Prepare Yourself For the Steven Cohen Era


Bill Shaikin, hit me with some truth:

Patrick Soon-Shiong, the richest man in Los Angeles, has joined the Dodgers bid group led by hedge-fund billionaire Steven Cohen.

The alliance is the strongest indication yet of Cohen’s intention to present outgoing owner Frank McCourt with a final bid that reflects prominent local support rather than just overwhelming East Coast money.

We’d been wondering about where Soon-Shiong was in this process, long expecting him to join the Magic Johnson group, and now we know. I don’t pretend to have any inside knowledge of this process, but I just can’t see how this doesn’t make Cohen the overwhelming favorite. His bid already contained the largest amount of straight cash of any of the remaining four groups, and it’s hard to think that adding the massively wealthy Soon-Shiong won’t now make his overall bid the largest. (Considering Soon-Shiong is a friend of Johnson’s, his decision to go elsewhere can also be read as something of a sign that Soon-Shiong is joining the group that he thinks is really going to win.)

As Shaikin notes, Cohen’s biggest flaw is simply who he is; he has little baseball experience, and it’s going to be tough to sell fans on another New Englander who has never been to Dodger Stadium and who has survived a divorce just as brutal as the McCourt fiasco. He’s shored himself up on the baseball side by recruiting prominent player agent Arn Tellem and has been linked with Steve Greenberg, the former deputy commissioner and son of Hall of Famer Hank; the partnership with Soon-Shiong not only adds cash but also a very respected Los Angeles citizen.

Now, I’ve been pretty clear how against Cohen I’ve been since the beginning of this process. Now that it seems he’s the clear frontrunner, I’m trying to look on the bright side here, and there’s one massive positive: Cohen and Soon-Shiong are estimated to be worth over $15 billion between the two of them. That means we may not have to worry so much about whether a record-setting purchase price would impact the ability to invest in the team and stadium; it also means that we may not have to worry about a large amount of debt being a part of the purchase price.

It’s also worth noting that a team owner doesn’t necessarily have to be out in front and charismatic, as McCourt tried (and failed miserably) to do. I don’t know if Cohen would plan to move to Los Angeles, and it might not matter. He could simply be the moneyman from across the country and allow Tellem or someone like him with baseball experience to run the team, and that’s fine. We all like the idea of the personable owner at the park every night shaking hands with the fans, and while that’s noble and potentially what a Magic Johnson ownership would be like, it’s also not always realistic. Plenty of owners simply let the smart people take the lead in public, and if the money is there and the meddling isn’t, that’s not always the worst thing in the world.

If this sounds like I’m trying to talk myself into this, well, I am. Of course, questions remain. What would Tellem’s style be like? (One fact I do like about him is his positive experience in importing Asian players, including Hideo Nomo and Yu Darvish.) Would we really be subjected to the unwanted involvement of Tony LaRussa? (Ken Rosenthal wrote earlier today that LaRussa’s presence could prevent interest from smart baseball execs.) And despite the financial muscle in this group, is this still going to end with McCourt hanging onto the parking lots?

The process isn’t over yet, of course. Johnson’s group could find some additional purchasing power, and it’s not like Stan Kroenke doesn’t have billions of dollars at his disposal. It’s just hard not to see tonight’s news about Soon-Shiong choosing Cohen and read it as anything other than a group vaulting into the lead.

122 comments
drh
drh

I know your busy, Mike, but that pic of Cohen staring back at me every time I come here is starting to freak me out.

shmolnick
shmolnick

Finally, an intelligent post about Kim Ng. Sure, she's been a top-notch contract negotiator, but what baseball-related moves has she been responsible for?

Joe
Joe

I've never understood the "Kim Ng for GM!" thing. She seems like a competent executive, but other than getting a ton of publicity because she was the most prominent female in baseball for many years, what do we know about her? She worked for the White Sox, then she joined the Yankees after the dynasty years had started in the late '90s, and then she spent a few years with the Dodgers -- years that were OK but nothing special. She has no known scouting experience and she never brought an impact player to the Yankees or Dodgers, etc. As I said, I'm sure she's a competent exec, but I don't understand the widespread perception that she's a Grade A GM candidate (or the best GM candidate available). I guess it's trendy to support a woman for GM, but other than that ...?

dodgerccp
dodgerccp

Good luck to LHP Albert Castillo in another organization and the same to Mr. & Mrs. Ned Colletti. Go Blue!

