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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Post Boxing Day Bullety Stuff

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Friday, December 23, 2011

District Court Stays Dodgers TV Rights Sale

A district court judge has ruled he is likely to find Fox's TV contract rights are enforceable even in bankruptcy, according to a tweet from Bill Shaikin. More details as they come in, but this is potentially huge for Fox, and devastating to McCourt's chances of escaping a forced sale of the team with any assets whatsoever. Yay.

Update: The LAT story.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Judge Gross Calls Fox Early TV Rights Sale Objections "Disingenuous"

A scathing rebuttal:
Gross called Fox's damage claims "highly speculative and therefore unsubstantiated." Gross also cited as "never supported by evidence" the claim of former Fox Sports Networks President Robert Thompson that Fox would have discounted the Dodgers' contract by 25% without the negotiating rights now in dispute.
Fox has an exclusive negotiating window that lasts through January 19; thereafter, the rights can be auctioned.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More Changes From The New CBA

An interesting long-form article at ESPN about the many changes coming due to the new CBA. Among them: Much more at the link.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Angels Sign Kendrys Morales, $3M/1 Year, Other Transactions

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Dodgers Sign Tony Gwynn, Jr. To 2-Year Deal

Per a tweet from the Dodgers official Twitter account. Dylan Hernandez says the deal is worth $850,000 in 2012 and $1.15M in 2013. Fangraphs seems to think this isn't such a horrible idea, valuing his 2011 contributions at $7.1M.

Update: Earlier versions of this story said Jerry Hairston, Jr. Corrected.

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Angels Sign Jerome Williams To One Year Deal

Bill Plunkett tweets that the Angels have signed arbitration-eligible (!!) 30-year-old Jerome Williams to a one-year deal, dollars unknown.

Update: Mike DiGiovanna has the skinny: $820,000 for one year.

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Deirdre Pujols: “The City Of St. Louis Has Absolutely Been Deceived”

Several versions of this interview with Deidre Pujols, wife of slugger Albert, have appeared on the Interwebz, but I'm linking to the NBC Sports version because it contains all the key pieces you need to know. In particular:
“I understand you’re talking to us, then one TV station, and that’s about it,” is how Sandi Brown, morning show host at 99.1 Joy FM in St. Louis, opened her conversation Monday with Deidre Pujols, the wife of new Angels first baseman Albert Pujols.

“This is the moment of truth for us,” Deidre replied. “Four days have passed and most people are probably sick of hearing our name by now, but I’m ready to let people have our side of what has happened and be able to make better judgements.”


“When you have somebody say, ‘we want you to be a Cardinal for life,’ and then only offer you a five-year deal, it kind of confused us,” said Deidre, calling the offer an “insult.”

So, tainted by that "insult" offer, and a subsequent arrangement that would have deferred $30M of his salary (the Angels' deal is 100% current with no deferments), Pujols eventually decided to become an Angel. This annoys me to some degree, because Pujols' decline is already to some degree evident. I am not convinced the back half of his deal will be of any value to the team that likely just signed the final contract of his career. However you may feel about that, it's a business decision, and we'll see whether Pujols becomes synonymous with Mo Vaughn or some of the other expensive free agent disasters in Angels history.

Related: Scott Miller of CBS Sports tweets that Pujols is contracted to the Angels for the first decade past his presumptive retirement when this contract ends. Yow.

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Thursday, December 08, 2011

More Linkies On A Momentous Day

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Angels Sign Albert Pujols To 10-Year Deal Worth At Least $250M; UPDATE: Wilson Signing Official

Worth at least $250M; mind, blown. Albert Pujols hardly needs introduction, though I might add that his recent decline may make Angels fans recall the days when Mike Port was the team's GM. As my friend Philip Michaels quipped on Twitter,
I'm very excited for Angels fans who will have the chance to watch Albert Pujols, Vernon Wells, and Torii Hunter age rapidly together.
On the other hand: it's interesting to note that Kendrys Morales has never even been a 5 WAR player (his breakout year, 2009, was 3.8) and Mark Trumbo last year had a 2.1 WAR. Meantime, Pujols has never been less than a 5, though looking at his recent dropoff I do wonder just how steep that curve has been. Was Jerry Dipoto given marching orders to get Pujols at all costs? We'll probably find out in the coming hours and days. As with all such big signings, the front end isn't so bad; it's the back end that starts to smell, and it bears repeating that Pujols will be 42 by the time this deal is over.

Also, a little bit of snark from Molly Knight:

On a scale of 1 to Eeyore: how sad are Dodger fans going to be if the Angels sign Albert Pujols?
I honestly don't know the answer to that question. For me, I don't much care, because I know that this is Ned Colletti's last offseason as GM, which makes me happy, almost regardless of the players he signs. Because I view the Pujols signing as such a mixed bag, I can't get too excited for the Dodgers to miss out on him.

Update: The C.J. Wilson signing is official per New York Post writer Joel Sherman, via Craig Calcaterra at NBC Sports. I sure hope they have the money to pay for draft bonuses next year.

