Monday Notes: Ownership & Prospects

Plenty to keep track of on this last Monday of January…

* While we’re still waiting to hear more details on the (at least) eight bidders who proceeded to the second round, Bill Shaikin notes that one of the eight has a substantial new partner. Tom Barrack, a Santa Monica investment banker, has joined up with the Leo Hindery / Marc Utay group. This is a group we really haven’t looked into all that closely, but considering that Hindery helped build the YES Network cash cow for the Yankees and Barrack brings significant financial muscle, it’s time to start taking them more seriously.

* Shaikin also sheds some light on Peter O’Malley’s bid, identifying a South Korean company, “E-land”, as his main financial backer. E-land is a worldwide conglomerate which largely deals in fashion, and has reported holdings of approximately $7 billion. O’Malley would reportedly also bring in local investors, though nothing has been made official yet. I don’t really have a problem with foreign money being involved – let’s try to keep the xenophobia to a minimum, you know? – especially with the Dodgers having had such a positive history with Asian baseball, but I’m still not really high on O’Malley’s group for the same reasons as I was earlier this month. While the O’Malley name clearly carries a lot of weight in the world of the Dodgers, it’s not like he left the organization in such great shape the first time, and I’d prefer someone younger than 74 to take the reins in transforming the Dodgers from an embarrassment into a club that is looking towards the future.

* Somewhat buried in Shaikin’s story about O’Malley is that Beverly Hills real estate tycoon Alan Casden did in fact make it to the second round of the bidding. That, plus the Barrack and O’Malley details, means that the most up-to-date list of eight that we know of is this:

1) Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten/Mark Walter
2) Joe Torre/Rick Caruso
3) Steven Cohen
4) Stanley Gold/Roy Disney family
5) Peter O’Malley / E-land
6) Stan Kroenke
7) Leo Hindery/Marc Utay / Tom Barrack
8) Alan Casden

I would caution again, however, that we do not know that these are the only eight. Just as Casden’s name wasn’t included originally, other bidders could still be in play, and we still don’t know what the hell to make of Josh Macciello.

* Jon Heyman reports that at least one bid is in the range of $1.5 billion, and if that’s true, it’s likely we are looking at a final sale price that’s between $1.5-$2 billion. I worried a few weeks ago that such a ludicrous sale price could have repercussions down the road, and that has the even more unfortunate effect of me having to agree with T.J. Simers, who wrote basically the same thing this weekend:

Some folks probably thought the Dodgers could do no worse than Fox’s ownership.

Change is difficult. This one will certainly involve higher ticket prices as the Parking Lot Attendant has lowered them for this season and the new guy will be paying more than $1 billion to please McCourt.

The payroll and stadium are going to need an upgrade. And just because the new guy isn’t McCourt doesn’t mean he’s not going to eventually hit Dodgers fans with the bill.

If he’s a loser, and there’s no guarantee just because he’s replacing McCourt that he’s going to be a winner, it’s going to take more than Magic Johnson waving to the crowd every night to keep folks happy.

Simers, for once in his miserable life, isn’t wrong. While we’re all hopeful, there’s no guarantee that the new owner is really the savior we hope they’ll be. However, I’m not going to let that bother me too much. The new owner might be terrible, but they might not be. There’s hope there. There was absolutely zero hope that McCourt was ever going to build a franchise we could be proud of, so even if the future is uncertain, I’ll take that over the certainty that the status quo was not going to work.

* At Baseball Prospectus, Maury Brown looks into the possibility that Kroenke could be involved in large part so he can move his St. Louis Rams back to Los Angeles. I’m sure that would actually make a lot of Dodger fans who grew up cheering for the Rams pretty happy, though of course Steve Dilbeck has already looked into this and inserted a terrifying theory that Kroenke could try to partner with McCourt to make this happen. Uh, no thanks.

* Getting back to baseball, Baseball Prospectus‘ Kevin Goldstein has his Top 10 Dodger prospect list out today. Obviously, all of these kinds of lists are educated guesses at best, but there’s few prospect reporters I respect more than Goldstein. Anything stand out to you on this list?

1. Zach Lee, RHP
2. Nathan Eovaldi, RHP
3. Allen Webster, RHP
4. Chris Reed, LHP
5. Garrett Gould, RHP
6. Chris Withrow, RHP
7. Alfredo Silverio, OF
8. Joc Pederson, OF
9. Alex Castellanos, OF/2B
10. Angel Sanchez, RHP
11. Shawn Tolleson, RHP

The first six players listed, and nine of eleven, are all pitchers – with only Lee seeming to still have a shot at stardom. We’ve known for a while that the Dodger system was pitching-heavy – the graduation of Dee Gordon & Jerry Sands off of lists like these doesn’t help, of course – but this really lays the flaws in the offensive side of the minors bare.

* Might we actually have a Ronald Belisario sighting this year? ESPN’s Tony Jackson claims that Belisario is already in Arizona, weeks ahead of schedule.

* Finally, the softball tourney Mike from The Left Field Pavilion is putting together is fast approaching, and it looks like some teams still need players. It’s for a good cause, so participate if you can.

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