Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Peter O’Malley has withdrawn his bid to reacquire the Dodgers. O’Malley, whose family owned the franchise for 47 years until selling to NewsCorp in 1998, was partially backed by South Korean conglomerate E-Land.
O’Malley was one of 11 bidders who made it through the first round of the process, but Shaikin hears that O’Malley was concerned he might not win the bidding even if he made the highest offer. This could have something to do with O’Malley previously slamming outgoing owner Frank McCourt in the press.
The 10 groups remaining in the bidding are expected to submit new offers this week. McCourt faces an April 30 deadline to sell the team and has agreed to identify a specific buyer by April 1. The sale is expected to fetch an MLB record price tag in excess of $1 billion.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.
Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.
Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.
There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.