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I Believe It’s Business As Usual

I Believe It’s Business As Usual

J-TorreThere is a lot of speculation that the Dodgers will not be able to spend money this Fall and Winter due to divorce proceedings.  I think that is not only unlikely, but also not true.  I think the Dodgers will wheel and deal, make trades and sign Free Agents (where appropriate).  I don’t have time to post the numbers (you can go to Cot’s Contracts and look it up), but adding in raises and the deferred money (Manny only get $5 mil in 2010), the Dodgers payroll for 2010 will be somewhere around $75 – $79 million. 

I can see the Dodgers spending another $30 million on players, if necessary.  Adrian Beltre would cost something north of $10 million, and if we could somehow move Blake and/or Pierre (neither is likely), the Dodgers could really have some extra cash.  Vold suggested that Blake could play 2B, and I am sure he could on a part-time basis anyway.  He also plays LF, RF, 1B and 3B, making him and Juan Pierre two of the best subs in the business.   So, my final answer is that the Dodgers WILL be BUYERS and PLAYERS in Free Agency and will likely have a payroll somewhere around $110 million.  The team is an appreciating asset, and regardless of who owns it, it will likely be in Jamies’ best interest to stretch this out as long as she can, maybe even until the new cable deal kicks in.  

Meanwhile, the Dodgers will be on the prowl for an ACE and will have to overwhelm someone to get what they need.  Be prepared for a big trade that guts the farm.

Dodger News:

  • It looks like Joe Torre wants to manage past next year…
  • Russ Mitchell, Lucas May and Andrew Lambo contine to do well in the AFL

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

29 Responses to “I Believe It’s Business As Usual”

  1. Badger says:

    “I Believe It’s Business As Usual.”

    Yeah right.

    Business as usual for the Dodgers should be, after leading MLB in attendance, (my push-ups please) raising payroll to well over $100M. Even you say say it won’t be close to that. How is a $75M payroll business as usual?

    This will be a year that we make do with what we have. What we have isn’t all that bad if we can get a stable of starters capable of going close to 200 innings. That is what this team needs more than anything else. Where that will come from? eh, who knows, but Fred has the most challenging year he has ever had in front of him. Who will want to do business with an organization whose ownership hands, and minds, are occupied elsewhere.

    Well, to answer my own question, yeah, sure, there could be a trade that guts the thin system. Why not? It’s a garage sale over at Chavez Ravine. There are teams of lawyers that need to be paid and there is a quality organization that needs to be divided up.

    I wait with anxious anticipation to see what kind of rabbit appears out of Jed’s hat.

  2. lawdog says:

    In order to build a winning franchise you need an owner who wants to win and is wiling to spend money in the process. I think Frank, in his peanut-brained way wants to win. He just has this thing about trading great prospects for geezers. Jamie could care less. She sees the team as a cash cow that can keep her in the lap of luxury, with all the money she could possibly ever spend and a “24-hour driver” who will never leave her side unless it’s to slip into her bed. She is the fabled horse faced princess slut who will destroy the Dodgers by playing silly games with them and sucking off all their money. Frank has already declared war against her. It’s too late for Fred and Ned to save us now. The friggen’ lawyers will wind up with 90% of the money. Jamie will get the rest. Frank will get the dog house behind one of the two adjacent Malibu estates.

    Jamie will be the ruin of the Dodgers as we know them. When she’s done, they’ll resemble the Hatford Weaky Pee Wees and Frank will become a homeless hobo. Mark my words.

  3. lawdog says:

    Hmmm. Edit! That should be the Hartford Weaky Pee Wees. I don’t know if Hatford even has a junior high school baseball team… :roll:

  4. Mark Timmons says:

    Badger,

    I did the pushups in 6 days!

    I believe it’s a tribute to McCourt that the Dodgers were one of the few teams who did not experience sagging attendence.

    I am now saying that the Dodgers will spend somewhere around $110 mil on payroll next year!

