Tom Schieffer’s to-do list for the Dodgers

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Josh Fisher of Dodger Divorce has a guest column up over at ESPN today in which he outlines what the new Dodgers’ Lord Protector Tom Schieffer needs to do in order to restore order at Chavez Ravine.

It’s a pretty exhaustive list. But , for the purposes of the outside observer who is more interested in the McCourt saga as cautionary tale than anything else, the recitation of the details of the McCourts’ mismanagement of the Dodgers Josh provides along the is arguably more important than the next steps. Because, boy howdy, is it easy to forget them when new things keep rolling in day after day.  They can kind of all be summed up in this item:

It is clear that the McCourts did not separate their personal finances from club operations, and figuring out how to keep Dodgers revenue inside the organization might be both Schieffer’s most important and most difficult task. Potentially complicating his efforts are the numerous debt instruments encumbering various revenue streams, such as ticket sales.

This is why Frank McCourt’s public statements — which he has amped up this week — are almost all misleading. He and his wife set the Dodgers up to funnel money out of the team and into either into allied businesses or subsidiaries or into his own coffers. Between the holding companies, LLCs and the complex debt arrangements, he is able to make broadly truthful statements about the state of the team which are nonetheless misleading or, at the very most, less-than-illuminating.

Josh notes a particular one: McCourt has been accused of taking $100 million out of the team for personal use. Frank says that’s not true. Josh shows that, yeah, once you figure in the debt guarantees the team has given the McCourts, it really is. In other words: Frank McCourt has zero credibility on this stuff.

Great work by Josh both in breaking this all down and in suggesting how it can be built back up.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.