Nov 03

The 1980s Dodgers play an intramural ownership game

Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser were never teammates, except perhaps in Spring Training. Garvey’s last game with the Dodgers was October 3, 1982, while Hershiser’s debut came on September 1, 1983.

As a San Diego Padre, Garvey came up to the plate against Hershiser 24 times from 1983-1987 and had a single, a double, a walk and 21 outs. Garvey’s .087 batting average against Hershiser was his worst against any major-league pitcher he faced at least 20 times.

I bring this up only because I’m struck by the peculiarity of 1980s Dodgers being in competition with each other for post-McCourt ownership of the team. Garvey and Hershiser are united in their pursuit (though they never played together), yet at least for now, united against a potential ownership group that features former Dodger owner and president Peter O’Malley and still another that features former Dodger general manager Fred Claire, who worked under O’Malley for nearly 30 years. All of them played significant roles in at least one of the Dodgers’ last two World Series titles.

Just feels kind of weird. But as far as Claire is concerned, the more the merrier.

“From my standpoint, I think it’s great that Peter is involved in seeking the team — as well as Steve and Orel,” Claire said in an e-mail. “The reason for this is that my goal is the see the Dodgers end up in the best hands as possible, and I have great respect for Peter, Steve and Orel.

“I have been involved with our group headed by (biotech executive) Ben Hwang for four months because I share Ben’s views as to how the Dodgers need to regain their place in the community and in Major League Baseball. As far as competition, the only group I want to see win are the Dodger fans.”

Claire was also interviewed by Max and Marcellus on ESPN AM 710 today.

“I’m not going to mislead anybody,” Claire told them. “We have a lot of work to do as far as raising the capital. This is an enormous amount of money.

“The leader of the group, (who) is really going to be there at the owners’ table when it comes down to one representative per club, is going to be a very significant person, and we’re hopeful of identifying such a person and having the capital to be prepared to make our case.”

* * *

Former Times sportswriter Ross Newhan offers his latest take on the Dodger ownership situation at Newhan on Baseball.

Nov 02

O’Malley, Orel and others in owner roulette

Favoring us with a link-filled summary of all the potential ownership bids that emerged just in the first 24 hours following the Dodger sale announcement is Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness.

… Maybe Peter O’Malley will come back. Former Dodgers Steve Garvey & Orel Hershiser are reportedly preparing a bid, which must mean that a competing bid from Chad Fonville & Wilton Guerrero is just around the corner. Former owners and players not enough? How about former GM Fred Claire, who says he’s putting together a group with former A’s exec Andy Dolich. We could hold out hope that Mark Attanasio wants to ditch Milwaukee to come back to Los Angeles. Or perhaps Dennis Gilbert, long thought to be a top suitor. Maybe Fox or Time Warner want to buy in order to get the television rights. We could see Mark Cuban try again for MLB approval. Or if not him, perhaps other billionaires like Alec Gores, Eli Broad, Ron Burkle, or Larry Ellison. Or maybe that Chinese money will find its way back around.

And that’s just in one day. The point is, over the coming weeks and months, you’re going to be hearing the names of every egomaniacal Angelino with a heartbeat and either a fat bank account or friends who do floated in rumors about possibly acquiring the team. It’s going to be fun, and more than a little bit crazy. …

Here’s more from Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (and still more here). Bill Shaikin of the Times answers some questions you might have here.

Nov 02

The Dodgers’ new owner checklist

I woke up itching to compile a To Do list for the Dodgers’ new ownership. I’ll start it up, and if I’ve missed anything important, I’ll update it with some of your suggestions in the comments.