  5. Mark Timmons says:

    It’s easy to bash Frank McCourt right now and it’s no secret that the Dodgers are not flush with cash, but Jamie knows that if she tries to do Frank in, she will kill the Golden Goose. She’ll posture for control, but she really doesn’t want it. She wants the money and Frank can get her a couple, three hundred million with some creative leveraging.

  6. Mark Timmons says:

    Ken,

    It really include 4 starters: Bills, Kuroda, Kershaw and Haeger. If we get a number one, we could live with that. My Top 4 choices for a #1:

    1. Zach Greinke
    2. Roy Halladay
    3. Felix Hernandez
    4. Josh Johnson

    Most Likely:
    1. Halladay
    2. Johnson

  7. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I’m not sure it will be business as usual. However, if Torre re-signs it would be an indication to me that he has been given assurances that the team will be upgraded, and that indeed it might be business as usual. Other than that I really don’t have a clue, and will just wait for the offseason to unfold.

    I believe the GM meetings are scheduled for this coming week. Maybe we’ll get some clues as to the direction the Dodgers will be taking. Leading MLB in attendance is nice, but doesn’t cancel out the fact that teams like the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox have regional networks that more than make up for any difference in attendance. Whatever those teams lose in their baseball operations is more than recovered on the media side. And that doesn’t take into account that those teams probably charge more per ticket, concessions, etc.

  8. Badger says:

    I think the Dodgers have a regional t.v. deal with Fox. What they don’t have is the cable deal, and memory serves me (I should research it) that doesn’t happen for two more years. The Dodgers made plenty of money this year.

    I just don’t see how it can be business as usual. The actual ownership of this is yet to be determined. Yeah yeah, post-nup, Jamie signed it….. yada yada – the right lawyers can trample that thing. How can they obligate the organization to future money when they don’t know who is going to sign the checks and if after division of property, they can afford to do so.

    Maybe they already know this team is for sale.

  9. Mark Timmons says:

    The GM’s Meetings are next week in Chi-Town.

    The baseball winter meetings are December 7-10 and will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, which is where I live. I can practically walk there, and hopefully I can get some really good stories.

    http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/events/wintermeetings.jsp

    http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/documents/2009/09/02/6749320/1/09BWMBrochure.pdf

  10. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I’m not totally familiar with the TV deal that the Dodgers have with FOX, but I believe it’s part of the MLB package with that network. Except for teams with regional networks (which includes their own cable channels), every MLB team participates in the FOX deal with MLB. I have MLB Extra Innings, and almost every game from almost every team is a Fox network broadcast, be it FSN Arizona or FSPrime Ticket, etc. (FS = Fox Sports).

    If the Dodgers had their own regional network (cable channel) it would be a year round sports channel that provided not only Dodger games but other sports events and programming (24/7/365). It’s not the same animal. From what I’ve read, these networks have net worths in the billions.

    If Peter O’Malley had the business acumen and foresight of George Steinbrenner he would never have sold the Dodgers. His idea that only large corporations could afford to run baseball teams was completely off base. Unfortunalely he didn’t understand at the time that he could have built a media empire that would have been supported to a large degree by Dodger programming, etc. But the sale was before YES, and O’Malley was simply clueless in that area. Not his fault, I just happen to have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. Steinbrenner simply had 20/20 foresight.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Here’s some info. and insight into regional sports networks:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_sports_network

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/21224927

  12. Ken says:

    Mark – I already have the Dodgers at $85 mil with the kids filling out the 25 man roster (only 4 players left in the minors fron the 40 man), with the 15 free agents gone, with estimated Arbitration awards, and the multiple deferred salaries ($12.5 mil).

    I think that you underestimate the amount of legal fees that the California family law attorneys will charge each of the McCourts, which they (Frank) will have to pay for with after tax dollars. Both are submitting briefs over 500 pages at probably $500 per hour. The attorneys are probably salivating and thinking “value billing”.

