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Category: MLB

MLB skeptical of $1.2-billion Dodgers bid

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The proposed $1.2 billion bid for the Dodgers was received with skepticism within Major League Baseball, where executives wondered whether the proposal might be used by owner Frank McCourt to stir negotiations with other potential buyers or to persuade a  Bankruptcy Court judge to keep McCourt in charge of the team.

"There are questions within the sports industry about whether this is a genuine offer," said one industry consultant who works extensively with MLB and other professional sports leagues.

The bid is headed by Los Angeles Marathon founder Bill Burke and backed in part by Chinese investors, according to a letter sent to McCourt on Tuesday. Burke declined to comment, as did a spokesman for McCourt and the chief executive of the investment firm that sent the letter on Burke's behalf.

McCourt has spoken with at least two other groups about a sale of some portion of the Dodgers, said a person familiar with the discussions but not authorized to discuss them publicly. McCourt could use the $1.2 billion as a minimum value for the Dodgers in those discussions. Forbes magazine estimates the Dodgers' worth at $800 million.

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If Cubs wanted Ned Colletti could he actually turn them down?

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Deep down, during in his most private of moments, in his little heart of hearts, is Ned Colletti really still a Cubbie?

And if they came a knocking, would it be impossible for him to resist their call?

This has become more than simple curiosity after the Cubs fired their general manager, Jim Hendry, on Friday and Colletti’s name immediately began circulating amongst the Chicago media that he was a potential replacement.

Colletti grew up in Chicago, started his career in baseball as a Cubs publicist and later became a Cubs baseball operations assistant. His brother, Doug, has been a Bears broadcaster for 24 years.

The Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune were quick to mention him as a candidate for the Cubs' sudden opening, though whether that was from actual inside information or simple deduction is unclear.

Colletti passed on discussing the Cubs situation, instead Saturday replying in a text:

I have a contract and a commitment to the Dodgers. Until somebody tells me otherwise, that is where my focus is and where my efforts will be.

I’m sorry to hear of what happened with Jim, who’s been a good friend for many years.

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Dodgers victim of triple play by Milwaukee Brewers

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Talk about a rally killer.

The Dodgers had runners at first and second bases with nobody out in the second inning Monday night against the Milwaukee Brewers, only to see the Brewers turn a triple play at Miller Park.

After Matt Kemp walked and moved to second base on Juan Rivera's single, James Loney hit a grounder up the middle that was grabbed by Milwaukee second baseman Josh Wilson.

Wilson made a nice backhanded flip of the ball -- with his gloved hand -- to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to force Rivera (one out) and Betancourt threw to first baseman Prince Fielder to get Loney (two outs).

Kemp, meanwhile, was racing home on the play but Fielder fired the ball to catcher George Kottaras, who tagged out Kemp (three outs).

Triple play. For those of you keeping score, it was 4-6-3-2.

It was the sixth triple play in Brewers franchise history; the last one occurred in September 2009.

The game, the first of a 10-game trip for the Dodgers, was scoreless after two innings.

ALSO:

Dodgers buck up for life on the road

Dodgers come through for Hiroki Kuroda

Justin Sellers gives the Dodgers an energy boost

--Jim Peltz, reporting from Milwaukee

Photo: Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp argues with home plate umpire Mike Winters that he evaded a tag by Brewers catcher George Kottaras during a triple play in the second inning Monday night. Credit: Jeffrey Phelps / Associated Press

Dodgers, MLB submit loan agreement to bankruptcy court

Photo: Dodger Stadium. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times.
The Dodgers and Major League Baseball submitted a $150-million loan agreement to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Friday, under which the league would loan the Dodgers the money needed to get through the season at 7% interest and would not seize the team in the event of default.

By making the loan, however, the league did not waive any claims for "past or future violations of the MLB Rules and Regulations" that the Dodgers might have made.

When the Dodgers filed for bankruptcy in June, they proposed financing the team with a hedge-fund loan arranged by owner Frank McCourt. The league countered by proposing a loan without accompanying fees and at a lower interest rate, but the Dodgers argued the team should not have to accept the loan because Commissioner Bud Selig wants to remove McCourt as owner and could use the loan terms to help accomplish that.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross last month ordered the Dodgers and MLB to negotiate a loan that would save the team money on interest and fees but would not allow MLB to use the loan as leverage to strip McCourt of the team.

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Dodgers bankruptcy: Did judge hint at ruling favoring MLB?

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As U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross offered his closing remarks at the end of a 10-hour hearing Wednesday, he made clear his priority would be an economic one in determining whether Dodgers owner Frank McCourt can use his loan to fund the Dodgers through bankruptcy or must use one provided by Major League Baseball.