Update 2: Rev. Halofan reminds me that the Angels signed LaTroy Hawkins, Pujols, and Wilson in a span of 24 hours and didn't need to move anyone from the 40-man roster to do it. Nice.

Update 3: The thing fueling all this madness may well be the finishing touches being put on a new TV deal with Fox, to be announced later. The offer to the Dodgers for an extension last spring was $3 billion.

Update 4: Wilson signed for 5 years/$75M. Nice price.

Update 5: Bill Plunkett:

#Angels Moreno just committed $325m to 2 players today. Roughly twice what he paid for team in 2003. #Pujols.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Angels Sign LaTroy Hawkins

For one year, dollars currently unknown, but I would expect it to be in the $3-4M range. Last year represented the final year of a two-year deal with the Brewers that was worth $4.25M, but free agent pitching has been bid up considerably with the deals the Dodgers did for Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano. Hawkins had a pretty good season last year, a 3-1 record with a 2.42 ERA, and a 1.9 BB/9 and 5.2 K/BB. He's not striking guys out much, but he also isn't giving up a lot of home runs, either (only one in 48.1 IP). It's hard to get excited about a guy who'll be playing out his age 39 season with the Angels, especially given his 2010 with Milwaukee (8.44 ERA, 0-3) that was shortened by early season shoulder trouble which sapped his normally mid-90's velocity.

Update: The Register's Sam Miller on the deal.

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C.J. Wilson Is — Or Isn't — An Angel

A stray tweet by the SB Nation blog Lone Star Ball claimed that C.J. Wilson had been converted to Angeldom, but multiple tweets from other pro bloggers and sportswriters (Mike DiGiovanna of the Times, Yahoo's Tim Brown, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman) indicate that bidding remains active, and that the Marlins have offered a sixth year. Jon Morosi claims Wilson has met with Nolan Ryan and Ryan does not think Wilson will return. Best tweet so far, from Jeff Passan:
Six years on C.J. Wilson, huh? The Marlins really are like the lottery winners who spend themselves back into poverty within a couple years.
Updates as they happen.

Update: Mark Buehrle to the Marlins, $58M/4 years. That sets a definite floor on Wilson's price. It also likely leaves the Marlins out of the Wilson bidding per Mike DiGiovanna.

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Frank Must Sell Dodgers By April

Expanding on the blog posts from yesterday is this late night Times story that explains that while Frank must sell the team by April, the parking lots are a different matter, and he has "sole authority" to decide whether to do that. I hope the new ownership group crushes him like a bug.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dodgers Add Hairston, Jr., Frank Has "Absolute" Control Over Parking Lots, Josh Bard A New Dodger

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Monday, December 05, 2011

Dodgers Sign Aaron Harang To 2-Year Deal

Per Howard Cole of the Register, the Dodgers have signed Aaron Harang to a 2-year deal, dollars currently unknown. I remember Harang mainly from his start with the A's, but he spent most of the last decade in Cincinnati following a trade for Jose Guillen, of all players. Last year, he was with the Padres, where he earned a 3.64 ERA and a 14-7 record in Petco's cavernous confines. His 6.5 K/9 and 2.14 K/BB rates are acceptable-good, not great. He gave up 13 of his 20 home runs at home, which is really saying something, although that total represents his lowest since 2004. His 1.365 WHIP is likewise reasonable, and I expect Harang to act as a 3-4 rotation slot pitcher. As Cole put it,
... [I]t’s the deal Los Angeles should have made instead of signing Chris Capuano, not in addition to. But what’s done is done.

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Ron Santo Elected To Baseball Hall Of Fame By Golden Era Committee

Thus rectifying an appalling oversight by the BBWAA.
Santo becomes the 12th major league third baseman to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the first elected at the position since Wade Boggs in 2005. Including three selections from the Negro leagues, there are now 15 third basemen in the Hall of Fame. In 15 major league seasons, Santo compiled a .277 lifetime batting average, with 2,254 hits in 2,243 games, while totaling 1,331 runs batted in and 365 doubles.
Santo died a December 3, 2010. This goes a long way toward rectifying the reputation of the Hall, which notoriously underrepresents third basemen.

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Saturday, December 03, 2011

SEC To Pursue Marlins Over Stadium

Jeff Loria is a weasel:
The financing agreement to build the controversial new stadium in Little Havana left the county and city on the hook for almost 80 percent of the overall $634 million tab, which critics considered a giveaway to the Marlins. The deal was a contributing factor in the recall of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, who championed it.


Due diligence by the county and city into the Marlins’ finances was a key component of auto magnate Norman Braman’s failed court fight two years ago to stop stadium construction. City and county leaders said they never required the Marlins to open their books, though the team often cried poor and argued it needed public funding to stay in South Florida.

But the team’s claim was rebuked in August 2010, when the sports website Deadspin.com revealed that the Marlins were in fact financially healthy, having received more money from baseball’s revenue-sharing system over 2008 and 2009 than anyone in baseball — and pocketing $92 million in revenue-sharing those two years, making a $33 million profit.

