The Dodgers are a bankrupt company with declining revenues, but that doesn’t have to stop them from offering nine-figure contracts to their best players and the stars on the free agent market, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. Shaikin surveyed players, agents, union officials and MLB executives and heard that the Dodgers will be able to spend despite the ongoing financial issues of owner Frank McCourt.
Michael Weiner is not only the executive director of the Players Association, he represents the interests of the Dodgers’ creditors. He says it’s in “everyone's interest for the team to be competitive and not compromised in trying to operate." Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive VP for labor relations, told Shaikin that McCourt is ”free to sign players to long-term contracts," though deals could require approval if they surpass $100MM.
The Dodgers’ revenues will likely drop $27MM this year, but MLB guarantees all player contracts, according to Shaikin. That means a team’s bankruptcy wouldn’t put a player at risk of losing any guaranteed money on a pre-existing deal.
GM Ned Colletti has talked about improving the team’s offense in “the most dramatic” way he can, so fans have started wondering about a long-term deal for MVP candidate Matt Kemp and the possibility of signing a middle-of-the-order hitter like Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols. Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart, told Shaikin that the Dodgers have not started discussing a long-term deal for the center fielder, who can file for free agency after 2012. Kemp isn’t worried about the direction of the team and would consider a multiyear deal if the Dodgers make a proposal.
Fielder has said that he’ll evaluate possible suitors based on their ability to win, but Scott Boras, the first baseman’s agent, pointed out that all players aren’t so forgiving. Pujols has said he plans to weigh offers from teams based on a number of factors, including minor league systems and the willingness of ownership groups to spend on improving the team, according to Shaikin.
As a Dodgers fan who has followed this disaster more closely than 99% of the team’s fanbase, I’ll believe this when I see it. More likely we’ll see this:
3B Someone cheap
Uribe will play 3B, Fedex will most likely start at catcher
How dare you suggest that players play the positions they were actually hired to play? Uribe will play center, Sands will be at second, Loney in left, Gordon at first and Kemp will be traded for a carton of melted Dibs.
Sadly, I had already considered Uribe a sunk cost, but you might be right.
sounds right to me. unfortunately.
I agree 100 percent! Until McCourt is gone this is what we get!
For someone who follows the team more closely than 99% of the fan base…he should know we have Uribe at 3rd.
Good one. It’s called “suppressed memories” with the hope that Uribe would be treated as an afterthought.
At least Vin is coming back next year!
With all the financial problems of the Dodgers (McCourt) this year I’ll be angry if the Dodgers actually spend this year with the intent that the MLB will back them up if (when) there is a problem. I have nothing against the Dodgers as a team but if McCourt is planning on telling Colletti to spend freely without acknowledging that he’s a sinking ship then I think it’s an abuse of MLB.
*Edit: My post kinds implied that I wanted the Dodgers as a team to suffer next year, not my intent. I think if the Dodgers offer huge contracts to major FA next year with the knowledge that MLB would cover the McCourts, that would be an abuse to MLB. However if their big spending comes in the form of extending Kemp/Ethier/Kershaw then it would simply be a good baseball decision.
As the article says, big contracts will require approval of MLB. It should be understood that the Dodgers are not an inherently bankrupt organization. The fan base (once it comes back) and the media market can easily support one of the game’s larger payrolls, just not under the McCourt ownership. I would see MLB’s approval of large contracts (assuming it happens) as a vote against McCourt, not for him. I’d take it as a sign that they expect him to be gone.
I think that any major spending has to be approved MLB. And I think the MLB would want to have the Dodgers be a big spending club, especially EXPECTING for there to, eventually, be a new owner. I feel MLB would want them to be in on Fielder and Albert.
As a Dodger fan, I agree. It is criminal that McCourt is able to twist the system in a foolish attempt to somehow save his backside. Luck is on our side, though – Ned Colletti is still the worst GM this side of Kevin Malone and he will give a huge contract to a hitter who will forget how to hit or gain eighty pounds like Uribe.
The fact that team started to play well when the fat, overpaid and useless either got hurt or released, the team played better. Maybe it is time for Frank and Ned to let the kids like Van Slyke, Webster, Withrow, Tolleson, etc… play and dump the fat, old and overpaid on anyone who will take them. I hear Sabean loves those same players.
Nice handle. Billy G was my favorite Dodger growing up.
Get mccourt out!!!!
its sad because the dodgers actually stand to improve the most from a fielder/pujols signing.
McCourt filed for bankruptcy protection for the Dodgers. Doesn’t this mean that the bankruptcy judge would also have to weigh in on any transactions that take on debt? I don’t understand how a company can say to a bankruptcy judge “I don’t have the means to pay my obligations, save me!” and yet be free to add obligations.
