Big surprise: Frank McCourt to keep the Dodgers running with a crappy loan

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Frank McCourt, who knows from crappy loans, received one for $150 million in order to meet payroll on the 30th and to keep the team running while the bankruptcy proceeds through its paces, reports the Wall Street Journal.  Some basic questions you may have, followed by the best answer I have (again, bankruptcy types, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong):

First question: How in the hell did Frank McCourt get a loan? I thought he was tapped out!

Answer: It’s a special bankruptcy loan for debtors in possession. These things happen frequently. The moment the bankruptcy goes down, the lender of such a beast goes to the front of the line for payment. It would not have been available before a filing, as a lender would then be behind all of the other creditors. The idea: better to favor a post-bankruptcy lender than to have no one get paid.

Second question: What makes this a crappy loan?

Answer: The interest rate for starters, which at 10% is higher than your usual debtor-in-possession financing. Even Borders bookstore, which is basically in a dying industry, got a better deal. Also the fact that McCourt had to pay the lender a $4.5 million fee on top of it all. Also because McCourt had to put a lien on Dodger Stadium and offer personal guarantees on the load too.

Third question: Why such bad terms?

Answer: Apparently because no one else would lend him the money, preferential treatment aside.  According to the Wall Street Journal, a J.P. Morgan-affiliated hedge fund — Highbridge Principal Strategies — was the only entity willing to do business with Mr. McCourt. Maybe next time he should call Moneytree, where lenders compete for your business!

What? You mean he called Moneytree already?  And they pretended they weren’t home?  Awwwkwaaard.

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.”