Categorized | Mark Timmons

Order In The Courtroom! Here Comes The Judge…

Order In The Courtroom!  Here Comes The Judge…

judge-with-gavelOver the past several weeks, I have seen the McCourt Saga gather momentum, like a rock rolling down a hill.  While the divorce is nasty and ugly, a lot of mis-information exists.  It starts with “McCourt might have to sell the team” (a possibility) to “McCourt has to sell the team” to “we want a new owner” to “McCourt won’t spend the money for young players” to “the young players will leave” to “McCourt will sell them off” to “Logan White and the coaches will leave” to “no player will want to play for the Dodgers.”  These are the ramblings of an overactive imagination.  There are several facts of which we can be sure:

  1. The Courts are divorcing;
  2. A hearing is scheduled for May to determine the ownership of the team – it is likely that it will not be decided until June or even later, depending upon many unknown factors;
  3. The Dodgers have been cash strapped as they have been leveraged since McCourt bought the team;
  4. This makes the Dodgers even more strapped for cash;
  5. The payroll probably CANNOT go much above $100,000,000; and
  6. At some point the Dodgers will solely be the property of Frank McCourt or they will be ruled as community property of the divorce.

That’s ALL we know.  You can think and imagine and conjecture, but that is all we KNOW!   You can assume the worst, if you are inclined to make yourself miserable, or you can face reality, which is listed above.  Every legal case is different.  Certain precedents may or may not apply in this case, as we do not have all the facts.  A $100 million payroll is not what any of us expect, but in any business,  certain years bring differing budget needs.  The Dodgers will still be in the TOP Thirty Percent in Baseball Payroll.  They are not the Padres.  Now, I would be unhappy if this were to go on forever, but all indications are that we can compete with a $100 million payroll THIS year. 

Also think about this:  The Boston RedSox had a payroll of $122.6 mil last year, while the Dodgers payroll was $109.1 mil.  So, the RedSox had $13.1 mil MORE payroll than the Dodgers, yet their income was about $30 mil more than the Dodgers!  When you consider that, the Dodgers payroll doesn’t look so bad.  Why doesn’t anyone bash John Henry for not spending more money?  If you put things into perspective,  it looks a lot different.  The sky is not falling and the end is not near!

Come June or July, if ownership of the Dodgers stays with Frank McCourt, then within a year or so, the payroll will creep back up and climb when a new cable deal is implemented.  If ownership is determined to be community property, then in all likelihood, the Dodgers will have to be sold.  Frank  McCourt  is reported to be working on developing land around Chavez Ravine, and I would guess he is also working on “Stadium Naming Rights.“  What role that will play in the divorce remains to be seen.  I have NO OPINION as to what the Court will do.  One can NEVER predict the outcome without all the facts and both sides are sandbagging and stalling discovery.  It is possible that this trial will not be held until after the season. 

You should also know this:  If the team is adjudicated to be “joint property” and has to be sold, it will be worth much more if it is a viable concern and making money with good revenue streams.  Selling players and doing what many of you predict will not happen because both Frank and Jamie would end up with much less money and both are too greedy to do that.  If ownership of the team is awarded to both parties, then the odds are it will be sold – hopefully to someone with deeper pockets who does not have to pay for debt service out of operating income.  Even at that, it is not inevitable that the team will be sold – however I would expect that as long as the front office remains a strength (and it is), the Dodgers will do just fine.

Our prospects are still bright and we have a plethora of good young arms, led by Billingsley and Kershaw.  Not all will make it, but we only need a few to make it, and within this group are some outstanding prospects:

  • Haegar
  • Troncoso
  • Elbert
  • McDonald
  • Martin
  • Eovaldi
  • Miller
  • Withrow
  • Lindblom
  • Webster
  • Guerra
  • Redding
  • Jansen
  • Schlichting
  • Leach

As many as eight on that above list could see time with the big club this year.  A real dark-horse who could grab a spot in the rotation is Josh Lindblom.  He will be 23 years-old next season, and while he has little starting experience, his 6′ 5″ – 240 lb. frame is what you would pick to be an ideal starter.    I think he would be “lights-out” in the pen, but he will be given an opportunity to start, along with Haegar, Elbert and possibly Troncoso.

Cheer up!  We are not rooting for the Padres!

