McCourt at the helm. Or, if they do, I don’t see how they do it without effectively becoming a small market team.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.