Frank McCourt takes a $30 million loan from FOX in order to meet payroll

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FOX used to own the Dodgers. At this rate, they’re going to own them again someday soon:

Frank McCourt took a $30-million loan this week from Fox to meet the Dodgers’ payroll obligations, according to three people briefed on the arrangement. The arrangement is expected to cover the Dodgers’ expenses into next month … The loan marks the second time since the end of last season that Fox has provided money to the Dodgers’ owner so he could cover expenses. The loan was furnished to McCourt personally rather than to the Dodgers, according to the people briefed on the deal.

And because it was a personal loan, it did not require the approval of Major League Baseball.  Baseball is still mulling, however, whether it will allow McCourt to settle his legal problems by taking a big chunk of cash from a new TV right deal for Dodgers telecasts on FOX and diverting it to Jamie McCourt and whoever the hell else Frank owes money too.

If I’m Bud, I wait this out. If he’s taking month-to-month personal loans to cover payroll, Frank is going to go bankrupt very soon and he’ll be forced to sell the Dodgers like Tom Hicks did. Sure, it may not be fabulous to have a marquee franchise in bankruptcy court, but as the Rangers showed, the process is survivable. And, once free from McCourt, the Dodgers could easily become a lucrative property once again.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”