Billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen is going to bid on the Dodgers

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If I had $8 billion to my name, you can pretty much assume that I’d be buying a baseball team. Don’t care which one, even. I’d buy one and hire all of my baseball man-crushes to run it and/or play for it and I’d sit in the owner’s box with the kind of women who like to hang out with octbillionaires while eating and drinking like I was a Roman emperor and there’s nothing you could do to stop me.

Connecticut-based hedge fund manager Steven Cohen has eight billion dollars. He may not have the same vision I have about how he’d behave as a baseball owner, but he certainly wants a baseball team. Or so says the L.A. Times. And he is serious about it:

Steven Cohen, a billionaire eight times over, is bidding for the Dodgers in a process tilted toward the high bidder. However, the East Coast hedge-fund executive is not content to let his wealth speak for itself. He has engaged one of America’s notable sports architecture firms to propose renovations to Dodger Stadium, allied himself with one of baseball’s power brokers, secured the support of at least two prominent Angelenos and met with several major league owners.

The power broker in question is agent Arn Tellem, who insiders think would run the Dodgers in some way, possibly as team president, if Cohen wins the auction for the team.

Cohen was last heard of in baseball circles back in April when he was said to be considering buying into the Mets. That never went anywhere, probably because guys with that kind of money and power typically don’t care to take a non-controlling interest in companies. Owning the Dodgers, however, is a different thing altogether.

Also a different thing: Cohen’s company, SAC Capital Advisors, has been in the news this year as a result of having two of its fund managers plead guilty to insider trading. Cohen has not been implicated, nor has the company as a whole, but there have been subpoenas and things and that kind of thing is always a mess.

It remains to be seen if that would cause Major League Baseball any headaches.  Though, as the article says, given that the Dodgers are being sold at auction, the league has a slightly smaller role to play in approving bidders than it normally would, with Frank McCourt having recourse to the bankruptcy court if he feels MLB is unreasonably withholding approval of a potential buyer.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.