In no particular order:

  • Overall fiscal responsibility, which implies knowing when and where to spend as well as when and where not to spend. Responsibility means neither miserliness nor excess.
  • Long-awaited renovations to the beautiful but aging Dodger Stadium, with particular attention to the medieval restrooms.
  • Retention of the best personnel in the Dodger front office integrated with a pursuit of the best personnel outside the front office.
  • An expert analysis of Dodger Stadium security and enactment of a forward-thinking plan.
  • A reevaluation of Dodger food, parking and concession prices. No one’s saying the place should become a 99 Cent Store, but there has to be some sense. Fans shouldn’t have to pay for Prince Fielder with every hot dog.
  • Matt Kemp. Clayton Kershaw.
  • The post-2013 local TV deal, of course.
  • A reevaluation of Dodger Stadium fan atmosphere, including signage and music (including a restoration of Nancy Bea to proper prominence).
  • Anything Vin Scully wants or needs. If he wants coffee, you get it for him.
  • Better wireless access in the stadium. In 2012, fans shouldn’t be struggling to get a signal.
  • Elimination of “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” from the eighth inning and in “God Bless America” from the seventh inning except on the rarest of occasions. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” will suffice.
  • Remove the restrictions on routes for exiting the parking lot after games.
  • Do not insult the intelligence of the Dodger community.
Nov 02

Could Fox buy the Dodgers again?

From CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell:

…I think Fox which sold the team, stadium and parking lots to McCourt for $421 million in 2004, could — and might have to — throw its name in the hat again.

Why? For the same reason they bought the Dodgers in 1998 for $311 million. They want the team’s future television rights, which would begin in the 2014 season. A spokesman for Fox Sports could not immediately answer whether the speculation, which has been floated by some bankers, is rational.

What is clear is this: Fox Sports West and Fox-owned Prime Ticket is in a very tough position. After this season (if there is one) they lose the Lakers to Time Warner, which signed the team to a 20-year deal reportedly worth as much as $3 billion. And they lost USC and UCLA games to the upstart Pac-12 Network. If they don’t get a deal for the Dodgers, the network is basically worthless.

The reason Fox sold the Dodgers is that they thought buying TV rights were a better financial move. They were reportedly losing tens of millions of dollars managing the team. But now, that just might be the cost of doing business in a marketplace that is much more competitive than it was just seven years ago. …

Few in Los Angeles will be eager to see a return of the Fox ownership. At a minimum, the idea that the bidding of Fox could increase the money Frank McCourt receives in the sale would be ratified by the Irony Committee.

Perhaps what happens is this: Fox ends up a minority stakeholder in the team, as it essentially was when it helped finance the McCourt purchase nearly eight years ago, but working with a new, improved owner.

Nov 02

An early history of McCourt concerns

Several people remarked online Tuesday that they were worried about the possibility that the next Dodger owner could be awful as well. There’s no guarantee that won’t be true. But as I wrote Tuesday, that widespread wariness at the outset of the process, from the commissioner’s office on down, should make a disaster much less likely.

Back when Fox was first selling the Dodgers, wariness was a relatively lonely place to be … though it did spread. From the Dodger Thoughts archives:
Continue reading

Nov 01

Setting sale: McCourt surrenders, will auction Dodgers


Paul Spinelli/MLB Photos/Getty ImagesHome, where my thoughts escape, at home, where my music’s playin’
Home, where my love lies waitin’ silently for me

We have worried, we have raged, we have sulked, we have sworn, we have screamed, we have sighed, we have yearned, we have cried. Outside we have tried to fight, and inside, more than a little, we have died.

But now, deliverance. Deliverance to what, we don’t know. But deliverance nonetheless.

Here is the joint statement from Major League Baseball and the Dodgers, released Tuesday night:

“The Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball announced that they have agreed today to a court supervised process to sell the team and its attendant media rights in a manner designed to realize maximum value for the Dodgers and their owner, Frank McCourt.  The Blackstone Group LP will manage the sale process.”

Tony Jackson of ESPNLA.com has more:

Owner Frank McCourt reached an agreement with Major League Baseball on Tuesday night to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers, along with Dodger Stadium and the surrounding real estate, a decision that brings to end not only a six-month legal battle with Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig but also a 7½-year ownership that was simply never embraced by the team’s fan base.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times first broke the news:

Frank McCourt agreed Tuesday to sell the Dodgers, abruptly surrendering the team after fighting to retain it over two years and in two courts.

McCourt and Major League Baseball have agreed to seek approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for an auction of the Dodgers. The sale is expected to include the team, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots, a package bought by McCourt for $421 million in 2004 and likely to sell for two to three times as much now.

The league hopes a new Dodgers owner can be in place by opening day. …

Opening Day? Won’t tomorrow feel a little like Opening Day?

