McCourt, MLB talking settlement, sale of team

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Yesterday we learned that the Dodgers trial set for Monday has been postponed for a month. Today Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times reports why that is:

The Dodgers’ bankruptcy trial has been postponed for one month so Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball can explore a possible settlement under which McCourt would agree to sell the team, multiple people familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

This would be pretty huge. But as Shaikin notes, it may not go anywhere. The problem is that McCourt is so deeply in debt that he may not break even unless the team sells for $1 billion. And Major League Baseball is not at all interested in subsidizing McCourt and/or guaranteeing some minimum price for the team.  If McCourt thinks he can’t get that kind of return — and it seems pretty high in this environment — he may think it better to just hunker down, fight and try to keep the team until it can appreciate more.

But talks, even troubled ones, are better than nothing. And for the first time we have a suggestion that, yes, Frank McCourt would be willing to walk away if it made sense to do so. And that’s the most hope we’ve had about anything in this sordid affair for a long time.

Padres acquire Phil Hughes from Twins

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Twins right-hander Phil Hughes is headed to the Padres, according to announcements from both teams on Sunday. The Padres will also receive the 74th overall draft pick and cash considerations from the Twins, who are getting minor league catcher Janigson Villalobos in return. Minnesota is expected to absorb $7.5 million of Hughes’ $22 million contract; per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, they’ll take on his remaining salary for the 2018 season and pay an additional $5.7 million in 2019.

Hughes, 31, is far from the 16-win, sub-4.00 ERA hurler the Twins enjoyed in 2014. He hasn’t pitched more than 60 innings in any season since 2015, due in part to multiple bouts of back stiffness and shoulder surgeries. He was designated for assignment last week after missing significant time with a left oblique strain and delivering a 6.75 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 6.0 SO/9 through his first 12 innings of 2018.

Villalobos, meanwhile, will provide the Twins with some depth as he continues to work his way through the minor league system. The 21-year-old backstop recently completed a circuit with the Padres’ rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League, slashing .275/.367/.388 with eight extra bases and a .755 OPS in 98 PA.

The real get for the Padres isn’t Hughes (even with much of his salary already accounted for), but the Competitive Balance B selection in next week’s amateur draft. As MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell points out, the club lost their second-round pick after inking Eric Hosmer to a massive eight-year, $144 million deal back in February.