Darth Small
Darth Small

What would be the harm in signing Kuo to a minor league contract at this point? I mean, he would have to accept the contract first, but if he did, why not take the chance?

Garrett
Garrett

Insist on the parking lots being a part of the sale, get rid of NedCo on day one, hire Kim Ng as replacement GM, spend big market type money WISELY, and stay as far away from TLR as humanly possible. If Cohen does all of that, then I'll be a happy camper. Anything less, and quite frankly I'll be devastated.

Ken
Ken

This has the possibility of being great news. Two uber-rich guys that have the wealth to both (1) purchase the parking lots, and (2) build a tv network, which will provide the Dodger Empire with more EBITDA than a new TV contract with FOX thus allowing the team to have more debt, improve the stadium sooner, expand its payroll faster, develop the minor league system more effectively, develop the international system faster, and sign great free agents when available (after of course waiving Ned and some of his player signings). Sign Kuo to a minor league contract. Didn't Soria just throw innings against the Dodgers? Is Bxoxton now the KC Cloers? Did Kemp make his stance more closed over the winter? Waive Troncoso and keep Fields on the 25 man roster for a month.

NJ-Dodger-fan
NJ-Dodger-fan

this is the last straw, I'm becoming a Mets fan. :(

Casey
Casey

The O'Malleys were from the East Coast, too. Just sayin'...

Real Tom
Real Tom

I'm not too worried about Cohen and his money. I like it just fine. I don't yet have a problem with Tellem either. I'm just hung up on LaRussa. That one is tough for me. Even now, with McCourt being a TERRIBLE owner that uses the team as a piggy bank, I find myself more angry with Colletti.

Lex S
Lex S

Cohen is a miserable POS, but I'm not a sports fan for rational reasons and it's not like this will stop me from being a Dodger fan, only Donald Sterling has that power. I just hope he leaves Donnie to manage the team, and gives Vin Scully a raise. I don't live in L.A anymore and when I did I never parked in the parking lot. I parked on Morton Ave where the mural used to be.

SV Narine
SV Narine

The only bad news about this, as stated above, is LaRussa's involvement. He is a giant red flag but maybe just being tossed around by Cohen as a big baseball name.

The Dude Abides
The Dude Abides

How ironic that Soon-Shiong's company was one of the favorite targets of the hedge fund mafia short sellers in the previous decade when they were trying to get their first cancer drug approved by the FDA. And now he's joining up with the head honcho of the hedgies. Business is business, I guess. At least with Soon-Shiong's company, the tactics of Cohen et al didn't delay the approval. Can't say the same about some of their other targets.

Mark
Mark

We get rid of an selfish idiot without cash and we get the richest owner in baseball/pro sports. Why are we mad exactly? Lets give this 15 Billion dollar ownership team a chance. I would take ANYONE, rich or poor, over the last guy.

Mike
Mike

I know. Completely inexcusable on my part. It'll be a hell of a lot easier to be a writer when I'm not also being a web developer too. Soon!

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

What are General Managers if not executives? I don't know of too many GMs who personally scout and evaluate players in a vacuum. Our own Ned Colletti was a PR/marketing guy before his ascension into the great halls of GM-hood. (This is not to say anything positive about Colletti's abilities as a GM, just that the path to GM is many and varied.) Now, I agree that Ng has benefited from the fact that she's not only a woman but a minority woman (go asian sister!), but say that she's never brought an impact player to the Yankees or Dodgers is the same thing as saying "X, Y, Z assistant GM not responsible for scouting didn't bring A, B, C player." The reason is, that's not part of their purview. I mean, it would be the same thing for me to say, what good is Logan White as a potential GM since he's never successfully argued for the Dodgers in arbitration.

