Frank McCourt’s multi-front war to maintain control over the Los Angeles Dodgers just got a bit simpler: according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Frank and Jamie McCourt have reached a settlement regarding ownership of the Dodgers. The deal has Frank paying Jamie $130 million in exchange for her giving up a claim to ownership of the team.
Where Frank gets $130 million is an open question, but one has to think that Jamie was worried about the future. A future in which, due to how encumbered the Dodgers are, her half-ownership stake in the team could be worth very little, thus rendering $130 million a more palatable option. That is, if her half-ownership stake in the team was upheld to begin with. One hundred and thirty million birds in the hand are worth more than more in the bush, as they say.
As for Frank, this makes life a bit easier. While, yes, he still has to face Bud Selig and Major League Baseball in the final boss battle in bankruptcy court, if McCourt wins that and is able to maintain control of the team, he doesn’t have to then face Jaime in the superboss battle afterward.
For everyone else this puts to an end the sordidness and drama that has driven the entire McCourt/Dodgers/litigation fiasco for the past two years. Yes, the bankruptcy and Major League Baseball’s efforts to wrest control of the Dodgers from McCourt pose a more serious threat than anything else now, but it was the divorce and the attendant publicity that set all of this off, injected tabloid-style nastiness into the equation, turned Frank McCourt’s name into mud and so thoroughly turned off so many Dodgers fans.
And now it’s all over. At least, that is, if this settlement gets put to bed neatly. Which, given that the McCourts are involved, is no sure bet.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.