A’s and Dodgers could be tangled up after all

The McCourt-Dodgers meltdown could have an unusual and for-now unmeasurable impact on the A’s depending on one decision: Who will be brought in to oversee the team now that MLB has seized it? According to ESPNLA’s Tony Jackson, the shortlist has three candidates:

  • Stan Kasten, former Nats president
  • John McHale, Jr., executive VP within MLB
  • Corey Busch, frequent MLB committee member and former team exec

Yes, that’s the same Corey Busch who’s on the A’s stadium panel with Irwin Raij and Bob Starkey. Busch has been all over the West Coast with his baseball involvement, including a key role in the ownership transition between Fox and the McCourts. Supposedly Busch was to stay on after the transition to become the Dodgers’ team president, but the job was offered to then-Red Sox front office man Mike Dee. Dee declined the position, got a raise, and eventually moved on to the Miami Dolphins in 2009. In 2005, Jamie McCourt became team president and executive VP. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was around the time the downward debt spiral began in earnest.

The commissioner’s appointee will have the tough task of sorting out the huge mess the McCourts made. Unlike Oakland, there will be no stadium study. Instead, it’ll be an effort to determine what abuses were made and what the team’s real fiscal health is. That’s important, because MLB will want to get as high a price as possible for the team once it finalizes its seizure. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Raij (law) and Starkey (accounting) brought in soon.

Problem is that the whole rigamarole would take at least a year, probably two. The McCourts’ divorce proceedings are in recess and aren’t scheduled to begin again until next year. Meanwhile, Frank McCourt is considering a lawsuit or injunction against MLB. That would be interesting since as we all know that teams (and owners) are prevented from suing each other or MLB thanks to the covenant known as the ML Constitution. If McCourt sues and a judge decides to allow his lawsuit to move forward instead of dismissing it early, the action would effectively challenge both the commissioner and baseball’s antitrust exemption together in one fell swoop. Which would be, well, is it 2012 yet?

The best thing for Frank McCourt would be to see the writing on the wall, take his lumps, and give up the Dodgers. That would speed everything else up.

Short term, what does this mean for the A’s? It could be interpreted as two possibilities. Either the panel is done with its work, or Selig has seen fit to put the A’s on the backburner while the Dodgers mess is cleaned up. Or both. The crazy thing about this is that the whole strategy about keeping the A’s and Rays in limbo for the upcoming CBA talks has been pretty much blown out of the water thanks to the much scarier impact of the Mets’ and Dodgers’ woes. Neither of those will get fixed before the next CBA is ratified. So, Bud, how about getting the “easy” stuff out of the way first?

More good reading: Dodger Divorce, Biz of Baseball, Forbes

8 thoughts on “A’s and Dodgers could be tangled up after all

  1. i have a feeling the a’s will be on the back burner and threw out the idea a few weeks ago that many have expressed is that selig will not want to be the commish when the decision has to be made leaving that “tough decision” for the next guy in charge.

    it sickens me as a a’s fan to see them in this shit hole mlb has put them into. the a’s play in what will be the worst or 2nd worst venue in all of mlb only right there with the trop in tampa bay. i think if this tr issue was settled especially in sj’s side a year or two ago where imo this stupid blue ribbon panel wasn’t need and maybe a couple of month investigation was made, then imo the a’s would be building a park in sj right now and we’d be a year or two away from playing in a new park.

    instead we got a team that has a world series caliber pitching staff but offensive, NOBODY wants to come here as a free agent because of the coliseum. maybe landing the likes of beltre and berkman which were beane’s primary targets this past offseason to boost the offense and so far both are showing good signs so far thru the first three weeks of the season but neither wanted to come here due to the park’s identity of being a house of horrors for hitters and also because the park is 1/3 empty for a good amount of games, no free agent hitter of any worth wants to come here. so beane has to trade for “b level” hitters like a willingham and dejesus, solid players, but not imo game changers and as we’ve seen in the past with holliday even top level hitters who get dealt here especially during their primes don’t want to be here long term because of the park’s issues. that would all end with a new park be it in sj or oakland but fucking selig and his idiot friends are taking their sweet time with the decision. look at the report by boras last offseason, don’t know how legit it was, when there was talk about damon possibly ending up back with the a’s where boras released a report that damon lost a ton of abs here playing at the coliseum back in 01 having his worst year of his career.

