Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Garvey and Others Eye Dodgers Amid Deepening Ownership Crises

     By Ross Newhan

     As several potential buyers, including a group rumored to be headed by former Dodger Steve Garvey and another headed by Los Angeles philanthropist and insurance man Dennis Gilbert, do their best to remain patient, the Dodgers' long-term ownership situation remains more uncertain than ever.

     The decision Tuesday by Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon in the prolonged divorce action between Frank and Jamie McCourt--played out to the lyrics of "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"--to throw out the marital property agreement because it did not conform to California law, was a major setback for Frank

    And it could set the stage for a) years of appeals, b) the club going to Jamie, who could then seek partners or sell it, or c) intervention by Commissioner Bud Selig in the best interest of baseball and one of his flagship franchises, although it is uncertain exactly what Selig's options are unless he felt legally confident that he could appoint a caretaker, as he once did in Montreal.

    Tony Tavares, who served as president of the Angels during the Disney ownership and who shepherded the Expos in their final, lame duck years in Montreal, is available. The Milwaukee based Selig might also have a local owner in mind for the Brewers, allowing Mark Attanasio, the Los Angeles based Brewer owner, to buy the Dodgers (possibly bringing Prince Fielder with him?).

    Meanwhile, General Manager Ned Colletti has done his best to piece the Dodgers together without McCourt requiring another family loan. With the signing Tuesday of Vicente Padilla he had acquired seven free agents at about $77 million, and he was said to be on the verge of cheaply signing Tony Gwynn Jr. as a center field option after San Diego did not re-sign Gwynn. Junior is not the hitter his dad was (is anyone?), and the Dodgers could use another impact bat in the outfield, but Colletti has at least filled out the rotation behind Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley with the re-signing of Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and Padilla, and the re-signing of Dodger alum Jon Garland.

   The Dodgers have also become better in recent days through the process known as addition by subtraction. Adrian Gonzalez has moved to the American League, and it's obvious that the now rebuilding Padres won't be the division obstacle they were last year. The division rival Arizona Diamondbacks are also in a rebuilding phase, having shipped homer hitting Mark Reynolds to the American League Orioles. Also, Adam Dunn, always a tough out for the Dodgers, has moved out of the National League, joining the American League White Sox. In 64 career games against Los Angeles, Dunn had driven in 36 runs and hit 13 homers with a .380 on-base percentage.

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