From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale comes this intriguing update on the looming sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers:
Hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen emerged Wednesday as the strongest bidder to purchase the Dodgers, and plans to hire Tony La Russa to a key front-office position, according to two Major League Baseball officials familiar with the process but unauthorized to speak publicly.
La Russa has been looking to get back into baseball in a non-managing capacity since retiring from the Cardinals after winning the 2011 World Series. He has turned down a number of cushy job offers, including one from Major League Baseball to fill the executive role that was recently vacated by Joe Torre.
And now we probably know why La Russa is keeping his schedule so wide open.
Cohen, who founded Capital Advisors and is worth $8.3 billion according to Fortune Magazine, reportedly bid $1.6 billion for rights to the Dodgers. There are three other potential ownership groups still in the running, including one headed by Magic Johnson and veteran MLB and NBA executive Stan Kasten.
UPDATE, 10:04 PM: Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times is hearing that La Russa would be put in charge of baseball operations with longtime sports agent Arn Tellem serving as team president.
Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are close to acquiring pitcher Vidal Nuno from the Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Ryan Moseley.
Nuno, 29, went to the Dodgers from the Mariners in the Carlos Ruiz trade this past November. He and the Dodgers avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $1.125 million salary for the 2017 season. The left-hander finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.53 ERA and a 51/11 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings spanning one start and 54 relief appearances.
Nuno will provide the Orioles starting pitching depth and could serve as a valuable left-handed option out of the bullpen.
Moseley, 22, played his first season of professional baseball in the New York Penn League last year. In 12 relief appearances, he put up a 3.20 ERA and an 18/9 K/BB ratio across 19 2/3 innings. The Orioles selected him in the eighth round of the 2016 draft.
Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that Mets GM Sandy Alderson and second baseman Neil Walker‘s agent have been in contact about a contract extension as recently as Saturday. The extension is reportedly three years, including the 2017 season, and “north of $40 million,” according to Ackert’s source.
Walker, 31, accepted the Mets’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. He’s coming off one of the better seasons of his eight-year career, finishing with a .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line along with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. Walker’s season ended in late August as he underwent a lumbar microdisectomy.