"This is about dollars and cents," Gross said. "This is not a control issue."

Gross said he hoped to issue his ruling Thursday. His comments appeared to speak toward the primary concern expressed by McCourt and his attorneys--that the Dodgers need not take a cheaper loan from MLB because the league is an adversary interested more in ousting McCourt than helping the team. No matter who provides the loan, Gross said, the use of the money would be subject to court oversight.

Thomas Lauria, an attorney for MLB, said he hoped the judge's comments signaled a favorable ruling and said they confirmed what the league has said all along.

"This (proposed MLB loan) agreement isn't giving us any control," Lauria said outside court. "That's their whole argument, that we're sneakily getting control. All we're trying to do is save 'em a few bucks. I guess no good deed goes unpunished."

Bruce Bennett, an attorney for McCourt, said he could not say what way Gross might be leaning but indicated the Dodgers could work with an MLB loan so long as it included modifications. In opening arguments, Lauria told Gross the league would make concessions to satisfy the Dodgers' concerns about whether MLB could use the loan to accelerate an ownership change.

"If he allows the MLB (loan), it would be a loan we could live with," Bennett said.

RELATED:

Judge hopes to rule Thursday in Dodgers bankruptcy hearing

Photos: The Dodgers and the McCourts

Dodgers bankruptcy: What is Wednesday's hearing all about?

-- Bill Shaikin in Wilmington, Del.

Photo: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig smiles during a news conference in New York in April. Credit: Brendan McDermid / Reuters

Frank McCourt calls proposed MLB loan 'deal with the devil'

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Dodgers owner Frank McCourt cannot be forced to accept a bankruptcy loan from a commissioner with "an eye jaundiced by irrational animosity toward Mr. McCourt," attorneys for the Dodgers owner argued in a court filing Monday.

In a bare-knuckle filing that promises future litigation between McCourt and Commissioner Bud Selig, the attorneys for McCourt called the proposed Major League Baseball loan a "deal with the devil" and argued the bankruptcy court has no grounds to impose an MLB loan upon the Dodgers over one McCourt has arranged, even if the league offers better financial terms.

The bankruptcy court is set to hear arguments Wednesday over whether the Dodgers should be financed during the bankruptcy proceedings with a loan arranged by McCourt or one proposed by MLB, in which the interest rate is lower and almost $10 million in fees are not included.

"The financing purportedly offered by the commissioner is nothing but a pretext for the commissioner to burden and exert control over the Dodgers in furtherance of the commissioner's ulterior motive of seizing control of the [Dodgers] and ousting Mr. McCourt," the attorneys for McCourt wrote.

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Dodgers bankruptcy: Creditors concerned about Frank McCourt's financing plan

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The committee representing unsecured creditors in the Dodgers' bankruptcy case raised concerns Monday about Frank McCourt's proposed financing. In a hearing on Wednesday, a judge is scheduled to decide whether the Dodgers should be financed through the bankruptcy proceedings by a loan arranged by McCourt or one proposed by Major League Baseball.

"There can be no question the [proposed MLB financing] is economically superior," an attorney for the creditors' committee wrote in a filing Monday. "Yet the committee understands the [Dodgers'] concerns with the proposed [MLB financing] given the tense relationship between the parties."

McCourt's attorneys have argued that their client should not be compelled to be financed by MLB, since they say the league has a "hostile" relationship with the Dodgers.

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Why the Dodgers should not be sellers at the trading deadline

Dodgers1_350 Very strange situation.

Six games to determine whether the Dodgers become sellers or buyers at the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline. Odd in itself, an entire season’s perspective able to go either way because of a handful of games in July.

Making it stranger is the repercussions of either scenario not appearing all that significant.

If the Dodgers sweep through Arizona and San Francisco to become buyers, just what are they supposed to buy? I mean, with the team in bankruptcy court and all. It’s not like they’re going to add a significant player (read: contract).

And if they decide to become sellers, just exactly what to they have of interest to dangle?

The name most mentioned is Hiroki Kuroda, who would be a swell addition to a contending team in need of a good starter. Only Kuroda has a no-trade clause in his contract and I can’t see him approving a trade unless it’s to a glamour franchise like the Yankees or Red Sox. Why would he? He seems to like it here and there’s always the possibility of him returning for another season.

Other vets don’t look too enticing. Casey Blake and Rafael Furcal are having a disabled list contest. Juan Uribe and Ted Lilly are too expensive. Jamey Carroll, Aaron Miles and Rod Barajas are not going to bring much or save much.

