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.
After the Cubs won the World Series last month — their first since 1908 — owner Tom Ricketts said he plans to reach out to Steve Bartman to provide “closure.”
Bartman was the fan who interfered with left fielder Moises Alou’s attempt to catch a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS against the Marlins. Alou was particularly irate about Bartman’s presence and it led to the fan becoming persona non grata in Chicago. In the time since, even before the Cubs won the World Series, the club has tried to make amends but Bartman has rejected offers to speak publicly and he has also rejected invitations to Wrigley Field.
Alou pledged to make time to attend any ceremony the Cubs stage for Bartman, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times reports.
Alou said, “Why not? I’d like to meet Bartman.” He continued, “I have nothing against the guy. I said it right after the game. I had the ball, and I got upset, but at the same time it’s not that kid’s fault. Everybody goes to the ballpark, and they bring a glove. Every wants to catch a fly ball.” However, He still maintains that he would have caught the ball if he had not been impeded.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.
Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.
The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.