Joseph
Joseph

I don't think you'd be devastated by anything less. That is the pretty much ideal situation there (except for the Ng as replacement GM, I think there are better options) but there are still plenty of other good possibilities for the team. I will agree with you on one thing though, Ned Colletti must be fired. The rest is negotiable. Heck, if Cohen and Soon-Shiong get the team they'll have so much money that they could spend it unwisely and still get better players than the team has under McCourt the last few years. Heck, they could literally just throw as much money as they want at just about anybody, they could sign several 100 million dollar players and barely feel a dent.

Mike
Mike

I don't have my heart set on it being Ng, but otherwise, yyyyep.

The Dude Abides
The Dude Abides

I agree, I'll despise Cohen even more if Colletti is retained. Colletti has been equally as responsible as McCourt has for the crappy roster that's been on the field for the past two seasons.

Darth Small
Darth Small

I doubt it is just a name, he has been attending spring training games at Camelback which, I can only assume, is some sort of scouting/team evaluating/familiarising move.

Mike
Mike

I don't think most of us are mad. Yes, Cohen wasn't exactly my favorite, but I think this article is about seeing the bright side of things.

Joe
Joe

Using a GM widely seen to be mediocre or poor (Colletti) as a counterexample isn't persuasive. . Ng has received a ton of publicity because she's a woman, and not because of any actual impact. Yes, she's argued a few arbitration cases successfully, but that's "ashtray money" to a team like the Dodgers (or Yankees, or even White Sox). If arbitration and some contract negotiation is the best of what she brings to the table, she's not even close to being the top choice for GM. . Beyond that, she jumped ship when the going got tough in Los Angeles for a cushy job at the Commissioner's Office. If she didn't want to stick things out in the bad times, why on earth would she be anyone's first choice for GM? (And why would Dodgers fans want a Selig loyalist as GM? Haven't the Dodgers operated as a middle-market team for long enough?)

Garrett
Garrett

@ greg: Well, what we really need is someone at the helm that knows how to negotiate contracts, and that's a trait that Ng is generally highly regarded in. I mean, a lot of people are acting like we're just gonna start winning again because we'll be able to spend money, but the truth is that we really should be concerned with how wisely it is spent rather than just being preoccupied with the actual dollar amount. How many times have we seen Ned hand out two year contracts when the market was only supporting one year deals? How many times have we seen Ned hand out guaranteed contracts when a NRI was all that was warranted? We give Ned a lot of crap for shopping from the scrap heap, but what can't get lost in this is the bloated contracts he's handed out when he's actually been able to spend big bucks.

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

LOL@Ken & Mike. I think y'all are destined to be devastated.

Franky
Franky

Hi Mike, so we all hope Ned is gone by Mai 1'st but who do you think or like to be the next GM? Greets from Germany

craigbhill
craigbhill

Doubtful an East coast origin, wouldn't you agree, makes Cohen ipso facto the champion-builder that was the O'Malley family, both ends, until Peter ran out of the funds necessary to compete with the Steinbrenners. Up until the Torre-led Yanks went on their championship run, '96-'00, and on until '03, Peter O'Malley separately from Walter won 1 more pennant and an equal number of championships as Steinbrenner had, without doing so by inheriting a championship team from dad. It is not coincidental that Peter decided to sell the team to an entity with greater resources once he realized the riches in the deeper pockets the Yankees had than he could ever come up with, in '97.

a
a

I believe you called him the worst human being on the planet, responsible for the unnecessary deaths of thousands so how can you despise him even more?

Justin Drummond
Justin Drummond

The actual Tony LaRussa now looks like someone wearing a cheap Tony LaRussa mask. So really, that could be anyone wandering around Camelback.

badger3
badger3

I'm not mad. In fact I am happy. Getting rid of McCourt should make all of us happy. . It is a question of who people prefer. I am not crazy about a hedge fund dude from the East Coast, I would prefer a guy like Magic Johnson, for personal reasons. I just don't inherently have a lot of respect for guys like Cohen. He seems to be another grease ball to me, and he grew up a Mets fan. But I don't know the guy. Maybe he will treat the Dodgers with the respect they deserve. Maybe it's just something to add to his extensive art collection.

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

garret - i absolutely agree with you. I think there's a lot of pluses that Ng brings and I do appreciate her abilities but she isn't the only person who can negotiate contracts (as I mentioned above, the key point of a GM is an overall management position who can articulate and propagate his/her philosophy). And you won't hear a harsher critic of Ned Colletti than me. I despise him.

