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Dodgers' financial mess is stretching into 2011

By January 17, 2011

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This might not end well.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are still owned by Frank McCourt, who is locked in divorce proceedings with his wife. Considering he and his wife Jamie were heavily leveraged already to buy the Dodgers, one of the big-market teams that should have money to spend has a cash-flow problem.

Now McCourt is turning to a previous Dodgers owner - the Fox Broadcasting Company - to potentially bail him out. Fox has reportedly fronted McCourt money to cover operating expenses.

The Los Angeles Times' excellent columnist, T.J. Simers, has been a critic of McCourt since he bought the team. He considers the Fox-McCourt relationship an unholy alliance.

"In court documents, McCourt has said he wants to start a regional TV network. If it happens, it would be an easy fix for his financial woes. But he lacks the start-up funds. To get those, he would probably have to give Fox a considerable ownership interest in the new network in exchange for a $400-million loan. Such a deal would work in Fox's favor, keeping the Dodgers from taking their business elsewhere and giving them the potential of network ownership should McCourt default on the loan."

So McCourt's plan is to get an advance on TV rights - which is THE reason that the Yankees can spend roughly twice what other teams can pay for players - in order to maintain ownership. Gee, do you think that Fox might not pay top dollar for those rights, given the circumstances? That might not be a plan that the other 29 owners and the commissioner's office can get behind. Another owner could start that same network without being as horribly leveraged. McCourt, however, remains defiant against any thought he could lose the team.

This should be a time of optimism in Los Angeles, with Don Mattingly taking over as manager of what should be a decent team. But instead, the best free agent the Dodgers have signed this offseason is reliever Matt Guerrier. They've slipped far behind the Giants, and are by most measures behind the Padres and Rockies, too.

It could be another long summer.

Comments

January 17, 2011 at 3:11 am
(1) steven says:

“the best free agent the Dodgers have signed this offseason is reliever Matt Guerrier”

Your journalism fails.

January 18, 2011 at 8:43 am
(2) Scott Kendrick says:

Steven:

According to MLB’s free agent rating system, Guerrier is the best free agent the Dodgers signed. You can look it up. I did.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/freeagents/_/newteam/lad

The other free agents the Dodgers signed are all Type Bs.

Juan Uribe? Perhaps a bigger name. Rod Barajas? Jon Garland?

Heck, I’ll take Guerrier.

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