MLB still waiting for financial documents
PHOENIX -- The proposed sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to real estate developer Frank McCourt probably won't be put on the agenda for next week's owners' meeting, a high-ranking baseball official said Tuesday.
The official, who spoke on the condition he not be identified, said that while there was an outside chance McCourt could complete paperwork in time for the Nov. 20 meeting in Chicago, it was unlikely.
Owners probably won't meet again until mid-January, but the official said that if the deal is ready for a vote before that time, commissioner Bud Selig could call for an earlier meeting or a vote by telephone conference call.
The Los Angeles Times, quoting an unidentified baseball official, also reported Tuesday that the sale wouldn't be put to a vote at next week's meeting.
McCourt announced Oct. 10 that he had agreed in principal to purchase the Dodgers from News Corp., a deal worth $430 million. The contract contains a Dec. 31 deadline for completion of the financial documents and a Jan. 31 date for closing the transaction.
A person familiar with the negotiations, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said McCourt was in the process of submitting the required documents to the commissioner's office.
The person also said McCourt, a Boston area real estate developer, has not considered razing Dodger Stadium and building a new facility.
Despite having one of baseball's highest payrolls in recent years, the Dodgers haven't qualified for the playoffs since 1996 and haven't won a postseason game since the 1988 World Series.
Team president Bob Graziano, executive vice president of business operations Kris Rone, and senior vice president Tom Lasorda are in the final years of their contracts.
General manager Dan Evans and manager Jim Tracy are under contract for next year, and the Dodgers recently retained six coaches, signing them to contracts for the 2004 season.
Corey Busch, the point person for the McCourt group, has met with several Dodgers executives since the agreement was reached last month.
"With the absence of a formal approval, the McCourts have not been able to be intimately involved at this point, but several of us have had productive meetings with Corey here at the stadium," said Dodgers senior vice president Derrick Hall, also in the final year of his contract. "There has been no indication how they will handle the current management team here, but it is clearly their prerogative to make changes they deem necessary."
Hall said Evans and his staff are free to make player moves.
"Dan and Jim both are well down the track in planning and preparation for the 2004 season, which is where they need to be," Hall said.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press