Mark Cuban isn't just playing: he's a serious bidder for the Rangers

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There was a big, acrimonious hearing in Fort Worth yesterday regarding the timing and procedures of the auction to sell the Rangers. Something fun happened during the hearing: some lawyer showed up and as if he were Scott Boras or someone said that he represented an “undisclosed bidder.”  That bidder has turned out to be Mark Cuban.

We’ve recently talked about his interest in the team, but given how Cuban is with the media, there was some reason to suspect that he was just thinking out loud and wasn’t all that serious.  That’s apparently not the case if he’s hiring lawyers to make appearances in bankruptcy court in an effort to impact when and how the auction of the Rangers will be held.

Lawyers for Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan did what what they could to discount Cuban’s interest, dismissively saying he’s been “discussed for weeks,” and they’re clearly trying to spread the word in the media that Major League Baseball may not approve of him, but they have to be nervous.

Nervous if Cuban makes overtures to them about joining their group because if he does — and if they realize that, crap, they need him — the camel’s nose is under the tent and he’s going to be an active part of the ownership group whether they like it or not.  Nervous because if he gets involved — and if he decides to go it on his own or with another bidder — his cash reserves will certainly out-strip anything they can muster.

The proceedings in bankruptcy court have gotten so convoluted that even I and my fancy-schmancy law degree aren’t able to really follow them anymore, but Mark Cuban represents a form of chaos, and chaos is the last thing Greenberg and Ryan need more of.

Giants making Brandon Belt available

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Giants have made first baseman Brandon Belt available in a trade and says that several teams have expressed interest in him.

Which is kind of weird, really.

Belt turns 31 early next season. He hit .253/.342/.414 with 14 homers over 112 games last year due to a knee injury and time lost to an appendectomy. He has a history of concussions and has averaged only 115 games over the last five seasons. Oh, and makes $48 million over the next three years.

Yes, he could be a very useful player if healthy, but taking on that kind of money, even a part of that money, when many very affordable first base/DH options are out there on the market makes little sense to me. Matt Adams. Justin Bour. Lucas Duda. As good as Belt? No, I don’t think so. But way cheaper and requiring less of a commitment.

But hey, rumors are rumors. Let a thousand flowers bloom.