It could be that the judge would say “this signing increases the value of the franchise and helps creditors” and let it pass, but I would assume it has to pass his desk. Am I wrong?
the team is going to have to be sold, it would be reasonable for the trustee to decide that the team needs to remain competitive to generate revenue for the next year and to maximize the value of the asset.
The bankruptcy trustee should allow the Dodgers to remain competitive, however I doubt they’d approve acquiring 200 to 300 million in obligations for Pujols or Fielder.
I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but wasn’t the entire point of McCourt’s bankruptcy filing to take power away from MLB’s trustee (and by proxy, MLB itself)?
The franchise is in the court’s hands during the process, which is why MLB can’t simply try to seize it anymore. I would still think big spending requires approval of either the judge or his own appointed trustees.
I meant the Bankruptcy trustee, not MLB’s trustee. The Trustee will have a duty to keep the dodgers running a profit and that means putting a good team on the field. That being said I agree with you I don’t think they are going to be able to sign anyone to a 200 or 300 million dollar contract.
As I understand it, the bankruptcy court’s primary job is to reorganize debt so as to give the creditors the best chance to become whole, which might be a little bit different task than assuring profitability. In any case, it seems to me that the bankruptcy court is becoming little more than a sideshow to the main event, which is between McCourt, the commissioner, and Fox, over rebidding the team’s media rights before they expire. That could easily turn into yet another messy lawsuit. I suspect that the judge (who has been pretty deferential to MLB so far) is going to be reluctant to create even more turmoil by overriding McCourt’s contractual obligations to both MLB and Fox and allowing early bidding on the rights to proceed, as McCourt demands. In the end I think the judge will see that the only daylight path out of this is for the team to be sold. The creditors get paid in full, contractual obligations aren’t disturbed, and we get our team back.
exactly right the team has to be sold. And the trustee has the job to ensure that the asset is sold for as much money as possible. Signing major contracts that could become future albatrosses may make the team less valuable, but fielding a competitive team that keeps the fans coming in makes the team more valuable. At the very least the Dodgers should be able to extend Kemp and Kershaw. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they were allowed to spend reasonably this offseason.
I’m not a lawyer but I believe that the “as much as possible” principle comes into play when debts cannot be paid in full. In this case, the debts can easily be paid in full, if the team is sold. Either way, I’m not expecting the Dodgers to be in the hunt for Pujols or Fielder, but then the Dodgers have only rarely been participants in that sort of market anyway, and that’s over the last three ownerships. Still a lot of prognosticators had the Dodgers out of the free agent market last winter, and that turned out not to be true, so I have to believe that Colletti is going to have some latitude to deal. I don’t see the bankruptcy judge or the commissioner tying his hands.
I am a lawyer, and while bankruptcy isn’t my forte I do know enough about it to know that the trustee has a duty to maximize the value of the team for its eventual sale.
I wouldn’t count on Pujols or Fielder, but the trustee will give the dodgers the latitude to put together a team good enough to keep fans coming through the turnstiles.
I defer to your superior knowledge of the legal issues. I completely agree on the second part. Free agents, yes, nine-figure contracts, probably not.
So, where does Matt Kemp go next winter?
Man, imagine the bidding war if he comes anywhere close to replicating this year. Pujols and Fielder may get less than their agents hope simply because the Yankees and Red Sox are set at first base, but ANY team could make room for Kemp. A true five-tool player just coming into his prime. The Giants will still need offense, the Mets, the Cubs, Rangers, Nationals… any team that’s ever even considered a nine-figure contract would be in the bidding. Do I hear 7/$175m? 10/$250m? $300m?
I’d take Kemp over Pujols and Fielder any day. He’s a better athlete, still young, and multi-talented.
Either and Billingsly to Yankees for Romie, Nunez, Banueloes, and low level prospect?
You would get a starting 3B, C and future #2 P and lower costs like crazy. Enough to go get Pujols/Fielder…
Yankees get RF/LF/DH to fill in multiple areas and keeps him away from sox…
Manny Banuelos is an untouchable. Maybe one of the others, Betances and/or Brackman, but not Banuelos.
Loss of 27 million, attandance down a lot, 32,000 last night. Not sure how we can afford a free agent under the current ownership. Yes I know lots of $ will come off payroll, but big free agents want big $ and years…………
They’ve lost over 600,000 in attendance this year, from last year. That’s 17%. And judging from the screen shots I saw of the stadium last night, against the Giants, I think they’re padding the numbers. I’ve NEVER seen Dodger Stadium that empty for a game with the Giants. It’s sad. I’m a Giants fan but I love the rivalry; this just isn’t the same.
