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.
Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun had three more years of arbitration eligibility left, but he and the Angels decided to settle that future business at once on Wednesday, agreeing to a three-year extension worth $26 million, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The contract also includes a $14 million club option for the 2020 season.
Calhoun, 29, has been a dependable right fielder for the Angels over the last three seasons, batting an aggregate .266/.327/.436 with 61 home runs and 216 RBI in 1,895 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, Calhoun has been the ninth-most valuable right fielder in baseball since the start of the 2014 season with 11.4 Wins Above Replacement. He ranks slightly behind Giancarlo Stanton (11.9) and just ahead of J.D. Martinez (10.9).
The Angels only have a handful of players signed beyond the 2017 season — just Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, and Calhoun. The club has options on Ricky Nolasco and Huston Street, while many others will be eligible for arbitration.
Nothing is happening as the baseball world waits four more hours for the Hall of Fame announcement. Question: why do it at 6pm? For MLB Network ratings? Let’s be real, there are “Golden Girls” reruns on third-tier basic cable that are gonna draw a bigger audience. Why not announce it now so people can get on with their lives? Oh well.
As we wait, let’s take a look in at Twitter, where Jim Bowden of ESPN passes along the rumor that the Washington Nationals are still interested in signing Matt Wieters and Greg Holland:
Great to know that the Nats’ baseball operations budget is dictated by its capital expenditures. Maybe they shoulda been smart like the Braves and suckered — er, I mean negotiated the local government to pay more for it? GO BRAVES!
Anyway, Bryce Harper had a response to that:
I take that to mean that he’d take the money used to construct the team store and give to Wieters and Holland. I haven’t seen the budget breakdown for the new spring training facility, but that would probably mean a major pay cut for Wieters and Holland. And where would we buy our “Make Baseball Great Again” caps? Think ahead, Bryce. Play the long game here.