Here's Deadspin on the Marlins.


What If Frank Isn't Serious About Selling?

Ross Newhan tries to answer that nightmare scenario:
--Although McCourt has a year to go under his current television contract with Fox, he has been seeking permission to negotiate with other media outlets. Fox has opposed that procedure, figuring it would ultimately negotiate a new contract wiith a new owner. The dispute has gone to mediation, a process that was supposed to end last week but was extended through the current week, suggesting that some form of progress is being made. Suppose McCourt emerges with an extension with Fox or the right to pursue a multi year, multi million dollar deal with another media outlet.

--Suppose, at that point, McCourt figures he has or will have enough to pay creditors, his $130 million divorce from Jamie and retain operation of the Dodgers. All of these suppositions fall under the authority of the bankruptcy court, and the biggest challenge then for McCourt would have to be suing Selig for coercion in forcing him to sign his sale agreement with MLB.

Much more there, but I won't believe it until the weasel is gone from our shores.

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Mike Scioscia Weeps As Angels Jettison Jeff Mathis

Things are moving along quite smartly this offseason, as the Angels unloaded Jeff Mathis for LHP Brad Mills to Toronto, which means the Halos have managed to trade both their 2010 receivers to the same team. Mills was actually fairly interesting in the lower minors, but he spent three years at AAA posting uninspiring numbers (4.32 ERA with a 21-23 record, 7.8 K/9, 2.63 K/BB). If he sticks with the Angels — and apparently, he has an option left — he'll be fighting for a role in the rotation, though Rotoworld seems to think he's better suited to relief.

Obviously, the upside of this deal is getting rid of Jeff Mathis, whose Angels career has been mainly a case of mistaken identity, i.e. Mike Scioscia took him for a starting catcher. The Napoli schism has tended to be overdone (even by me):

Angels Catchers Games Started At Catcher
YearJeff MathisMike Napoli

Only two of those years — 2008 and 2010 — did Scioscia start Mathis in more games than Napoli. Yet, as Bill Plaschke pointed out earlier, Napoli only got 57 starts at catcher for the Rangers this year, a surprise for people who defend him as a good defensive receiver. (For the record, my position isn't that he is or is not good, just that Mathis can't be shown to be superior by any metric I am aware of.)

Mathis' major league career may already be over; his days as a starting catcher are probably over, anyway, and if it turns out that the Jays jettison him, too, I won't be terribly surprised. All in all, a necessary trade to keep Scioscia from playing Mathis.

Update: Any time you can link to a Grant Brisbee piece about a trade involving a team you follow, you totally should, because he is teh awesome.

Update 2: Sam Miller is predictably great:

Brad Mills has an 8.57 ERA in 48 career Major League innings. That’s actually only the 29th worst ERA in history, minimum 25 innings. Stu Flythe had a 13.04 ERA in 1936. “Hey, Alex, what’ll you give me for Jeff Mathis,” Jerry Dipoto asked. “Hmmm,” Alex Anthopoulos said. “I’ll give you Stu Flythe.” “But he’s dead. He’s been dead for, like, forever. He’s not on your team. Your team didn’t even exist when Stu Flythe died.” “Sorry, Jerry. That’s the best I can do.”

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Friday, December 02, 2011

Report: Dodgers Sign Chris Capuano

So far, the only mention of this has been a Jayson Stark tweet claiming the deal is for 2 years/$10M. Capuano was most recently with the Mets, where he posted an 11-12 record with a 4.55 ERA in 31 games started and 186 innings pitched, with a 7.9 K/9 rate and a 2.44 K/BB rate. I actually don't hate this deal, considering, though I add he will be playing out his age 33 and 34 seasons with the Dodgers. I would call it Hiroki Kuroda insurance, mainly.

Update: Christina Kahrl despises the deal:

...Capuano has one thing going for him: He racked up strikeouts, racking batters up 21 percent of the time with a crafty lefty’s assortment, changing speeds and trying to pound the bottom of the strike zone to avoid cookies. The strikeouts help conjure up all sorts of statistical joy: A 4.04 FIP, 3.67 xFIP, and 3.60 SIERA.

Which is neat, and liable to encourage people to think that Capuano was just betrayed by ill fortune, and slow fielders, and maybe his ballparks and maybe a few black helicopters while we’re at it. You can see where this comes from, because rate metrics like xFIP run off aggregate numbers. Unfortunately, they’re blind to the fact of life that while Capuano’s effectiveness only goes so far into a ballgame. He might be effective once through the order, and more than a bit less so twice through the order. But a starting pitcher doesn’t give you six innings just going through the order twice in a game; he doesn’t even give you five innings all that often.

Honestly, at this point I'm more concerned that the Dodgers won't be able to field a 25-man team next year. If ownership weren't so screwed up, I'd be madder about this deal; but as it is, I really couldn't care less, because the men occupying the Dodger uniforms in 2012 will be mannequins to me, placeholders until the real work of rebuilding can start.

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