Craig Hill
Craig Hill

The guy who asked ;What is it about Kim Ng that makes her so attractive as a Dodger GM' won me over by his argument, tho i am firmly in the Logan White camp anyway. Here's a guy who drafted everyone in the Dodger system who probably has files on every player in baseball, and we have this doofus Ned who needs to see a shrink about why he loves old broken-down has-beens, because he was never loved by his broken-down has-been father, who Ned killed one night and ever since has tried to bring him back by denying Youth its due and rewarding broken-down has-beens by FILLING THE CLUB WITH THEM. So let us pray it's buhbye to psychotic Ned and hello, Logan.

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

To each his own Garret but I don't think there has been any bids where the parking lot has been included in the purchase.

Garrett
Garrett

Yeah, my wants for the franchise may be "pie in the sky", and as a result I know I'm likely to be devastated. That said, these past few seasons have trained me how to deal with devastation as it relates to the Dodgers, so I guess I could at least thank McCourt for that. I do agree with Mike that hiring Kim Ng wouldn't be an absolute necessity; I just want someone in there like her that will presumably be progressive in their handling of contracts and personnel decisions. Frankly, the parking lot issue is the only true deal-breaker for me. I swear on Tommy's big belly and on Vin's golden throat that I will NEVER so much as step foot in DS so long as McCourt retains any semblance of ownership.

Jeff M.
Jeff M.

Oh! Ha. Well, now that we all know what's going on. . .

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

lol, another example of why this commenting system sucking giant monkey nuts; I was responding to Ken as well!

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

Hmm? I assume this is in reference to my reply? I'm not sure I follow. I was simply respond to Garrett and Mike's rather pie in the sky desire that if all their conditions weren't met that they would be devastated.

Jeff M.
Jeff M.

Sure! It's a small, rodent-like animal with sharp teeth, right?

Ken
Ken

Do you even know what the word "Possibility" means?

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

Certainly don't want to speak for Casey but I think he echoes a point that I've made early and often, which is, independent of the origin of the owner, the important metric is whether they 1) care about baseball; 2) care about the Dodgers. . And I most definitely do not mean to imply that Cohen = east coast origin = championship contending (much less winning).

a
a

I didn't ask if you thought you could despise him more as I had read your post so I knew what you thought. I asked how. I should have made clear I meant how logically. First of all, you said you would become an Angels fan if Cohen became the Dodgers owner so as a new Angels fan it would be logical for you to be glad if Colletti was retained. i did

The Dude Abides
The Dude Abides

Nope, just one of the worst. And yes, I can despise him even more.

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

Obviously by being responsible for the unnecessary deaths of HUNDREDS of thousands!

Darth Small
Darth Small

did you see him, or a reasonable facsimile, at one of the games that was not rained out?