About Mark Timmons

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

26 Responses to “Order In The Courtroom! Here Comes The Judge…”

  1. Badger says:

    “McCourt might have to sell the team”

    Yeah he might. But I haven’t said this. What I have said is that I WANT him to sell the team. Please, sell the Dodgers and then disappear back into the alleys of Boston Mr. McCreep.

    “You can assume the worst, if you are inclined to make yourself miserable, or you can face reality, which is listed above”

    It is from what we KNOW that we have extrapolated what we believe.

    Why is that so hard for some to understand?

    We KNOW the McCourts borrowed heavily to buy the Dodgers. That ain’t good.

    We KNOW the Dodgers are cash strapped. That ain’t good.

    We KNOW that in a divorce, assets are divided. How can this NOT affect the team? Especially since they are ALREADY leveraged? That is bad.

    We KNOW that this year we are just marking time by deferring payroll, dumping it when possible, and picking up marginal, inexpensive players. That’s butt ugly.

    Nobody said the sky was falling Mark. That is your interpretation. Nobody KNOWS for sure what is going to happen, but we don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. The sky is dark and heavy, it has already begun to rain and it is about to become a downpour.

    “You should also know this: If the team is adjudicated to be “joint property” and has to be sold, it will be worth much more if it is a viable concern and making money with good revenue streams.”

    Really? I think the team is valued by Forbes at somewhere in the $720 million range and that won’t change much because of one bad year. Even with what they owe, these two are going to make bank if they are forced to sell – which I am hoping will happen.

    It is my belief that as long as Frank McCourt owns the Dodgers it will be a mix of Moneyball and Sabean signings. This guy is a real estate broker that got rich on OPM and leveraging property. With the exception of the Dodgers, that easy money ship sailed. His equity in the team IS his value. He has no real money left and what is there has lawyers and Jamie crawling all over it. He will likely be pinching pennies until the cable deal finally, mercifully gets implemented. That isn’t for another 3 years.

    You can continue to support this guy if you choose Mark. But as the organization continues to be weakened, I am going to continue to speak up.

  2. Jdavis says:

    Badger that was beautiful

  3. A Shot of Haeger says:

    Mark and Badger’s posts were both beautiful. They’re also both right.

  4. Harold says:

    Don’t want to highjack the thread Mark but couldn’t get my question on the Horse thread before comments ran out.

    You wrote: “What the Colts have accomplished this decade has never been accomplished in any sport. Their run in the 2000’s is nothing short of incredible.”

    They have one Super Bowl, the Pats have three. They have won 5 more regular season games in the 2000′s than the Pats on the basis of their perfect run this year. Not looking for a debate but just wondered what they have done that has never been matched in this decade in any sport.

    GO DODGERS!!

  5. Badger says:

    Thanks Jdavis.

    I just checked the wires, and we didn’t sign anymore 36 year old journeyman back-ups, and looks like the Harang deal is dead, but I did find this:

    “At the end of this Bill Shaikin blog post about how Tiger Woods figures into the McCourt divorce, we learn:

    In yesterday’s court hearing . . . the lawyer for Jamie McCourt said that [Sorrell] Trope’s firm had charged $239,000 for work during the month of November alone. Dennis Wasser, the lawyer for Jamie McCourt, said two other firms had charged a combined $461,000 in November for work on behalf of Frank McCourt.

    So that’s where Frank’s money is. Frank spent $700,000 on legal work related to the divorce last month. All of the sudden, I’m reconsidering the motivation behind his desired early start date. I do wonder if the team is somehow paying some or all of the fees, as the litigation stands to dramatically affect the organization. I suppose it’s possible that this was why the team had asked to be a party to the proceedings. I generally like to avoid assumptions, but we know how lavishly the McCourts lived on the Dodgers’ dime. Is it possible that the club’s footing the bill for the divorce, too? And if so, the failure to land a notable free agent (or extend the budding superstar) will be an even tougher pill to swallow.

    The road to May 24 is going to be a long and expensive one.”

    Some or all of the fees? HE HAS NO MONEY. Certainly not $700K a month. Seems obvoius to me the Dodgers are paying for this. One way or another, the Dodgers will pay.

  6. Badger says:

    Off to see Brothers this morning. We are heading to Denver next week and will see Avatar at the downtown IMax theater. I am looking forward to it.

    You know what Harold, I saw that comment too and the first thing I thought of was the Lakers, the Boston Celtics, the 49ers, and the New Yourk Yankees. They all had a few of good decades.

  7. Harold says:

    Now I am off track Badger. My choice for team of this decade is the Detroit Red Wings.

