Jared Kushner Emerges In Dodger Bidding, But That’s Not a Good Thing

It’s somewhat amazing to me that in an ownership battle as high-profile as this one has been, we’re still finding out about bidders who have somehow managed to keep their interest in the dark. Bill Shaikin breaks another name this morning, but, well, don’t get too excited:

Jared Kushner, born into a prominent New York real estate family and son-in-law of Donald Trump, has emerged as a candidate in the bidding for the Dodgers.

Kushner, who became owner and publisher of the New York Observer in 2006, has played a key role in expanding the family business beyond real estate. At 31, he would be the youngest owner in Major League Baseball.

I’ll admit that the idea of a youthful owner is attractive. It’s part of the reason why the potential of groups led by Joe Torre or Peter O’Malley don’t really interest me. I’d much prefer someone energetic and with new ideas, rather than relying on dinosaurs with the same tired direction. On the other hand, well, I’m not all that far away from being 31, and if someone who is just a few months older than me were to own the team while I am decidedly not anywhere near the stratosphere of owning a baseball club, I’d probably find that a bit depressing. (Thanks, mom and dad, for not being media moguls.)

Age aside, of course, there’s some giant red flags here. Regardless of your political viewpoint, I have a hard time seeing Donald Trump as anything but an enormous scumbag who ought to be avoided at all costs. Kushner’s father, Charles, was sentenced to two years in prison back in 2005 for tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions; the elder Kushner’s brother-in-law Robert was convicted on similar charges in 2009. (Okay, I’ll get political for just one second: Charles Kushner is a major donor to Democrats. The Donald, obviously, is a far right-wing Republican. That must make for some hilarious family meals for poor Jared.)

Now, Shaikin notes that the bid does not include Charles, but would be funded primarily by the Kushner family and… you know what, let’s just stop right here. Two nightmare fathers with criminal pasts, a guy who married into Trump money, seems to have little professional experience other than playing with his family’s money, has no sports experience… just no. If you remember all the reasons why I disliked Steven Cohen, this falls into the same category. I don’t want any part of this, no matter what kind of money they have.

******

In a related topic, no one – Shaikin included, and he’s unquestionably the media leader as far as this story goes – seems to want to acknowledge the existence of upstart Josh Macciello. We still haven’t seen any official word that he’s made it to the second round of bidding, other than suggestions from his own Twitter feed, but it’s beginning to sound like he’s prepared to drop a ludicrous amount of money to get in the game. How much? He tweeted last night that his bid was “almost double” that of others, and then this morning Mike Szymanski in something called the Studio City Patch (where the picture at right is from) puts a number to that bid:

Sources close to the deal confirm that the bid he laid out recently is about $2.2 billion for the Dodgers and the stadium. Macciello would only confirm that, “with the money I’m bidding, I could buy three sport teams.”

Is that for real? I have absolutely no idea. But I do know that if someone like him is going to have a prayer of a chance in this, he’s going to have to completely blow all of the other bids out of the water, and I can’t imagine anyone’s topping $2.2b right now.

******

In happier news, David Laurila at Fangraphs has a pretty nice interview with Logan White today, touching on the process in drafting high school pitchers and specifically speaking about Zach Lee, Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Reed, Allen Webster, and Ethan Martin. Some highlights…

On Lee:

The Biomechanical assessment was very important to our decision to draft Zach. We rank guys on athleticism, and he’s in the upper percentage in terms of that. Mechanically — how his delivery works — he was in the upper echelon. The only negative he had in his delivery was that he threw across his body a little bit, but we feel that is correctable. A lot of significant pitchers have thrown across their body, so you just have to fix their line a little bit. But in terms of arm action, Zach’s front side, his lead arm, how his legs work, his lower half and stride to the plate — all of that — was in the top percentages. I’d say he was in the upper 10 percent of the draft.

