Frank McCourt said to have “no chance” to make the June 30 payroll

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Frank McCourt scrimped and saved — wait, no he didn’t; he borrowed — to make payroll at the end of May.  He is said to be fine for the mid-June payroll due tomorrow too, so good for him.  That business with the Manny Ramirez payment coming due at the end of the month, however, makes things dire, one would think.

Yep: according to Bill Shaikin, the Dodgers have “no chance” to meet the June 30 payroll unless that Fox contract is approved. That according to a person “familiar with McCourt’s finances but not authorized to discuss them.”

So, it may take a month longer than expected, but barring an unexpected court ruling in the next two weeks (a) barring Jamie McCourt from objecting to the Fox deal; and (b) ruling that Major League Baseball has no right to approve or disapprove of Dodgers financial decisions, McCourt is going to lose his team at the end of the month.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.