    GO DODGERS!!

  8. SpokaneBob says:

    Mark,

    Would you post more information about the upcoming cable deal.

    The team may not be in the best position right now, but this too will pass. We may see some young player emerge because of the opportunity provided by this situation. I would rather focus on the positive things we have to look forward to in the 2010 season.

    I believe that in the coming season we will see Clayton Kershaw become a Cy Young quality pitcher. I look forward to Billingsley bouncing back to have his best season. Kemp, Ethier and Loney will continue to improve their games. I hope to see Russell Martin get back to where he needs to be offensively. I hope we see Blake DeWitt establish himself and fill the second base hole with good defense and a little power.

    In short, I expect the team to have another good season while the ownership works through this mess, one way or another. So I will pass on riding the bitchmobile and look forward to spring training.

  9. SpokaneBob says:

    Saw Avatar yesterday. Very entertaining.

  10. Mark Timmons says:

    Harold said:

    They have won 5 more regular season games in the 2000’s than the Pats on the basis of their perfect run this year. Not looking for a debate but just wondered what they have done that has never been matched in this decade in any sport.

    1. They have won 11 more regular season than the Pats (according to my math) during the 2000′s, which is more wins in any decade by a team in NFL history;

    2. 22 consective regular season wins- also a record;

    3. 7 straight years with 12 or more wins; and

    4. They have won a higher percentage of their games of any team in any decade (according to what I have researched – if I am wrong, then you need cite chapter & verse).

    Bob,

    The Dodgers cable deal runs out after 2012 and speculation is that they will try and start their own network.

  11. SpokaneBob says:

    Thanks Mark

  12. Roger Dodger says:

    I do not understand something here about the McCourts dealings.

    I there not: 1) his money, 2) her money, & 3) the L.A. Dodgers team money.

    Now, they can play with # 1 & #2 all they want — but are they allowed to use #3 for divorce lawyers, and extra things that do not involve baseball with #3?

  13. Jamie's Lovechild says:

    Roger calling Mark a sell-out, I don’t know if I would go along with that. However, some of his takes seem a little overly optimistic. All should be allowed their take however, so carry on Mark.

  14. Roger Dodger says:

    Badger — Mark has to basically support the Dodgers, its ownership, and direction. Mark has (I believe) constant communication with Josh Rawitch, vice-president of communications (media) for the Dodgers — and Mark really does not want (or should not) blast the Dodgers — because they give him bennies. Like sitting in the press box for games at home and on the road. Like inside information and the such.

    If Mark started questioning decisions and blasting ownership, manager, players — the Dodgers must might be busy when he calls.

    After the 2011 season:

    Agent: Well Matt, you had another great season. Right up front, you are the key hitter in the lineup. You lead the team and the league in game winning hits. Average .328, with 38 HRs, and 124 RBIs. The fans love you. You have been the best center fielder in the N.L. for three straight years. Your speed on the bases and covering the outfield.

    Matt: Now being a on the FA list, what do you suggest?

    Agent: Test the market. You can get some really big bucks. Now is the time to do it.

    Matt: But as we discussed before, the Dodgers raised me. I am a star today because they believed in me.

    Agent: Yes, and any other team would have done the same thing Matt.

    Matt: Yes, I guess so.

    Agent: I think you would be a great fit in Boston, with the Yankees, the Cubs, and in St. Louis — all of these for sure. All of those teams need a corner or centerfield outfielder and a solid hitter like yourself.

    Matt: The ticket?

    Agent: I would like you to get at least 4 years with a total of $100,000,000. I suggest $14 million the first year, $18 million the second, $22 million the third, and $26 the fourth. That is $80 in salary. Add to that a signing bonus of $10 million, and then some deferred money of $10 million payed after the last season over 8 years. That is a total of $100 million.

    I know the Red Sox and Yankees will pay that. Matt you are in the position to make that kind of money. You deserve that kind of money.

    If you stay in L.A. with the Dodgers, Frank will and cannot offer that kind of money. And believe me, until the Dodgers are sold, they are going to continue to be behind the Giants, Rockies, and D-Backs. Andre left last season, others will leave when they can.

    Matt: So you think this is a smart move?

    Agent: Take the Yankees. They need to look to the immediate future. ARod is in his injury years and not producing as much. Jeeter, the same. They need your bat and skills there. Boston is in a similar position.

    Matt: Okay, lineup the offers. My dad is thinking the same way.