  2. In the Expos-to-Washington situation, there was a very similar Relocation Committee — which also included Corey Busch. And as with the A’s now, Selig and MLB answered all questions about the Expos status by deferring to the ongoing work of the Committee. That went on for 3 years.
    Reality: the Committee is responsible for basic data gathering and day to day communications with officials in the relevant cities. The decision about where exactly the A’s end up and how they get there will not be made or significantly shaped in ANY way by the opinions of the Committee members. It’s entirely up to Selig and a handful of people around him whom he trusts on such issues (like Jerry Reinsdorff or David Glass). Selig already understands the broad outlines of the realistic options for the A’s, and there isn’t much for the Committee to add. They are window-dressing, covering up the fact that Bud has no intention of moving quickly on this kind of issue.
    For better or worse, Selig’s decision-making style is to let events run their course, until a consensus builds within MLB ownership ranks that there’s really no alternative to whatever decision he makes. It will happen eventually, but it’s not even close to happening now.

  3. Simply put: the committee is done with its work and just waiting for SJ (or OAK) to cross the finish line.
    One thing people forget is that Busch is a former exec of the SF Giants who tried hard to move the team to SJ in the early 90’s.
    Busch also worked closely with former SJ mayor Susan Hammer, who’s a current Baseball SJ leader.
    Anyhow, Busch has known since day 1 the Bay Area situation and is probably ready to move on to bigger things.

  4. So anyone have any insight into the last pieces of land in SJ- last I heard was a month or so ago where mayor Reed said that they had willing sellers but as I recall indicated nothing would happen until they heard from MLB-

  5. This tangled web we weave grows thicker…

  6. Interesting tidbits on this case form ESPN’s Jayson Stark (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=6409227) :
    – “When you sign on to buy a major league team,” the club official said, bluntly, “you’re basically signing on to say, ‘Bud Selig can do anything he wants….Before you become part of the fraternity,” the second attorney said, “you have to sign away all your rights. You’re waiving your right to take legal recourse.”
    – “So where might Prince land? The Nationals are often mentioned as a potential destination for Fielder or Pujols. And clubs that have spoken with them describe them as having a hefty reserve of money to spend on the right player or players over the next couple of years.”

    The Nats? Wow…talk about turning the franchise around from non-existent during the Expos days to now entertaining Fielder / Pujols signings? One ponders what a similar move could do for the A’s! 😉

  7. The issues involving the A’s, Rays, Dodgers, & Mets have to be cleaned up, not only because of the expiring labor agreement, but because of the National TV contract as well (Fox’s contract expires after the 2013 Season), the possibility of Jerry Brown successfully ending RDA’s, and because Bud Selig is retiring as Commissioner.
    As far as the TV contract is concerned, assentially there are five major NATIONAL MLB teams: Cardinals, Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees & Dodgers, who get the bulk of ratings and general fan interest., so the Dodger (And to a lesser extend Mets issue), is huge. While I admit that MLB should do well with their new Contract (See what the Big XII & NHL got as far as increases are concerned), they would do a lot better if the Dodgers mess was cleaned up.
    These issues directly affects the Stadium issue with the A’s (Tampa Bay is something else entirely different). The reasons are simple: 1: There is there is one thing that BOTH the A’s and Giants can agree on, it is the desire for more $$$$ in the next TV contract. From a Giant perspective, making that money should make it easier to swallow the idea of the A’s moving to San Jose. 2: From the MLB’s point of view, most of the coverage in the media has been negative: From labor disputes, to steroids, to statium issues, to salaries, to ownership issues, to the umpiring. If the A’s can be moved, the Dodger and Mets messes cleaned up, a labor contract agreed to, and a good TV Contract agreed to, Selig (Who has been vilified for years), can go out a hero.
    I strongly suspect that some kind of agreement related to the A’s isalready finalized, or is being wrapped, up, and will be announced before the All-Star Game, so that that issue will be taken off the table, and this way the A’s, and MLB can move forward.

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