They count season tickets sold even if the holders don’t show up. Yeah, it’s sad for sure, but then, in addition to everything else, the team is out of contention. I can’t even give away my extra season tickets this year.
hopefully Gwynn & Kemp, and a big check can get Fielder to Los Angeles. The Doyers have been on fire since the All-Star break. A day late, a dollar short this year, but a solid bat like that in the middle of the order would do wonders.
I don’t hate this lineup
2B Sellers/Colleti special
Neither do I, assuming Ethier comes back strong from his injury, Sands continues to develop, and Uribe gets back to his career averages. I’d also like to see either or all of Carroll, Gwynn and Miles back. And Barajas as a backup and mentor for Fedex.
It would be mind boggling to comprehend a player’s mindset if they really give a passing thought to “I want to go play for Frank McCourt”
I see a lot of comments here from hopeful Dodger fans, but you’re dreaming, guys. The team is in bankruptcy.
How on earth are the Dodgers going to re-sign Kemp and Ethier IF they give a 9 figure contract to Fielder? And, what player would want to play for a team in such a messy state right now?
And, don’t forget Kershaw. They need to lock him up before he hits arbitration. Kuroda won’t be cheap to re-sign, either.
Where is the money going to come from, for all this??
again, we all know there’s a big “if” with the money thing here. the point is that if that hapens – if you add Fielder to that team, it will make a world of difference. look how much better this team is when Loney is hitting well…imagine him hitting twice as well, and all year long.
too bad the giants are signing fielder, pujols, and CC. if were playing in imagination land..cmon now theres no way the dodgers pick any big names up
I don’t think it’s s simple as “not going to happen.” Where would Fielder go?
Yankees? have Tex
Red Sox? have A-Gonz
Phillies? have Howard
Angels? have Trumbo
Mets? have Ike
Cubs? not good enough
Cardinals? If Pujols goes elsewhere, maybe
I see four viable options:
Colorado, Texas, SF, or LA.
In Colorado or Texas he gets hitters parks, which is a plus…but I would be surprised to see either team spend that kind of money.
In SF, he gets a great pitching staff, a great city (especially for vegans), but an awful offense.
In LA, he gets a good pitching staff, a great city (also, especially for vegans), a good offense, great friends on the team, the possibility of being the guy to reinvigorate a major market, and more.
lol..yea lets go play for a team that i dont know will even be able to pay me. i mean IF you get fielder say goodbye to kemp when he’s a free agent
Another plus in the Giants favor, Fielder can gut-punch Mota on a daily basis.
Texas is going to have enough issues dealing with trying to keep CJ Wilson without being able to take on Fielder’s salary, especially when offense isn’t their biggest problem. The Giants also have so much devoted to pitching between Lincecum, Zito and Cain, although they could backload the contract for when Zito’s contract expires. I could see them going after him.
Because you are making too much of the bankruptcy. The team was already under MLB control before Frank took the franchise to bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy gambit was McCourt’s desperate effort to log-roll MLB and his ex. It’s probably only deferring the inevitable sale of the team. Both MLB and the bankruptcy court know that the team’s market value and revenue potential are immense. They don’t have to be kept out of the free agent market to make ends meet. Getting rid of Frankenjamie will take care of team’s financial problems in a flash.
Ethier for Ichiro or some such package
jersey sales alone would pay for it
i have long dreamed of Ichiro on the Dodgers. perfect player for that stadium, team, and city.
Attendance levels are in the same range they are every year when we are not very good. Go check the yearly attendance levels and look at stadium fill %. If the Dodgers put a winner on the field, the people will show up.
The people will show up regardless, if McCourt just sold the team.
No one seems to mention that 1/2 of McCourts $$$ will go to Jaime…..NOT Fielder or Pujols or Kemp or Kershaw….Frank is going to be forced to sell the team or let a group buy into the team after the divorce is over which won’t happen for a while….this whole org is in a WORLD OF HURT for teh next couple of years…
Probably because we don’t actually know that. The divorce is over. The settlement is not. Frank says he can prove that he owns the Dodgers outright. Jamie says the team is community property and she owns half. The matter has not gone to court, so we don’t know who has the winning legal theory. MLB says that the franchise should be sold, so the two of them can argue over the money for as long as it gives them perverse joy, but without the team being a pingpong ball. It won’t take years for the organization to heal itself, so long as Frankenjamie are out of the picture.
There’s a lot to be said about free agents not wanting to come here because of the ownership issues, but with the hearing about the TV rights October 12, if Frank loses that battle, the players and agents are going to know it’s pretty much over for him. There would still be the issue of how much they can pay on a contract, but it should erase the question marks for the players (and fans).