After a day in which the Dodgers mess got messier, word seeps out that Frank McCourt is mulling — had mulled? will mull? — selling a minority stake in the team in order to infuse the organization with cash and preserve his place in the ownership chair.
Of course this is all too little too late. It took the Mets months to pull this off and they had a unanimity in ownership and no court interference as they identified and courted an investor. Frank McCourt has nine days until the check comes due and even if a magical fairy floated down from the treetops tomorrow with a briefcase full of cash, any sale of a minority stake in the team would have to go through Jamie and a divorce court and through Bud Selig who is obviously not inclined to do McCourt any favors. Oh: and given how leveraged McCourt and the Dodgers are, how much cash could a sale of a stake of the team truly bring him? The balance sheet is an utter train wreck.
So, nope, this isn’t happening. At least not in any kind of time frame that will help McCourt. It’s either lose the team or litigate at this point. Or both.
Oh, and don’t think for a minute Bud isn’t watching you, Frank. He’s got his eye on you buddy …
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.