Back in October 2011 Jamie and Frank McCourt settled their dispute over ownership of the Dodgers. At the time it seemed like Jamie got a fairly decent deal. She got $131 million out of it despite the fact that her claims to true joint ownership of the team were somewhat tenuous and despite the fact that, at the time, all of Frank’s debts and the Dodgers’ debts — something on the order of $800 million worth — looked like a sale of the team wouldn’t bring anything close to a windfall. Heck, McCourt looked like he’d maybe — maybe — break even.
But then something hilarious happened: Frank sold the team for $2.15 billion, which was way, way more than Jamie or most other folks figured he’d get for it. When that happened Jamie went running back to court to try to reopen the settlement, claiming fraud and all sorts of other things, but really just wanting a bigger piece of all of that Dodgers money.
The judge ruled yesterday. Sorry, Jamie. From Bill Shaikin at the Los Angeles Times:
Jamie McCourt asked that the divorce settlement be thrown out, alleging Frank McCourt misled her about the value of the team and its assets. In his ruling, Gordon said there was “no credible evidence” to support those allegations and noted that Jamie McCourt had been involved in team and RSN valuations in her capacity as a high-ranking Dodgers executive.
When you think about it, Jamie did herself in. For a couple of years during the divorce fight, Jamie portrayed herself as a true co-owner and a wrongfully-fired Dodgers executive. She even argued for a long time that she actually wanted ownership of the Dodgers when it was all settled, not just a cashout. Then, to turn around and say that she was a mere babe in the woods when it came to complicated things like baseball teams and TV rights and that bad old Frank misled her about it all is pretty much the definition of chutzpah.
Frank McCourt is not my idea of a hero, but gee whiz, he’s got nothing on Jamie in the “can you believe this?” department.
New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.
Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.
The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.
It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.
Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.
The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.
Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.
Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.
Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.
While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.
Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.