  15. Harold says:

    That Colt stuff is pretty impressive Mark. Gotta agree. Must be my source or Math.(Wikipedia) I had Colts 115-43, Pats 110-47. In any event, quite a run.

    GO DODGERS!!

  16. Badger says:

    I could not have said it better myself Roger. Well done.

    I have known Mark a long time and I know there have been times he says stuff just to light it up in here. And it always works. I think we should all say thanks Mark, we are refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.

    Having said that, I do believe he has wood for Beltre.

    And, fact of the matter is, he COULD be right about what he proffers. I don’t think so, but what do I know? I voted for Gore.

    Brothers is a very good movie, about a tough subject. It actually brought back some bad memories for me. War is a job young men are forced to do when old politicians fail to do theirs. Be forewarned about seeing this movie. And, Tobey McGuire is outstanding.

  17. Mark Timmons says:

    I think Roger knows that if I felt otherwise, nothing the Dodgers said would alter my opinion. I see the warts. I wish we had Mark Cuban as an owner, but we don’t. Frank ‘s not as bad as everyone thinks however. Did you see what I posted about the Red Sox and the Dodgers Payrolls last year? The Red Sox were only $13.1 mil more than the Dodgers and their revenuse were dramaticaly higher. How do you explain that?

    Badger,

    I do have a thing for Beltre. I pray that no one signs him and we bring him in like we did O-Dog last year.

    Here’s something else to consider- the Yankees have payroll obligations of nearly $100 mil in 2013 with just a handfull of players. I don’t think they can have a $400 mil payroll…

  18. Mark Timmons says:

    I just happen to believe a team with a $100 mil or less payroll van win it all. After all, it has happend before. Fairly recently.

  19. Roger Dodger says:

    I pain and pant for Beltre. I have his jersey in my uniform row. I want him back. I voted 10 times for him as my all-time Dodger 3rd baseman.

    Face it, I have missed several month of Mark’s leadoff articles (my being away), but I do not remember seeing “Force Frank Out!” column. Or, “The NL Owner’s Should Force Frank To Sell.”

    Mark your comment above that the Dodgers were only $13.1 mil more than the Dodgers (last year) — okay, but that 13.1 could have had another key pitcher (starter) and a better bench. That just might have been enough to beat the Phillies.

  20. Mark Timmons says:

    The point is that the Sox had a lot more revenue by which to pay that $13.1 mil. The Dodgers were only $13.1 mil behind even though they took in about $30 mil less…

    Also, I wrote this article (but have now changed my mind):

    http://www.ladodgertalk.com/2009/12/what-the-difference-between-the-dodgers-and-a-catfish/

  21. train says:

    “what-the-difference-between-the-dodgers-and-a-catfish/”

    catfish are always found on the bottom, the Dodgers, just as soon as the mcCourts dismantle the franchise. And where is the “Godfather” when he’s really needed”. jeesh

  22. Godfather says:

    Listen you’s mugs, if I’s sees ya or hears ya talking bad about my beloved Dodgers anymore, I’s will puts suchas beatsdowns on you’s, you’s gonna wish you’s never been born.

  23. DRomo says:

    Roger Dodger & Mark for that fact, Check the stats and tell me why you want Beltre over Blake? And for twice the cost? Was it the 1 good year he had? Take that out and look at the present. Not only did Beltre play less games last year he committed more errors. In 2008 (Beltre’s last healthy year) who had better numbers? BLAKE!

    I am not a huge Casey Blake fan but I think we are barking up the wrong tree here! I just think we pine for that ONE good year he had with us. Do you not remember why we traded for Tyler Houston, Robin Ventura, etc? It was to replace the mediocre play of ADRIAN BELTRE!! Let me refresh your memory “Low and away, swung on and missed. Down goes Beltre”.

    Goodnight Now.

  24. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I understand that there is a restriction in the Dodgers deal with News Corp. that precludes them at present from establishing their own network. So why haven’t the Angels established their own network? I know of no restrictions that keep them from doing so.

  25. Badger says:

    I believe the Angels signed a sweet deal with FSN a couple of years ago. I remember reading about it anyway. Why Moreno didn’t do his own? Good question. Maybe it was just too complicated and FSN was offering the money.

    Chone Figgens would have looked good in the Dodger lineup. He was my choice for 3rd base. Oh well. In a parallel universe. I think Beltre in L.A. would actually be an improvement over Blake, but not that much and certainly not for the money he will be asking.

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