The Dodgers should be willing to deal James Loney, but despite his turnaround, his run production isn’t going to have teams lining up with intriguing prospects.

They’re not going to deal young stars Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, but probably would have to listen if teams came hard after Andre Ethier. He’s making $9.5 million this season, with one more year of arbitration before he can become a free agent. Still, it would have to be an impressive offer. The Dodgers already have one outfield position they can’t fill.

Their major prospects -- Rubby De La Rosa, Dee Gordon, Jerry Sands -- are so few it makes no sense to deal them.

So the only thing they would likely accomplish by becoming sellers at the trading deadline is to dump salary. Everybody excited about saving Frank McCourt some extra cash?

General Manager Ned Colletti said he’s undecided whether to become buyer or seller and will used the month’s final days to make his determination. Any other year, and this is a fairly big deal. This year, not so much.

Ownership is in limbo and the franchise is without direction. If MLB wins temporary team control July 20, the Dodgers might have more funds available to acquire someone, but still hard to fathom it taking a sub-.500 team further into debt.

The team is adrift with no one at the helm. It’s a sad, wasted season and selling off a veteran or two ultimately does little but help McCourt. Very strange.

RELATED:

Ownership situation is team's biggest second-half story

Kirk Gibson's passion spills over to his Diamondback players

Players union, Stowe family part of unsecured creditors' panel in bankrupty case

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: All-Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw (right) seems untouchable in trade talks, but All-Star outfielder Andre Ethier might be a different story. Credit: Denis Poroy / Reuters

Judge sides with MLB in Dodgers' bankruptcy hearing

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Major League Baseball does not have to turn over a wide range of documents to the Dodgers or make Commissioner Bud Selig available for a deposition, the judge in the Dodgers' bankruptcy hearing ruled on Thursday.

"This is clearly, in my mind, not an appropriate occasion to turn this hearing into a trial on the commissioner," U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross said.

Gross' ruling sets up a July 20 hearing, at which he will decide whether Dodgers owner Frank McCourt can use his own financing during the bankruptcy process. MLB has offered to extend a loan on better terms -- at a lower rate of interest and without $9.75 million in fees. McCourt argued that he should not be compelled to accept a loan from MLB because the league is "overtly hostile" toward him, and his attorneys claimed that the documents and deposition would be necessary to show how Selig had treated the Dodgers far differently than other teams in financial trouble.

Gross did not dispute that those issues might arise over the course of the bankruptcy proceedings. However, he denied the Dodgers' motion that he order the league to turn over 31 categories of documents -- in matters ranging from the financial records of the New York Mets to security at Angel Stadium -- in advance of the July 20 hearing

"On the issue of financing, the discovery seems to be not relevant," Gross said.

We'll have more later at Latimes.com/sports.

RELATED:

Dodgers' statement on bankruptcy court ruling

Poor Dodgers lose fifth in a row, 5-3

MLB says Frank McCourt isn't entitled to documents

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig speaks to reporters during a news conference in New York City on April 21. Credit: Frank Franklin II / Associated Press

MLB rips Frank McCourt for pursuing court 'sideshow'

Frank3 Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is not entitled to a wide range of Major League Baseball documents that would enable him to turn a bankruptcy court hearing into "a multi-ringed side show of mini-trials on his personal disputes" with the league, attorneys for MLB argued in a court filing Wednesday.

The league also claimed that McCourt tried to take $20 million out of the Dodgers in late April, amid the team's payroll crisis. The league previously has cited divorce court filings that show McCourt and his ex-wife, Jamie, used more than $100 million of team revenues for personal purposes.

The bankruptcy court has set a July 20 hearing to decide whether McCourt or the league should provide the financing to operate the Dodgers through the bankruptcy process. The league claims it can offer financing at better terms -- at a lower interest rate, and without $9.75 million in fees. McCourt claims the league could not provide a fair loan because Commissioner Bud Selig wants the Dodgers owner out, and McCourt's lawyers say all those documents are necessary to prove that point.

In response, the MLB attorneys allege McCourt has demanded documents "wholly irrelevant" to the issue of short-term financing and pursued a "fishing expedition as to the internal administration of Major League Baseball." Of the 31 categories of records requested by McCourt, MLB attorneys say 28 have nothing to do with how to pay for the immediate operation of the Dodgers, including demands for disclosures about the financial troubles of the New York Mets and about the television contracts negotiated in recent years by the Mets, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres.

"Not only are those requests incredibly overbroad and not relevant ... they also seek the disclosure of highly proprietary information that would place other MLB clubs at a competitive disadvantage," according to the league filing. "MLB does not share that type of information among clubs."

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