    We should presume that Frank will have to pay the many mortgages if Jamie does not in order to protect his credit and standing as an owner, at least until the community property issues are resolved. Without an agreement of both parties they presumably can not sell any of the properties. If Frank agrees to allow Jamie to sell some of the properties then she will have a war chest so probably he will not. Why should he agree to anything until after the community property issue of his ownership of the Dodgers is made by the court. Jamie presumably will not agree to sell the properties and accept the proceeds and pay income taxes because she is arguing that they are not her seperate property but they are community property. Frank will not admit that they are community property. Thus Jamie will be coming after Frank and his one asset (Dodgers) that can afford to pay her.

    Ten years ago I was at a firm that had a client that paid more than $1 mil for her divorce and their marital estate was worth less than $25 mil. Welcome to California. Do not be suprised if the distributions from the Dodgers are at least $1 mil per quarter to pay for the attorney fees and their additional living expenses.

  13. Mark Timmons says:

    Ken,

    I’ll publish my figures later. I don’t have time right now, but Manny only gets paid $5 mil in 2010, $15 mil is deferred.

    I would not be surprised if Frank said that the properties were hers – throwing her a bone.

    The issue is that they have a signed agreement giving her the homes, vehicles and personal property and him the Dodgers. She’s an attorney, so she will have to present compelling evidence that the Court should void that agreement. At that time, the Dodgers were worth about $250,000,000 less than they are now. McCourt will say, “you wanted to protect our assets, so I gave them all to you and I kept the Dodgers.” That her assests have tanked and his have grown is the crux of this issue.

    It will be interesting how this plays out. We will see if Frank wants to keep the Dodgers of will take the money and run. Suiters are lining up…

  14. Badger says:

    What Ken said.

    I have a feeling that pre-nup that has been mentioned can be ripped to shreds. Her attorneys have asked the court to declare as “null, void and unenforceable” the document signed by each of the McCourts and worded specifically to supersede the community property law. Jamie, the attorney, knows what she is doing. That quarter billion you mention Mark is half hers, and the properties eauity won’t cover that amount + attorney fees so, somefin gotta give here and that somefin is Frankie. I can see it all going into the pot and divided up 40/40/20 (gotta feed the sharks) And don’t forget that these two had to borrow most of the money that purchased the Dodgers. It’s not like they are Pohlad rich here folks. They leveraged their way into this. (and I still don’t quite understand how MLB approved this purchase)

    Like Ken so eloquently stated, welcome to California.

    So who you gonna put your money on? – the wiley rise to the top attorney trophy wife with pre-divorce California asset purchase or the rich kid parking lot attendant.

  15. Badger says:

    Interesting read from The Free Library:

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/McCourt+turns+a+classic+double+play%3b+treats+Dodger+deal+as+property+…-a0114290948

    From Wikipedia:

    “The Dodgers have a modest payroll at $100,000,000, $13 million less than the smaller market Anaheim Angels and $35 million less than the smaller market Chicago Cubs. In trades, general manager Ned Colletti is not authorized to pick up salary. Instead, McCourt has dictated he ‘pay the balance’ by adding more or better prospects. This has cost the Dodger farm system some of its jewels, such as phenom prospect Carlos Santana. McCourt has been heavily criticized for underfunding a team that led the league in attendance, reinvesting in structures and business ventures instead of the team itself.”

    “From Bill Shaikin: Breaking with 45 years of tradition, McCourt will make all Dodger games available to home viewers. The O’Malley family long restricted telecasts of home games to preserve the live gate. Fox Sports Net has locked up Dodger cable rights through 2012, paying $25 million for 100 games, up from $15 million for 80 last year.”

    http://roadsidephotos.sabr.org/baseball/bbb040101.htm

    I had a bad feeling about this purchase from the very beginning. Somethin’ just didn’t smell right about this guy McCourt.

