Well, we weren’t expecting this. From out of the blue comes an offer — all cash — to Frank McCourt to sell the Dodgers. It’s for $1.2 billion, and it comes from a man named Bill Burke. Burke, who is the founder of the Los Angeles Marathon, is backed by “certain state-owned investment institutions of the People’s Republic of China” and other investors, Bill Shaikin reports. Which probably means that Burke is just the figurehead/American face of the deal.
According to my friend (and Los Angeles resident and native) Bob Timmermann, Burke is married to former Los Angeles County Superintendent Yvonne Brathwaite Burke. The Burkes remain big players in Democratic politics, Mr. Timmermann says. I would assume this means that he’s not just some crazy rich person looking for attention.
The deal is reportedly for everything, including the team, the ballpark and the surrounding real estate. McCourt has no comment and it’s unclear whether he’s open to selling.
But jeez, it’s not every day that someone offers you $1.2 billion in cash. Assuming it’s something Major League Baseball would be receptive to — and why would they not be? — how could McCourt turn this down given all of the financial challenges he currently faces?
First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.
Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.