The cloud that’s been over the Dodgers was no ordinary cloud. Southern California or not, Dodgers fans are used to walking through some rain. But this cloud was toxic. It wasn’t that Dodgers fans couldn’t stay dry — it was that they had trouble breathing.

But now, we can breathe again. Now, we can have normal problems. Problems like everyone else. Will you have ever been so happy just to worry about what happens next with the team?

We know all too well from the end of the Fox era that a sale of the team doesn’t guarantee anything. But this is the kind of second chance that galvanizes you. Everyone, I’m confident, will be smarter this time around. Not perfect. Just smarter. Can you ask for more?

The news seems to call out for something longer, something epic. But it’s not really all that complicated, is it?

My friends, it’s time to have some fun.

An informal rally has been scheduled by Save the Dodgers at 6 p.m. at Dodger Stadium to celebrate.

Nov 01

Progress toward a sale or posturing?

Not getting too excited about this, but let’s just say I’m hoping it’s one more roll of the boulder downhill …

  • Frank McCourt might be closer than he’s ever been to selling the Dodgers, according to Bill Shaikin of the Times.

    … McCourt has long vowed not to surrender the Dodgers. In April, as Commissioner Bud Selig appointed a trustee to oversee the team and attendance plummeted at Dodger Stadium, McCourt insisted he would not sell.

    However, analysts suggested McCourt now might be willing to sell for a simple reason: Even if he won in court, he could lose.

    Based on figures McCourt submitted to the Bankruptcy Court, he would be hard-pressed to sell the Dodgers’ television rights, settle his divorce and be left with enough capital to renovate Dodger Stadium and restore the team to prominence.

    “I don’t know that there’s a way for him to win,” said Marc Ganis, president of the sports business consulting firm Sportscorp Ltd.

  • Shaikin also writes that if Fox Sports loses local rights to the Dodgers when the current contract expires following the 2013 season, it could lead to the consolidation of the two Fox Sports cable channels into one.
  • How will Prince Fielder age? One day at a time — and here’s one analysis of how those days will go, from Ryan Campbell of Fangraphs.
  • Hardball Talk has begun its review of the 111 free agents on the market this winter. Here’s something about two 34-year-old players that might amuse you:

    Marcus Thames, 2010: .350 on-base percentage, .491 slugging
    Andruw Jones, 2011: .356 on-base percentage, .495 slugging

  • Dodger prospect Allen Webster gets an evaluation, with video, from Mike Newman of Fangraphs.
  • Matt Kemp is scheduled to be a guest on “Last Call with Carson Daly” in Thursday late-night programming, which really means Friday morning.
  • Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. went the extra mile in looking at the Dodgers’ Gold Glove finalists.
  • Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness presented his 15-point plan to make the Dodgers the best they can be in 2012.
  • Bob Timmermann shared some great old baseball photos on Twitter on Saturday, including Vin Scully getting stats from Allan Roth, Dick Enberg in a Valley State (now Cal State Northridge) uniform and Willie Davis’ bad day.
  • Former Dodger Tom Goodwin was named first-base coach for the Mets.
  • Best headlines of 2011 has to include this from Alex Belth of Bronx Banter on CC Sabathia: “The Stay Put Marshmellow Man.”
  • In case you’re curious, Sabathia’s new deal pays out in the following manner: $23 million each of the next four seasons (as had already been in place), $25 million in 2016, $25 million vesting option in 2017 or $5 million buyout. More from ESPNNewYork.com.
  • Across town, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said he doesn’t expect to trade third baseman David Wright.
Oct 26

Dodger TV rights hearing postponed, but to what end?

The rumors were flying today that the one-month postponement of the winner-take-all bankruptcy court hearing on Frank McCourt’s ability to prematurely sell the Dodgers’ post-2013 TV rights (what a mouthful that was) was actually a sign that a deal was being forged that would facilitate McCourt selling the franchise. (See ESPNLosAngeles.com and Bill Shaikin of the Times for more.)

What’s clear is that talks have been taking place, what’s unclear is whether there was any real momentum behind the talks. And so, there’s no way of knowing whether the next month might see the happy revelation of closure, or whether it will just be 30 more days tacked onto our painful waiting game.