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

CH: In one of the latest Bill Shaikin articles on the bids and the bidders this point, that every bid has been made with a side bid on the parking lot, is stated without elaboration. I wouldn’t imagine Shaikin would have written it without specific knowledge it’s so. GH - Must've missed that article. Last I've read was that none of the bids included paying rent on the parking lot. . CH: That’s why he needs the new owner, to ride his credit and act possibly as hidden partner, letting the new owner, who will receive a friendly first impression and hearing from every quarter in LA, carry the message to the authorities he/they need to approve whatever their mutual plan might comprise. If they’re going to do anything to the lot, assuming it stays the property of McCourt, i only hope Kroenke wins the team and brings the Rams to play in a new football stadium in the Ravine, with McCourt part of it or not. Anything else, i wouldn’t like. GH - McCourt's brand is toxic around city hall, sure, his name could be hidden behind shell companies but I highly doubt if any of the bids bought the parking lots from McCourt he would still be allowed to retain a portion, even as a minority. But, stranger things have happened. . CH: Altho, i would think MLB would prefer fractionated ownership to better keep ‘the Dodgers’ (the owners) from agreement on spending the moon on players. MLB does not want another debt-ridden LA ownership, that we know for certain. HOWEVER, lost in all this discussion is the fact McCourt makes the final decision from any number of applicants will be approved by MLB. IOW, McCourt may prefer Magic’s $1.6 over Cohen’s $1.3, and tell MLB to go pound sand. In fact one of the aspects of this that i do not understand is why he would go with a lower bid UNLESS there is an advantage in a side deal with developing the lot, e.g., with Kroenke’s Rams and new NFL stadium, of which theoretically McCourt could become part owner of both! Now, why would he choose Cohen to please a lot of owners he’s stolen from already thru luxury tax avoidance, and who it’s been clear in his fights with MLB he has little beyond contempt for. THERE IS NO REASON for him to pick Cohen just because Rob Manfred wants him to. Why just throw away Magic’s bid of $300 million more than Cohen’s!? I do not get that. GH - Well, any of the bids that are returned for McCourt's final decision, with be in effect, a bid that MLB would find acceptable. So while MLB prefers Cohen's bid b/c of its better debt/equity ratio, I assume the Magic/Kasten/Walter group's debt/equity ratio is still one that MLB finds acceptable. And this is why I don't understand why everybody says Cohen is the favourite, his overall bid value is lower and we know McCourt needs all the cash he can get his hands on. The secret deal scenario is one that I speculated a long while ago and the closer we get to the actual deadline, TBH, the less likely it is to happen, there are just too many moving parts and too many ELECTED officials would need to be involved. The process just seems fraught with risk an could blow up in everybody's face to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. That just seems unlikely to me. . CH: Well, i don’t know what might cause other people’s hearts to go pittypat, if it’s a legacy or a statue or owning the naming rights for Los Angeles (“Soon City”). If i were in Soon’s postion i could not care less what people thought of me, or that people knew my name or that i existed, all that is meaningless, i’d want to do the right thing because i love the Dodgers. I’m hoping that’s what Soon is in this for: Championships. GH - When you have more money than you're able to spend in several lifetimes, priorities start to shift. Look at some local examples, Eli Broad's rebuilt half of Downtown in his image and donates or loans a great portion of his art collection. Bill Gates is trying to cure malaria. I think there's competitiveness, no doubt, Soon-Shiong wouldn't have been successful if he weren't competitive but even he himself has said that he's truly passionate about basketball. I think his desire to have a legacy will lead him down the path that fans want to see: A winning tradition. Or that's the hope at least.

