Happy Frank and Jamie McCourt trial day!

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Roger Clemens’ arraignment isn’t the only baseball related court thingee going on today. The McCourt trial starts too. At stake: the very future of the Dodgers.

Frank says the team is his. Jamie says it’s theirs. If he wins, the status quo will reign, and the Dodgers can keep on skimping on the free agent market like they have been, Frank can keep taking all kinds of money out of the team for whatever reason and the Dodgers can generally fail to put their revenue to its highest and best use from a baseball perspective. If she wins, someone’s going to have to buy someone out, so things will get worse. It’s truly inspiring!

Less-flippantly, the key question at issue will be the
validity of a post-nuptial agreement signed by the couple in
March 2004.  On its face it appears to bear out Frank’s position: Jamie got all the real estate and insulation from creditors who might go after the Dodgers one day, Frank got the team. The wrinkle: Jamie’s lawyers said recently that “newly discovered documents” change all of this, and she does too own the team.

The nuances behind all of that are complicated, but People Who Know Things tell me that Jamie’s lawyers are out to lunch on this and that Frank is in a strong position. In my experience, late-discovered documents like that are almost always either (a) irrelevant; or (b) outright bogus.  Ask yourself: if there really was a document that truly changed the equation in this regard, why would we have only heard about it a couple of weeks ago?  Sounds like posturing to me.

In any event, this case has a far bigger potential to impact baseball than the Clemens thing does, as the future of one of the game’s marquee franchises is at stake. If you can stand it, keep your eyes on it.  If not, by all means, click back here because I’ll be updating as events warrant.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.