  16. lawdog says:

    Expet a strting rotation of the following (It’s all we csn aford):

    Kurveshaw’

    C-BIlls\Padilla

    Elbert or Kuroda

    Haeger

  17. Mark Timmons says:

    1. I will not speculate if the Dodgers are Community Property or not – I see both sides of the argument and it just depends upon what the judge decides (and the result of an appeal, if one side loses). It could go either way.

    2. With the massive amount of debt the McCourts still have, if a sale is forced and MLB requires the new buyer to have a high percentage of cash for the deal, the price will be driven down until there may be very little to split.

    3. If Jamie is smart, she won’t kill that goose! If she can’t get control (and maybe she can, but I doubt it), then I believe she could make substantially more by accepting a buyout!

    4. Of course, when you have any other following involved, anything can happen: EMOTIONS AND ATTORNEYS. In this case, we have both, so any predictions are simply W.A.G’s!

  18. GoNzO says:

    Some hot stove news, well maybe warm stove news:

    Dodgers sending catcher to Royals?
    One rumor to watch: A deal sending Royals second baseman Alberto Callaspo to the Los Angeles Dodgers for catcher A.J. Ellis, a 28-year-old rookie who currently projects as a backup to Russell Martin following the anticipated free-agent departure of veteran Brad Ausmus. The Dodgers are seeking a second baseman because veterans Ronnie Belliard and Orlando Hudson are free agents. Callaspo would be an affordable alternative, especially if he fails to qualify, as expected, for free agency under the super-2 provision. Callaspo batted .300 last season with 11 homers and 73 RBIs in 155 games, but his lack of speed and range make him less appealing if the Royals follow through with a new emphasis on defense. — KC Star

    McCourt WILL have to sell the team. Have Broad or Cuban on speeddial.

  19. Badger says:

    “In this case, we have both, so any predictions are simply W.A.G’s!”

    Predictions are Walgreen’s stock symbol? I don’t get it.

    The only thing I am predicting is the forthcoming sh!tstorm. If you can’t see that coming you are looking in the wrong direction.

    Never heard of Callaspo. But, he is probably better than DeWitt so I’ll take him. Kansas City got any 200 inning arms they want to dump on us?

  20. Mark Timmons says:

    Wild Ass Guesses.

    Never forget that conventional wisdom is usually wrong.

  21. lawdog says:

    Ahhhh, where is Don Corleon when we need him, eh?

    You can “transmute” community property into two sets of separate property if the parties ro the marriage choose. Both parties must have counsel (which they do) and the division must e close to equitable (nearly 50-50). The parties had the added incentive of making it harder for Fox to get at the Dodgers in the event of a foreclosure for failure to pay one of the $25 million installments as they came due each year The parking lot was the security in that agreement, not the team itself. A huge boo-boo by Fox.

    But all that real estate and personal property probably was with close to what the “equity” in the Dogs was worth measured by what had been paid. The real estate market when in the shitter thereafter while the baseball team’s value soared. Jamie is still left in the position of arguing she is an incompetent attorney and/or the transfer was made in an attempt to defraud their creditors (Fox–who let a baseball franchise go in exchange for a parking lot and the parking lot was overvalued by Frank to boot. Never let it be said that Fox hasn’t been outfoxed and Rupert played for the naive Aussie that he really is).

    Jamie could ire the best lawyer in the world and still come out screwed bloue on this one. Still, the judge will probably give her everythihg else they have and alimony in the Steinbrenner atmosphere–keeping Frankie in old rags, mooching Dodger Dogs, half-drunk, stale beer and Peanuts for food and sleeping on the trainers table in the Dodgr clubhouse…

    High priced FAs for the 2010 team? Fuhggheedaa ‘bote it!

  22. lawdog says:

    I screwed that post up so bad, I decided to edit it and post it again, below:

    Ahhhh, where is Don Corleon when we need him, eh?

