And Then There Were Eight…

Well, in theory. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that “at least eight” bidders have advanced to the second round of bidding for the Dodgers, so it’s not certain that there’s not other groups still in the running who we don’t know about.

But here’s what we do know so far: Mark Cuban & Dennis Gilbert are each out of the running. While Cuban’s departure will disappoint a lot of Dodger fans, this is hardly a surprise, since he’s been saying for a while that he placed a certain value on the Dodgers and likely wouldn’t be tossing out numbers above a billion dollars. Gilbert missing out is a bit more newsworthy, since he’s been rumored to be a serious bidder for years and I came away with a largely positive impression when I took an initial look at the bidders earlier this month, but with the dollar figures skyrocketing it’s quite possible he could keep up. (Or it could be what Peter Gammons is reporting, that Frank McCourt would never have selected Gilbert due to his relationship with Bud Selig.)

As for the eight survivors…

1) Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten/Mark Walter
2) Joe Torre/Rick Caruso
3) Steven Cohen (1-3 via Bill Shaikin in the Times)
4) Stanley Gold/Roy Disney
5) Peter O’Malley
6) Stan Kroenke (4-6 via Shaikin on Twitter)
7) Leo Hindery/Marc Utay (according to Wall Street Journal, via Dodger Thoughts)
8) Josh Macciello?? (perhaps – according to Macciello’s own Twitter)

Of course, it’s hardly as simple as that. We haven’t heard anything about some of the other groups, like the Orel Hershisher/Steve Garvey pairing, or Alan Casden, or Ron Burkle, or a few others, so since all we know is “at least eight” they could still be in. (And we’re just guessing about Macciello at the moment). Besides, even if these are the eight, they won’t all stay exactly as they are. We’ve already heard rumors that the O’Malley group might join the Gold/Disney team, and it’s still possible that Patrick Soon-Shiong or someone like him joins a group to add some financial muscle.

So while we’re making progress… there’s still a long way to go over the next two months until April 1, when McCourt has to make a choice. For the moment, I favor the Magic Johnson group over the others, with the Cohen, O’Malley, and Torre groups all having significant flaws in my eyes.

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Ghosts of Dodgers past: two of my least favorite Dodgers of recent years, Ryan Theriot and Juan Pierre, have found new homes. Theriot collects $1.25m to join the San Francisco infield, even though he can’t really hit or play shortstop anymore, and Pierre landed with the Phillies on a minor-league deal, even though he’s a poor fit for them despite the zero-risk deal he received. Fun fact: over the last two seasons with the White Sox, Pierre has a .277 batting average along with a .335 OBP and a 71.5 % success rate on stolen base attempts. In 2005-06, two seasons immediately preceding his arrival in Los Angeles, he had a .284 batting average to go with a .328 OBP and a 75.6% on steals. One of those two-year stretches earned him a non-roster invite to big league camp, and one earned him a five-year, $44m contract. And you wonder why the idea of a Joe Torre ownership, one that would potentially retain Ned Colletti, scares me?