Elsewhere …

  • Hong-Chih Kuo is going to have arthroscopic surgery to remove a loose body (no, this isn’t a Halloween joke) in his left elbow. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com talked to Dodger training chief Stan Conte about the situation. Kuo is planning to try to pitch in 2012, but while he is certain to be made a free agent by the Dodgers, they’re still as good a bet as anyone to try to re-sign him to a discounted contract.
  • Maury Wills is the subject of a story in the Times that illustrates what a longshot he was to make the majors with this anecdote: In 1959, Topps chose not to pay Wills the grand total of $5 for the rights to have him on a baseball card.
  • How overdue are the Dodgers for a World Series compared to other teams? Check the list at Cy Morong’s Cybermetrics.
Oct 25

How dare you accuse me of doing the thing I already planned to do!

Major League Baseball has put a number and a name to what Frank McCourt has done with the Dodgers: “$189.16 million” and “looting.” ESPNLosAngeles.com and Bill Shaikin of the Times have more.

I want to call out the last two paragraphs of Shaikin’s story:

… The Dodgers also charge Selig with bad faith in declaring he would reject any television contract proposed by McCourt. The league claims any deal would necessarily require McCourt to divert some team revenue for personal use, including a $130-million divorce settlement.

That claim, the Dodgers said, is “simply make believe.”

We have been down this road before …

Dodger Thoughts, April 27:

… In a nod to the concerns over how much Dodger revenue he and his now-estranged wife had allocated for personal spending, McCourt said today that the proposed Fox deal would include an immediate payment of $300 million going directly into the Dodgers.

“None of those dollars (would be) used in any personal way,” McCourt said.

Dodger Thoughts, July 22:

Selig then delved into McCourt’s plan to put the 35% equity interest in Fox Sports Net West 2 that the Dodgers would receive into a holding company separate from the franchise, as well as his plan to take at least 45% from the $385 million up-front payment to settle personal debts.

Look, we all know that McCourt, if he somehow wins in the TV rights hearing, will be on track to have so much money coming in that he’ll be able to paper over all his sins — paper ‘em with green. But come on — no matter how many machinations he drums up, the idea that TV money would not play some role, explicit or implicit, in resolving his enormous debts is about as far from the Neighborhood of Make Believe as one can travel.

* * *

  • Jerry Sands’ midseason swing adjustments have been carefully analyzed by Chad Moriyama. “To say I’m impressed by the changes that have taken place is an understatement,” Moriyama writes.
  • Clayton Kershaw is going back to Africa for the second consecutive offseason. Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy passed along an MLB.com clip with a Kershaw interview from the World Series. By committing $100 in Kershaw’s Challenge to Arise Africa for every strikeout he had this year to build an orphanage, Kershaw donated $24,800. The challenge has about $20,000 remaining to reach its goal of $70,000. Donate here.
  • It’s come to this: Andrew T. Fisher of Rockies blog Purple Row is optimistic about center fielder Dexter Fowler improving in 2012 because he will be working out this offseason with Matt Kemp.
  • A round of the aghastly reaction to Tony LaRussa’s managing of Game 5 Monday has been pulled together by Jeff Gordon of STLtoday.com. Sample:  “As La Russa played subterfuge artist, offering a story dotted with holes unbecoming of a man with a law degree, it was obvious that he was trying to protect someone, and he would go to such lengths only to save himself,” wrote Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
  • Mark Townsend of Yahoo! Sports summarizes the five outs the Cardinals gave away Monday.
  • Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors has an update on 25-year-old Japanese ace Yu Darvish, who might be coming to the U.S.

    … Last week, I polled five agents and one team executive about Darvish’s potential posting fee and contract. Guesses on the posting fee ranged from $30-55MM, with the team executive making the highest prediction. The average of the six guesses was $45MM. As for the contract, most people predicted a five or six-year deal in the $72-75MM range. One agent wondered if the winning team will “try to force some options down his throat,” especially if it’s the Blue Jays.