On drafting Clayton Kershaw over Tim Lincecum:

Getting back to the original question, we didn’t have any of those guys ahead of Kershaw on our list. We took him based on the fact that he was the best player. From there, everything came together.

On Reed:

He’s 6-foot-4 and athletic as can be. He’s in great physical shape. He throws 95 from the left side, with a hard slider and a good changeup. We’re also talking about a guy with good makeup who is bright. To me, if he would have gotten seen more, I don’t think there’s a chance he gets to the 16th pick. I think we got lucky. Time will bear that out. We might be wrong.

The entire piece is a fascinating look at the draft process, and it’s well worth your click.

******

In addition to Russ Mitchell getting DFA’d by the Dodgers yesterday, former Dodger Blake DeWitt was cut loose by the Cubs. I have to say, I’m somewhat surprised by how many fans I’ve heard from suggesting that the Dodgers go and pick him up. I suppose I understand the thought, because Adam Kennedy is both ten years older & useless, and DeWitt was a popular player here, but what people need to keep in mind is that DeWitt really hasn’t done much to prove himself in Chicago. A .265/.305/.413 line in 2011 isn’t a whole lot to lust after, and it says a lot that he was cut in favor of Adrian Cardenas, who has no position and not enough of a bat to make it anywhere but the middle infield.

All that being said, DeWitt is still young and was a plus defender at third base, where the Dodgers have absolutely zero organizational depth, so if he’s willing to take a minor-league deal and start in Albuquerque, then sure, why not. Otherwise, let’s not lose any sleep over it.

Winter Meetings Day Two Rumors: White, MacDougal, and a Bat

Though all of our moaning about Aaron Harang and the rest of Ned Colletti’s inexplicable moves has been, uh, “fun”, I guess, there’s still a few more days of the winter meetings, and that means rumors.

Danny Knobler:

Dodgers’ Logan White interviewing for Astros GM job, sources say

No surprise here, especially since White interviewed for the same job back in 2007. The Astros are in a bizarre situation thanks to the late ownership change – I can’t remember a team ever having gone to the winter meetings without a general manager – and now that they’ve been spurned by Andrew Friedman, they’re casting their net far and wide. White deserves an interview and probably a shot somewhere, though we’ve been through this before so I’ll wait until we hear he’s getting a second interview.

Dylan Hernandez:

#Dodgers meeting with Mike MacDougal‘s agent tonight.

Well, of course they are. I’m sure we’d all like to be appalled by this, but, come on. We all knew there would be interest in bringing him back, so let’s relax. Until, you know, MacDougal gets a backloaded two-year deal as well.

Hernandez:

#Dodgers have talked to 4-5 teams about potential trades. Looking for a bat.

That’s potentially juicy, no? But where do you deal from? The two names that come up most often when thinking of trades tend to be Andre Ethier and James Loney, yet neither make sense here. You don’t deal Ethier if you’re looking for offense, and Loney would have just about no trade value. If you’re going to trade from depth… well, it’s hard to ignore that in the last week Colletti not only locked up a full five-man starting rotation for 2012, but for 2013 as well. (Which is even dumber than it already seemed when you look at some of the starters who could be available next winter, like Zack Greinke, Matt Cain, John Danks, Cole Hamels, Dan Haren, James Shields, Shaun Marcum, Anibal Sanchez, and more.) Since the Dodgers are deepest in young, righty starting pitching, and they’ve now blocked much of them for the next two years, it’s not hard to see a scenario where pitching prospects get moved for a bat. Nathan Eovaldi, Allen Webster, Chris Withrow, Garrett Gould, etc. – you’re on notice. (Before we panic, no one’s trading for an injured Rubby De La Rosa, and Zach Lee would be untouchable in all but the hugest deals.)