craigbhill
craigbhill

Re >> but not so obvious, apparently, is that yes indeed each of the bids has 2) included the lot in a separate bid so far not added to the reported sum of each bid because McCourt is in control of the release of those numbers and does not want anyone to know how much the bidders are asking for it, so he might better finagle the highest price for it, IF any bid for the lot comes close to knocking his socks off versus what he expects he might get out of keeping and developing it. This is a very interesting and well thought out position. Of course, we’ve not read about this development anywhere else and quite possibly this is the end game McCourt had in mind when he negotiated the terms of the settlement with MLB. It’s fascinating but amounts to simply tea leaf reading on our parts though (unless you have a source that is hereto unmentioned). CH: In one of the latest Bill Shaikin articles on the bids and the bidders this point, that every bid has been made with a side bid on the parking lot, is stated without elaboration. I wouldn't imagine Shaikin would have written it without specific knowledge it's so. >> One of the few silver or platinum linings of the Cohen bid is that, with $15 billion + in the vault, between Cohen and Soon can make a nonviolent offer for the lot McCourt may not be able to refuse. 3) Quite possible because even if McCourt is able to find partners (since he will only be worth several hundred million dollars, not enough to actually develop the land), he will face an extremely hostile city council when he goes for approval to develop Chavez Ravine. Something that I think he is rather unlikely to receive. CH: That's why he needs the new owner, to ride his credit and act possibly as hidden partner, letting the new owner, who will receive a friendly first impression and hearing from every quarter in LA, carry the message to the authorities he/they need to approve whatever their mutual plan might comprise. If they're going to do anything to the lot, assuming it stays the property of McCourt, i only hope Kroenke wins the team and brings the Rams to play in a new football stadium in the Ravine, with McCourt part of it or not. Anything else, i wouldn't like. >> I’m wondering, what with the supposed municipal patriotism Soon holds, if he is doing what he might have done by joining forces with Magic, which is what ever is best for LA and the Dodgers. He may be the moneyman who wants to make sure (a) the lot will be bought, maybe with his money, so that he could stop McCourt’s plans to develop and gouge both the team and the fans (b) the Dodgers will have the payroll they need to rise to championship caliber, which is not the case currently. His awareness of local thought about McCourt, and institutional Dodger concerns, how to make the team rise to what it was, a perennial contender chock full of players that could line up against the richest in the playoffs, may be why he has thrown in with Cohen, who really doesn’t need his money but like a good billionaire isn’t refusing it either. 4) I think your last sentence is the most cogent one. Soon-Shiong figures that the Magic/kasten/Walter group’s bid is too highly leveraged and complicated while with Cohen, in addition to his money, brings local cachet which Cohen actually needs, possibly more than Soon-Shiong’s cash. CH: Yeah, i can't see how Cohen needs a penny of Soon's money. That's my biggest question, what Soon is in it for. I'm hoping it's do what's best for the Dodgers, the fans and LA. . >> which we know is the case because McCourt seems to want the cash in a $1.3 B bid more than he wants the paper in a $1.6 B bid, or the superior attractiveness of Cohen’s bid makes no sense, and that Soon also does not have the cash to add to whatever Magic has that would top Cohen. Makes sense, no? 5) This is the myth that I’ve been trying to debunk for what seems like weeks now. MLB prefers Cohen’s bid and this is probably why he is considered a “front runner”, because in his bid (prior to the addition of Soon-Shiong), he would be 100% owner ($900MM/64% equity & $500MM/37% debt) whereas the Magic/Kasten/Walter group bid is probably more highly leveraged. CH: Altho, i would think MLB would prefer fractionated ownership to better keep 'the Dodgers' (the owners) from agreement on spending the moon on players. MLB does not want another debt-ridden LA ownership, that we know for certain. HOWEVER, lost in all this discussion is the fact McCourt makes the final decision from any number of applicants will be approved by MLB. IOW, McCourt may prefer Magic's $1.6 over Cohen's $1.3, and tell MLB to go pound sand. In fact one of the aspects of this that i do not understand is why he would go with a lower bid UNLESS there is an advantage in a side deal with developing the lot, e.g., with Kroenke's Rams and new NFL stadium, of which theoretically McCourt could become part owner of both! Now, why would he choose Cohen to please a lot of owners he's stolen from already thru luxury tax avoidance, and who it's been clear in his fights with MLB he has little beyond contempt for. THERE IS NO REASON for him to pick Cohen just because Rob Manfred wants him to. Why just throw away Magic's bid of $300 million more than Cohen's!? I do not get that. >> A guess is that Soon might be staking out the territory Magic would have in assuring the city the Dodgers woud rise again and the fanbase made happy. 6) As I pointed out in 4, I think you and I are in agreement. Soon-Shiong is looking after his local legacy. Because let’s be frank now, prior to Magic selling his stake in the Lakers to Soon-Shiong, how many of us really knew who he was? Well, i don't know what might cause other people's hearts to go pittypat, if it's a legacy or a statue or owning the naming rights for Los Angeles ("Soon City"). If i were in Soon's postion i could not care less what people thought of me, or that people knew my name or that i existed, all that is meaningless, i'd want to do the right thing because i love the Dodgers. I'm hoping that's what Soon is in this for: Championships.

