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Rays avoid arbitration with Alex Cobb, Jake McGee, Brandon Guyer

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MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the Rays have avoided arbitration with right-hander Alex Cobb, reliever Jake McGee, and outfielder Brandon Guyer.

Cobb, who underwent Tommy John surgery last May and missed the entire season, will receive a $4 million salary. This matches what he made through the arbitration process last winter. He figures to be in rehab mode for most of this season, but the Rays have him under team control through 2017. The 28-year-old owns a 3.21 ERA over his first 81 starts in the majors and was considered the Rays’ ace going into last year.

Coming off a 2.41 ERA a 48/8 K/BB ratio over 37 1/3 innings last season, McGee will earn $4.8 million in 2016. It’s a nice raise from the $3.55 million he made in 2015. With the 29-year-old getting more expensive through the arbitration process, it’s easy to understand why the Rays have had him and Brad Boxberger on the block this winter. Like Cobb, McGee will be eligible for free agency after 2017.

Guyer, who was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, will get $1.185 million in 2016. He played well in a part-time role last season, batting .265/.359/.413 with eight home runs, 28 RBI, and 10 stolen bases over 128 games.

Diamondbacks minority owners sue Ken Kendrick over buyouts

Ken Kendrick
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Three minority owners of the Arizona Diamondbacks are suing managing general partner Ken Kendrick after Kendrick initiated a forced buyout for stakeholders who own less than 1% of the team, according to The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan. The three plaintiffs are businessman Alfredo Molina, former pitcher Jim Weber and an LLC called Carlise Investments.

The lawsuit alleges that Kendrick’s demand that minority owners with less than a 1% share either increase their buy-in or sell their shares at a price set by the team is illegal. The Diamondbacks say that the plan is supported by MLB, which the league confirmed to The Athletic. However the full extent of MLB’s support is unclear. Kendrick’s side says that MLB wanted the Diamondbacks to streamline the ownership group, while the plaintiffs say that the league merely okay’d Kendrick’s initiative.

Although just three of the minority owners or ownership groups are named as plaintiffs, the buyback plan reportedly impacts 22 total persons or groups. The buybacks don’t seem to be driven by coronavirus-related financial concerns, as Kendrick announced his intentions to the rest of the owners in a letter sent on January 13th.

Buchanan’s article has the full legalese details of the dispute, and I’m no corporate lawyer, but this reads like Kendrick trying to consolidate financial power. Kendrick has gained a miserly reputation, and has recently made headlines by squabbling with local officials and claiming that Chase Field is somehow a subpar facility for baseball. The Diamondbacks have reportedly toured Vancouver twice in the last two years, including B.C. Place Stadium.

The Athletic’s report says that Kendrick could control a voting bloc within the Diamondbacks’ stakeholders that controls as much as 90% of the team.

Arizona has made the playoffs just three times since 2004, when Kendrick became managing general partner.

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