    The bottom line: everyone I talked to expects a minimum of a $100MM commitment to acquire Darvish if he’s posted this year. …

  • A “treasure trove” of records of the Philadelphia A’s has been found, notes Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk, and are “now in the hands of a historian who is making a big documentary about Connie Mack.”
Oct 19

No offense, but they need offense

Twenty-three years since the World Series last began with the Dodgers …

  • Don Mattingly gave an interview to 710 ESPN’s Mason and Ireland in which he said the Dodgers’ biggest need was “offense, no question” but added that he wasn’t confident the team would sign a big-time slugger.
  • Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy posted a 2012 Dodger schedule with preliminary game times that put the start of Opening Day at 3:35 p.m. in San Diego. Clayton Kershaw pitching in Petco Park with shadows starting to spread across the field? Intriguing …
  • The Left Field Pavilion Blog posted a fantastic picture of Carl Furillo’s great catch in Game 6 of the 1952 World Series for the Dodgers.
  • It’s the 30th anniversary of Rick Monday’s Canadian clout – the pennant-winning home run in Montreal, notes Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times.
  • Also from Jaffe: a piece on the 10 weirdest career-ending performances of all time.
  • David Ogden reviewed the ballpark at Dodger minor-league affiliate Ogden for Stadium Journey.
  • Satchel Price of Beyond the Boxscore picked a 2011 all-National League West team, with Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and … Jamey Carroll earning spots.
  • Kershaw won the Warren Spahn Award for best left-handed pitcher in baseball in 2011.
  • For Variety, I wrote two pieces looking at the World Series from a TV ratings angle: a main story and a blog post that, among other things, note that much more important to Fox than the teams in the World Series is the length. Game 7s in the past 20 years improve the audience that watched a Game 6 by approximately 50% on average.
  • Bob Timmermann defends the all-Midwest World Series at L.A. Observed’s Native Intelligence.
  • Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News has a piece on why Fox doesn’t believe in a live strike-zone pitch-tracker.
  • With a new book coming out on the 60th anniversary of the Shot Heard ‘Round the World, Ralph Branca gave an interesting interview to the Platoon Advantage.
  • Josh Fisher, Esq. of Dodger Divorce answered some questions about the McCourt divorce settlement at ESPNLosAngeles.
Oct 17

Frank and Jamie McCourt reportedly agree to divorce settlement

Jamie McCourt would receive approximately $130 million from Frank McCourt in exchange for any claim to the Dodgers in a divorce settlement that the two parties have agreed to in principle. The pending settlement was first reported by Bill Shaikin of the Times.

The importance of the settlement is that it would remove Jamie out of the ongoing Dodger ownership dispute, essentially meaning that the hearing beginning October 31 as to whether Frank can sell the Dodgers’ post-2013 television rights (over the objection of Major League Baseball and Fox) will truly be the granddaddy event that determines whether he can retain control of the team.

More background from Shaikin:

… It is uncertain whether the Bankruptcy Court would allow McCourt to use money from a television deal to satisfy a divorce settlement — Selig would not — or whether the net proceeds of a sale of the team would exceed $130 million.

The McCourts previously reached a divorce settlement on June 17, but that agreement was contingent upon the approval of a proposed television contract between the Dodgers and Fox.

Selig rejected the contract three days later, noting in part that almost half of an immediate $385-million payment from Fox would have been diverted from the Dodgers.

On June 27, Frank McCourt took the Dodgers into bankruptcy, without notification to Jamie McCourt, who had asked the divorce court to order the team sold. She subsequently lined up behind Major League Baseball and Fox in asking the Bankruptcy Court to reject Frank McCourt’s bid to auction the Dodgers’ television rights. …

Oct 04

Dodgers part ways with Blake, Garland

As expected, the Dodgers have paid $1.25 million to buy out Casey Blake’s $6 million contract option for 2012, while also declining Jon Garland’s $8 million option for next season (at a cost of $500,000). Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has more.

Both players become free agents and are eligible to sign with any team after the World Series ends, and with the Dodgers at any time. In fact, each has past experience of returning to the Dodgers as a free agent: Blake three years ago, Garland last year.

We’ve gotten mixed signals on Blake, from possible retirement to a potential willingness to come back as a reserve to the Dodgers on a cheaper contract. However, I’d be surprised if the Dodgers bid very enthusiastically on either Blake or Garland, both of whom spent much of 2011 injured, unless their salary quotes came way, way down.

