Report: the Dodgers got a sweetheart deal limiting their revenue sharing liability

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UPDATE:  It seems this was not really news, despite Bloomberg’s reporting it as such.  Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reported this back in May.  We missed it then.  Apologies to the Times.

5:40 PMIf this report from John Helyar of Bloomberg is true, whoa, MLB is going to have A LOT of explaining to do to, well, every team that is not the Los Angeles Dodgers:

The Los Angeles Dodgers have shot out of bankruptcy and into the ranks of baseball’s biggest spenders, fueled partly by a secret agreement between former owner Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball that may limit the revenue the team is obliged to share with less prosperous clubs.

A settlement ending their 2011 battle in U.S. Bankruptcy Court gives the Dodgers’ new owners a chance to cap income subject to revenue-sharing from a proposed regional sports network at about $84 million a year, according to five people familiar with the confidential “special terms.”

The upshot: the Dodgers — based on assumptions about what their new TV deal will bring them — will be able to hold on to some $141 million a year that they would otherwise have to share with other clubs in the league. That’s because their new deal will bring in far, far more than $84 million a year. Indeed, its estimated that it’ll bring in $175 million to $225 million a year over the 20- year contract.

This would help in part to explain the massive sales price of the team, as the biggest financial hurdle a large market/revenue team faces is its revenue sharing obligations.

Major League Baseball Executive Vice President Rob Manfred pushes back against this, saying that the revenue sharing figures will be based on the actual TV revenue the Dodgers receive.  Which … seems like a direct contradiction of the whole story.  So, I’m not sure what’s going on here.  Bloomberg is obviously reporting, based on several sources, that there is a deal to cap revenue-sharing eligible TV money. Manfred’s words suggests that’s not the case.

Any help here, anyone?

Blue Jays release John Axford

John Axford
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The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.

Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.

Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.

Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.