Of all of the litigation in which Frank McCourt is currently involved, the one in which I’m most staunchly on his side is his malpractice action — or malpractice action to-be — against the lawyers that handled the property distribution agreement between him and his wife.
As became clear during the divorce trial, one lawyer’s switching out copies of the agreement to fix what appeared to be a drafting mistake, rather than have Frank and Jamie re-execute a corrected agreement, was the turning point. It gave Jamie McCourt the opportunity — disingenuously in my view — to argue that she was always entitled to half of the Dodgers. But because of lawyer’s actions the judge was left with little choice but to set the agreement aside and treat the Dodgers as community property. That’s malpractice, pure and simple.
We’re not quite to the point where that’s being litigated, but Frank McCourt is in court today to make sure that day comes. The law firm sued him first, actually, claiming unpaid fees and hoping to head off the malpractice claim. Today Frank is trying to have the fee claim dismissed so he can proceed. And it’s important that he win it: he took a $30 million personal loan from Fox earlier this year, secured by the proceeds from the lawsuit. Risky as hell, but that’s Frank.
Anyway, Bill Shaikin, as usual, has the full story. Let us all enjoy the brief period in which we can actually root for Frank McCourt.
Yesterday free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki held a workout in California and representatives from at least eleven teams were on hand, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo. Among the clubs present: the Giants — who were said to have a “heavy presence,” including team president Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy — the Angels, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, White Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, Tigers and Pirates.
Your first reaction to that may be “Um, really? For Tulowitzki?” But a moment’s reflection makes it seem more sensible. We’re so tied up in thinking of a player through the filter of their contract and, when we’ve done that with Tulowitzki over the past several years, it has made him seem like an albatross given the $20 million+ a year he was earning to either not play or play rather poorly due to injuries.
It was just the contract that was the albatross, though, right? An almost free Tulowitzki — which he will be given that the Blue Jays are paying him $38 million over the next two seasons — is a different matter. If you sign him it’ll be for almost no real money and he stands a chance to be an average or maybe better-than-average shortstop, which is pretty darn valuable. You might even get one quirky late career return-to-near-glory season from him, in which case you’ve hit the lottery. If, however, as seems more likely, he just can’t get it done at all, you’re not out anything and you can cut him with little or no pain.
Eleven teams think he’s at least a look-see. I bet one of them will offer him a major league deal. Maybe more than one. He’ll probably have his pick of non-roster invites to spring training. I can’t see the downside to at least doing that much.