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

craigbhill - first, I want to say that your suppositions above are absolutely fascinating. Let me try to respond best I can. . >> The reason for keeping the lot out of the sale is obvious. 1) Well, as I mentioned above, the reason why the lot was kept out, such as it is, is because the entity which owns the parking lot is not in bankruptcy court and is therefore beyond the reach of bankruptcy court or MLB. In fact, this is part of the reason why McCourt took the Dodgers into bankruptcy, in order to keep MLB away from the parking lots (and whether to put the parking lots up for sale is at the sole discretion of McCourt per his approved settlement with MLB). . >> but not so obvious, apparently, is that yes indeed each of the bids has 2) included the lot in a separate bid so far not added to the reported sum of each bid because McCourt is in control of the release of those numbers and does not want anyone to know how much the bidders are asking for it, so he might better finagle the highest price for it, IF any bid for the lot comes close to knocking his socks off versus what he expects he might get out of keeping and developing it. This is a very interesting and well thought out position. Of course, we've not read about this development anywhere else and quite possibly this is the end game McCourt had in mind when he negotiated the terms of the settlement with MLB. It's fascinating but amounts to simply tea leaf reading on our parts though (unless you have a source that is hereto unmentioned). . >> One of the few silver or platinum linings of the Cohen bid is that, with $15 billion + in the vault, between Cohen and Soon can make a nonviolent offer for the lot McCourt may not be able to refuse. 3) Quite possible because even if McCourt is able to find partners (since he will only be worth several hundred million dollars, not enough to actually develop the land), he will face an extremely hostile city council when he goes for approval to develop Chavez Ravine. Something that I think he is rather unlikely to receive. . >> I’m wondering, what with the supposed municipal patriotism Soon holds, if he is doing what he might have done by joining forces with Magic, which is what is best for LA and the Dodgers. He may be the moneyman who wants to make sure (a) the lot will be bought, maybe with his money, so that he could stop McCourt’s plans to develop and gouge both the team and the fans (b) the Dodgers will have the payroll they need to rise to championship caliber, which is not the case currently. His awareness of local thought about McCourt, and institutional Dodger concerns, how to make the team rise to what it was, a perennial contender chock full of players that could line up against the richest in the playoffs, may be why he has thrown in with Cohen, who really doesn’t need his money but like a good billionaire isn’t refusing it either. 4) I think your last sentence is the most cogent one. Soon-Shiong figures that the Magic/kasten/Walter group's bid is too highly leveraged and complicated while with Cohen, in addition to his money, brings local cachet which Cohen actually needs, possibly more than Soon-Shiong's cash. . >> which we know is the case because McCourt seems to want the cash in a $1.3 B bid more than he wants the paper in a $1.6 B bid, or the superior attractiveness of Cohen’s bid makes no sense, and that Soon also does not have the cash to add to whatever Magic has that would top Cohen. Makes sense, no? 5) This is the myth that I've been trying to debunk for what seems like weeks now. MLB prefers Cohen's bid and this is probably why he is considered a "front runner", because in his bid (prior to the addition of Soon-Shiong), he would be 100% owner ($900MM/64% equity & $500MM/37% debt) whereas the Magic/Kasten/Walter group bid is probably more highly leveraged. But none of this actually matters to Frank McCourt insofar as he will be getting it all in cash. Whether it's equity or debt financing, that's irrelevant to McCourt. Now, if McCourt wants to make sure the Dodgers are levered all the hell, as he did, then yes, he would also prefer the Cohen bid, but I have seen zero indication of this. And in fact, if your supposition is true, then Soon-Shiong should have been able to extract more from the Magic group precisely because he brings cash, which would lower the debt portion of the bid and make their bid more attractive. . >> A guess is that Soon might be staking out the territory Magic would have in assuring the city the Dodgers woud rise again and the fanbase made happy. 6) As I pointed out in 4, I think you and I are in agreement. Soon-Shiong is looking after his local legacy. Because let's be frank now, prior to Magic selling his stake in the Lakers to Soon-Shiong, how many of us really knew who he was?

