So Bill Shaikin brings us some good news…
Rick Caruso and former Dodgers manager Joe Torre have withdrawn a joint bid to buy the Dodgers, three people familiar with the sale process said Thursday.
As you probably know, most of you know that I wasn’t all that excited about the possibility of Torre taking over control of the club, simply because he had to be considered by far the most likely of any of the potential new owners to retain Ned Colletti. So let’s enjoy a small victory there, and then jam our thumbs into our eye sockets as we see why it is that Caruso and Torre are no longer involved…
Caruso cited owner Frank McCourt’s refusal to include the Dodger Stadium parking lots in the sale, according to the people, who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the sale process. (snip)
Caruso and other bidders have believed the purchase of the parking lots would be negotiable. Caruso’s decision to withdraw offers the clearest evidence yet that McCourt intends to keep the lots and try to build on them.
…well, then. Shaikin also notes that McCourt claims he has at least one bid in hand that would allow him to retain the parking lots, and while I have absolutely no inside information to tell you who, it’s not too much of a stretch to wonder if that’s Stan Kroenke, since we’ve already heard suggestions that Kroenke might buy the Dodgers largely to team with McCourt in order to build a football stadium in the parking lots to bring the Rams back home.
Now before we all go off into a fury here, remember: this is Frank McCourt. As far as I’m concerned, he’d sell his own mother to North Korea if he thought it’d make him a few extra dollars, so it’s not at all hard to believe that McCourt may simply be playing hard to get when it comes to the lots in the hopes that some bidder will completely blow him away to get him to “reluctantly” include the parking lots.
Don’t also forget that McCourt has a legal obligation to sell the team by April 30. He can’t simply say that he didn’t get an offer he liked and change his mind, so he’s going to have to agree with somebody. It’d be nice if none of the bidders were willing to offer him deals that involve McCourt retaining the lots, so the indication that there’s at least one interested party who would let him keep the lots is quite disappointing.
But I’ll offer this: we just witnessed the winter of the “mystery team”. Who saw Prince Fielder going to the Tigers? Albert Pujols to the Angels? Yoenis Cespedes to the Athletics? You’ll notice that in the Shaikin story, the line that indicates McCourt has an offer that would allow him to keep the lots starts with the line, “McCourt has told people…” Well, I trust Bill Shaikin unconditionally, but that sentence might as well end with “…that Justin Bieber will be playing left field” or “…that he’s building parking lots on the moon.” Until we hear from a far more reputable source than Frank McCourt, we have no idea if there really is a bidder who is willing to let Frank stay involved. And if there’s not, then McCourt’s going to have no choice but to sell the team and the lots, if that’s the best he can do in the next few weeks.
As always, the clock is ticking, Frankie. See you in hell.