    You can “transmute” community property into two sets of separate property if the parties ro the marriage choose. Both parties must have counsel (which they do) and the division must be close to equitable (nearly 50-50). The parties had the added incentive of making it harder for Fox to get at the Dodgers team in the event of a foreclosure for failure to pay one of the $25 million installments as they came due each year. Frank must have talked like a dutch uncle but in the end he got Fox to accept his Boston parking lot as the security for the unpaid purchase price in that agreement, not the team itself. A huge boo-boo by Fox.

    But all that real estate and personal property probably was worth close to what the “equity” in the Dogs actually was worth worth at the time if measured by what had been paid. The real estate market went in the toilet shortly thereafter while the baseball team’s value soared.

    Jamie is still left in the position of arguing she is an incompetent attorney and/or the transfer was made in an attempt to defraud their creditors (Fox–who let a baseball franchise go in exchange for a parking lot and the parking lot was overvalued by Frank to boot. Never let it be said that Fox hasn’t been outfoxed and Rupert played for the naive Aussie that he really is).

    Jamie could hire the best lawyers in the world and probably still come out screwed blue on this one. Still, the judge will probably give her everything else they have and alimony in the Steinbrenner atmosphere–keeping Frankie in old rags, mooching Dodger Dogs, half-drunk, stale beer and Peanuts for food and sleeping on the trainers table in the Dodger clubhouse for shelter after hours.

    High priced FAs for the 2010 team? Fuhggheedaa ’bout it!

  23. BleedinBlue19 says:

    Since I am not an expert in any of this divorce stuff…. all I can say is I hope your right Mark and everyone else in here is horribly wrong. If you are right Mark, I would first and most importantly love to see the acquisition of a TRUE ace (dont think there is one on the FA market though) but would also like to see Chone Figgins in a blue uni and playing 2b and leading off. Again not so sure how that all figures in with all this Frank vs. Jamie garbage, but I can dream. anyways, just my 2 cents… we will have to wait and see I guess.

  24. Mark Timmons says:

    So many attorneys are incompetent and I have no clue about either sides legal council. I am just saying that the sky is not falling… YET!

    Colletti resigned, Torre is thinking about it. Does that tell you anything?

    I’d like to see Figgins at 2B, but I’d rather see Beltre at 3B – Both would be better!

    I think Josh Johnson could be had in the right deal and he’s pretty close to a #1.

  25. BleedinBlue19 says:

    I am not as concerned with Blake at 3b as I am with the hole left by Hudson/Belliard…err well Hudson at 2b. I think Dewitt COULD fill that hole, but the difference in talent between Dewitt and Chone is in my opinion greater than the upgrade from Blake to Beltre. Probably because I am a small ball guy, so the desire for speed (which never slumps) at the top of the lineup (especially in a park like Dodger Stadium) is more appealing than a guy who has had an issue with injuries even though he is a 25+ hr guy (maybe 30 hitting in a better lineup then in Seattle). I think its even more important with the possibility of Manny hitting like Manny on a contract year to have guys on infront of him, we already have guys to protect him in Kemp and Andre. But, of course I would actually love to see them both as Dodgers as well. I just think thats asking alot based on whats available out there.

    On the pitching front, Josh Johnson could help with the problem there, but I dont think he is an answer to the problem. He isnt a stopper. We need a stopper… maybe thats Kershaw in the future, but we need one now.

  26. Badger says:

    “Colletti resigned, Torre is thinking about it. Does that tell you anything?”

    Colletti resigned? I thought he re-upped.

    That doesn’t mean squat Mark. It’s not like the team is folding. Somebody has to be there to run things no matter what is going on in the owners personal life.

    I agree with ldawg. There won’t be any signing of names like Lackey, Figgens or Johnson. I am sure the lawyers are advising these people to tighten it up.

    We have two lawyers in here – would either of you be advising your clients to spend?

  27. Mark Timmons says:

    You also have a guy here who is not a lawyer who beat a cadre of lawyers!

    ;)

  28. Mark Timmons says:

    My record is 1.000.

    Beat that!

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