Some might consider this the top story: The Dodgers also removed Eugenio Velez from their 40-man roster by outrighting him to Albuquerque. That takes him out of the team’s 2012 plans, but it doesn’t mean we won’t see him at Camelback Ranch for Spring Training next year.

* * *

  • Federal bankruptcy judge Kevin Gross has appointed a mediator to try to bridge the chasm between the Dodgers and Major League Baseball out of court. Good luck on that one.
  • Suspended list star Ronald Belisario is looking to rebuild his career, even if it’s not with the Dodgers or even in the U.S., according to this story on the Bravos de Margarita website (Google translation here) passed along by Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy.
  • Baly also has links to radio interviews with Vin Scully, Tommy Lasorda, Ned Colletti and Charley Steiner.
Sep 30

Bankruptcy judge accelerates timetable on Dodgers

If you’re too scared or jaded to get excited for a quick resolution to the Dodger ownership kerfuffle, much less a quick and happy one, I can definitely relate.

But for those holding out hope, there was good news today

A Delaware judge presiding over the Los Angeles Dodgers bankruptcy issued an order Friday scheduling a hearing that could determine the fate of the team and said he expects baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to testify under oath.

In a sharply worded order in response to dueling motions by the league and the team, Judge Kevin Gross said he was setting aside four days for an evidentiary hearing, starting Oct. 31, so that he can decide critical issues “based upon facts rather than the harsh allegations and innuendo of antagonists.”

Gross said he must decide whether the Dodgers’ plan to auction off television rights to future games as the way out of bankruptcy is in the team’s best interest, or whether Major League Baseball can dictate what the Dodgers can and cannot do.

“There is no middle ground for decision,” he wrote.

In scheduling the hearing, the judge said he would hear requests for limited depositions at a previously scheduled Oct. 12 hearing, but that he would not hear arguments on the competing motions that day. …

Gross said an early resolution of issues in the bankruptcy case will allow the team to use the offseason to prepare for the 2012 baseball schedule.

“In addition, the court’s direction for the prompt hearing will enable the court to maintain control over parties whose animus towards one another could result in unnecessary, spiraling and excessive litigiousness which would become increasingly challenging to disentangle,” he wrote. …

That was the quick part. Here’s the happy, for those on the side against Frank McCourt:

… Attorneys for the Dodgers, claiming the team has been treated unfairly, have sought to gain information from the league about its dealings with other clubs.

But in his scheduling order, Gross said he will limit discovery in the case to the league’s relationship with the Dodgers.

“The court will not turn the debtors’ ills and whether the commissioner is treating debtors and Mr. McCourt unreasonably and vindictively into a sideshow of all of MLB,” the judge wrote.

Bill Shaikin of the Times has more perspective, acknowledging the blows to McCourt’s agenda but also noting (via Thomas Salerno, lead attorney for the Phoenix Coyotes during their bankruptcy) how McCourt might overcome them:

… According to Salerno, Gross’ order refocuses the case on McCourt’s essential reason for taking the Dodgers into bankruptcy — to get the television contract that Selig would not approve. Such a contract has been opposed by MLB, Fox Sports and Jamie McCourt — Frank McCourt’s ex-wife, who claims half-ownership of the Dodgers.

Salerno said Frank McCourt and his attorneys could try to introduce evidence about other teams in two ways: one, with cross-examination of Selig; two, with an expert witness who could discuss publicly available information — for example, a sports business analyst who could discuss the Marlins’ leaked financial documents.

In a court filing Friday, the Dodgers listed their “bankruptcy-related expenses” for the first three months of the case at $5.7 million.

* * *

  • Today, 22-year-old Matt Moore threw seven shutout innings in his postseason debut for Tampa Bay and achieved a Game Score of 77. He became the 11th-youngest pitcher with a postseason Game Score of at least 75.  Fernando Valenzuela has the top two spots on that list, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
  • Former Dodger Derek Lowe, who is owed $15 million by the Braves for 2012, is not expected to have a spot in the team’s rotation, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via MLB Trade Rumors).
  • The deadline to tender a contract offer to arbitration-eligible players (such as James Loney) is December 12.
  • Best wishes to Geoff Young, who is retiring one of the original baseball blogs, Ducksnorts, after 14 years.