UPDATE: Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the sale will not close today, as originally expected. No reason for panic, though, as the sale is not in danger and should close early tomorrow.
In other exciting Dodgers’ news, Matt Kemp hit his 12th home run of the season in the first inning tonight against the Rockies.
Saturday, 1:34 p.m. ET: Rejoice Dodgers’ fans, as the painful and tumultuous reign of Frank McCourt is set to come to an end Monday.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times passes along word that yesterday was the deadline for objections to be filed to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on the pending deal which will transfer ownership of the franchise from McCourt to Guggenheim Baseball Partners, a group led by Mark Walter, Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson. No such objections were filed, though, so the final major hurdle was effectively crossed.
Attorneys for Guggenheim, McCourt and MLB are still working through extensive documentation on the sale, but the expectation is that the new ownership group will be in place by the time the Dodgers take the field against the Rockies on Monday night.
The Guggenheim group agreed to purchase the Dodgers from McCourt for $2.15 billion, a new record for a sports franchise. McCourt is required to pay $131 million of that haul to his ex-wife, Jamie, on Monday as part of their divorce settlement.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.
Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.
The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.
Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.