Bill Shaikin, once again, brings us what looks to be fantastic news:
After a two-year battle to keep the Dodgers through a bruising divorce and a bankruptcy filing, owner Frank McCourt appears close to agreement with Major League Baseball on a bankruptcy settlement in which he would agree to sell the team.
McCourt would get some control over the sale, people familiar with the negotiations said Monday. The purchase probably would include Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots in a package that could command a record price of $1 billion or more.
The negotiations are fluid, and settlement talks could fall apart at any time, said the people, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the confidential discussions. McCourt has not reached any final decision to sell, another person cautioned.
This is an expansion of Shaikin’s report from last week that McCourt and MLB were working to see if there was a deal to be made, and it is, on the surface, good news. The mere indication that McCourt might be accepting this is a no-win situation for him makes the possibility of a resolution a little more likely, at least moreso than an endless cold war of appeals and legal battles.
But I’m not ready to throw a party just yet, because as Shaikin notes, we’re a long way from a settlement. Then even if happens, the process of soliciting bids, selecting a buyer, and going through the approval process is hardly a speedy one. (Just look at how long it’s taken to get approval of the Astros sale, even though a sale agreement was announced nearly six months ago.)
Then there’s also the unknown of what will happen if McCourt gets “some control over the sale”. Obviously we can’t be sure what that would mean yet, but who among us really thinks that McCourt and MLB would be going into this process with similar goals? McCourt would obviously be interested only in maximizing his financial return (would you put it past him to sell to a mobster billionaire or a drug cartel if they offered him the most money? I wouldn’t), while MLB has to also worry about not setting up one of their marquee franchises with another ill-equipped or criminal owner.
It’s a step in the right direction, to be sure. But just a small one in what is sure to be a long, arduous process.