craigbhill
craigbhill

Greg, The reason for keeping the lot out of the sale is obvious; but not so obvious, apparently, is that yes indeed each of the bids has included the lot in a separate bid so far not added to the reported sum of each bid because McCourt is in control of the release of those numbers and does not want anyone to know how much the bidders are asking for it, so he might better finagle the highest price for it, IF any bid for the lot comes close to knocking his socks off versus what he expects he might get out of keeping and developing it. One of the few silver or platinum linings of the Cohen bid is that, with $15 billion + in the vault, between Cohen and Soon can make a nonviolent offer for the lot McCourt may not be able to refuse. I'm wondering, what with the supposed municipal patriotism Soon holds, if he is doing what he might have done by joining forces with Magic, which is what is best for LA and the Dodgers. He may be the moneyman who wants to make sure (a) the lot will be bought, maybe with his money, so that he could stop McCourt's plans to develop and gouge both the team and the fans (b) the Dodgers will have the payroll they need to rise to championship caliber, which is not the case currently. His awareness of local thought about McCourt, and institutional Dodger concerns, how to make the team rise to what it was, a perennial contender chock full of players that could line up against the richest in the playoffs, may be why he has thrown in with Cohen, who really doesn't need his money but like a good billionaire isn't refusing it either. A guess is that Soon might be staking out the territory Magic would have in assuring the city the Dodgers woud rise again and the fanbase made happy. A reason he did not throw in with Magic may be based on his knowledge that Magic's group's bid never had the available cash to compete with Cohen, which we know is the case because McCourt seems to want the cash in a $1.3 B bid more than he wants the paper in a $1.6 B bid, or the superior attractiveness of Cohen's bid makes no sense, and that Soon also does not have the cash to add to whatever Magic has that would top Cohen. Makes sense, no? Entirely possible none of this will come about with Soon's addition to Cohen's team. Just trying to make sense of what Soon is up to.

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

@a - if it's a private company, why not? It might be unsavory and not rub you the wrong way, but there's nothing illegal about what you described.

a
a

I don't think it is legal to put your kids on your company's payroll deduct that expense and have them do no work.

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

Paul, why not? The Dodgers Stadium parking lot belongs to a separate corporate entity which is not part of the bankruptcy proceedings. So there was no reason for McCourt to ever include it in the sale. Again, while he may/may not know that Dodgers fans all despise him (trust me, rich people are some of the dirtiest backstabbing bastards I know, who will smile to your face while hurling epithets behind your back), that has no bearing on his BUSINESS decision making process. If we proceed under the assumption that McCourt is acting to place his self interest above all else, that still doesn't mean he is spitting in my eyes. McCourt doesn't want the stadium for $14MM/yr, he wants the property to develop, which could be worth several hundred million dollars if not into the billions (if he remains the developer and leases out the land). Hell, why do you think Alan "Dodgers Stadium is just another 60 year old building" Casden was bidding on in the first place?

Paul
Paul

Greg, I'm actually with you in that i don't fault McCourt, or anyone, for being selfish. But I don't think selfishness really explains why he's pulling this parking lot stunt. he knows Dodger fans hate him more than anybody hates anything, and he knows that by having any involvement whatsoever with the team, he's pouring salt on our wounds. He plans to lease the lots to the new owner for about 14 million dollars a year, which seems like pocket change compared to the 1.5+ billion he's getting from the team sale. If he's walking away with hundreds of millions of dollars in net profit, why would he destroy any chance of salvaging his reputation for 14 mil a year when he could easily use them to leverage another 2-300 million out of the sale price?

Greg (@greghao)
Greg (@greghao)

I don't understand all this irrational hatred of Frank McCourt. The guy's a dick, I guess, but how many people AREN'T selfish?McCourt's used the Dodgers as a piggy bank but hey, he owned the entities and didn't actually do anything illegal.And on this whole thing about McCourt doing things out of spite to each of us individually, that's a position that I've never understood. Everything he has done has been to maximize his own advantage, not to intentionally screw other people (except maybe Jaime McCourt but that's somewhat understandable considering she stepped out on him).I can't believe I'm defending McCourt but damn y'all, let's try to keep some perspective.

badger3
badger3

I think you may be right about that. Wouldn't surprise me if he did some kind of fan survey to see who they want as owner and then deliberately went another direction. The money is going to be the same. . I find it revolting that a miscreant like Frank McCourt can get his Montgomery Burns fingers on a jewel like the Dodgers, run the franchise into the gutter, file bankruptcy and come out the other end with more money than he had going in. I guess that's what happens at the top of the pyramid.

Paul
Paul

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if McCourt is just holding onto the parking lots to kick sand in the fans' eyes.

Darth Small
Darth Small

I like this. I am not too keen on Cohen being the winner, if that is the case, but if the upfront cash buys the parking lots as well, then I am all for it. Though, I could do without LaRussa in the front office, but it could be worse I guess. Unless he makes Torre the new GM...

Real Tom
Real Tom

I think we'll all be even happier if this extra money means that the parking lots will come with the team. Otherwise, we're not getting rid of McCourt entirely.

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