Combination of file photos of Frank and Jamie McCourt during their divorce trial in Los Angeles

Frank and Jamie McCourt reach a settlement over Dodgers ownership

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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.

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.