As for who that bat could be… well, it’d all but certainly have to be an outfielder. The recent signings of Mark Ellis, Jerry Hairston, and Adam Kennedy to go with Juan Uribe have filled up the infield – not that there’s really any second or third basemen worth trading for anyway – and there’s little question Loney will be returning. So it’d have to be an outfielder, one who could push Juan Rivera to the bench and Jerry Sands to the minors. The most popular name I heard on Twitter in response to this was Carlos Quentin, since the White Sox are clearly rebuilding based on their Sergio Santos trade today, which makes sense only if the Sox help with some of the ~$7m or so he’ll get in his final year of arbitration this year.

Who else? All suggestions welcome, though try to keep it realistic. (No, they’re not trading for Hanley Ramirez or Joey Votto.)

Is This the End of Logan White’s Tenure?

Horrifying news just in, courtesy of BP’s Kevin Goldstein:

Some rumors starting to swirl about the #Dodgers and Logan White; or rather, Logan White and no longer with the #Dodgers.

There’s nothing more on this yet, but Goldstein has a ton of connections in the industry (earlier today, I wondered about Javier Vazquez, and within five minutes KG had checked with a big league exec.)

Obviously, it’s unfair to spectulate. But it sure is fun, so let’s do just that. There’s no obvious GM job, so perhaps he’s frustrated with the McCourts and is…

- Replacing Eddie Bane with the Angels?
- Going to Arizona (where he lives) to be Kevin Towers’ assistant GM?
- Or he thinks he’s got a great opportunity with the Mets, who are certainly going to replace Omar Minaya?

More as it comes in, but so far: not good.

Update: Baseball America’s Jim Callis chimes in:

Talking to Logan White right now: He has not been dismissed by the #Dodgers.

Planning on working for the team until he’s told otherwise. @thinkblue1194: What has Logan White said about his future with the Dodgers?

No. Logan White says he sincerely wants to keep working for the Dodgers. @MikeSciosciasTI: Is that code for “it’s his choice”?

Hey, that’s me!

The Only Time You’ll Ever Root Against Logan White

According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse…

#Dodgers asst GM for scouting Logan White expected to interview tomorrow with #Diamondbacks for GM opening.

DeJon Watson, assistant GM for player development, is also supposed to get an interview, but this is the first confirmation I’ve seen of a scheduled meeting. (Surprisingly, Kim Ng will not be interviewed.) White is of course the man most responsible for drafting much of the current young core, like Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Russell Martin, Matt Kemp, James Loney, and many more, in addition to helping scout Hiroki Kuroda and Takashi Saito and proving us wrong on Zach Lee.

To be honest, it’s a bit of a minor miracle that both White and Ng have remained with the club for this long; each have deserved their own head job for some time, and I’ve long been resigned to the fact that since they can’t both fulfill that dream in LA, at least one would be moving on. Of course, I’d also always hoped that it would be to a team I’m relatively indifferent to, like Kansas City or Florida, so that I could still root for them to be successful without hurting the Dodgers. That makes the prospect of him going to Arizona the worst-case scenario, and that doesn’t even consider the horror of him coming back to deal for prospects with Ned Colletti. I’m hardly alone when I say that I’d much prefer a White (or Ng) & Wallach pairing next year rather than Colletti & Torre, right?

Fortunately, former Padres GM Kevin Towers seems to be the leader for the gig, so the crisis may be averted for now. Still, sooner or later White, Ng, and maybe even Watson are all going to move on, and if all we have to show for it is more Colletti, that’s going to be a disappointment. (I will admit that Colletti has been much improved since his early days of signing Juan Pierre & Jason Schmidt, particularly since we can’t know how much the divorce fiasco has handcuffed him, and he hasn’t traded any of the core guys, but he gave away a lot of that goodwill at this past trading deadline.)

However, while I’m sure White would accept any GM job that’s offered, the last line of his official bio makes me think he’d like the Arizona one best:

White, his wife Deena and son, Logan, Jr., reside in Phoenix, AZ.

*gulp* Um, boo Logan! Uh, Martin has regressed! Loney has no power! Boo!