BOB: Rangers and Padres Ownership News

Rangers fire sale begins

Tom Hicks was the man who signed Alex Rodriguez to an unprecedented (at the time) $250 million deal. Now, Hicks is in trouble; he’s been late on his debt payments since March 31. To come up with cash, he’s looking at options including selling a part of the Texas Rangers. Hicks said he’d rather just sell a minority interest in the team, but this is one of those situations where it could be a buyer’s market. Hicks has valued the team at $600 million and six prospective buyers have shown interest in the team by notifying the Rangers. While nothing has been confirmed, Nolan Ryan is rumored to be one of the potential suitors. Another name being thrown around is Fort Worth auto dealer David McDavid.

One name that hasn’t been mentioned is Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who was one of the guys who expressed an interest in buying the Chicago Cubs. He was less then enamored with the process though and it’ll be interesting to see if he makes another try, especially with a team that’s right in the Mavericks’ backyard. Still, it looks like this sale won’t be completed until some time in 2010. There’s also some question as to how Hicks came up with his $600 million number because a couple of consultants who were quoted in the article put the team’s value more in the $450-500 million range.

Padres transitioning

While the Rangers ready themselves to be sold, the San Diego Padres are contending with a structure that has the old majority owner, John Moores, transitioning his duties to the current owner, former agent-turned-baseball-executive Jeff Moorad. Moores still owns a stake in the Padres, but the plan is for him sell his 90 percent stake to Moorad over the next five years. In the meantime, Moores has limited both his day-to-day operations of the team as well as some of his commitments with Major League Baseball. Right now, Moorad owns a third of the Padres, but when he makes two more payments, he’ll have a majority stake.

Moorad is also the team’s chief executive, a role he took over from Sandy Alderson back in March when he began purchasing the team. For a lot more on Moorad, with a focus on how his life changed after he survived an infectious disease, be sure to check out this profile by Barry M. Bloom.

The free agent compensation game

Who would you rather have on your team, Ryan Howard or Josh Willingham? My bet is most people would go for Howard but in a very interesting column by Jeff Passan, the whole free agent compensation formula is analyzed and Willingham is ranked higher than Howard in the draft compensation food chain. The problem, as Passan discusses, is that there’s nothing that can be done with the outdated formula because it would require reopening the collective bargaining agreement. That’s something that’s only been done to institute penalties for performance-enhancing drug use.

The rankings are derived by the Elias Sports Bureau, which really isn’t to blame since it’s simply handed the formula. It just appears that the issue wasn’t big enough in the last round of CBA jockeying so it was rolled over from previous contracts. There’s also a link in the story to the actually lists and rankings of the free agents.

Dow Diamond notches Midwest League honors

Dow Diamond, the home of the Great Lakes Loons, was selected as having the 2009 Midwest League Sports Turf Manager and Grounds Crew of the Year. Dow Diamond has been open for three years now and the award was based on the quality of the playing surface, the playability and texture of the infield skin, the preparation of the field and the condition of the infield and outfield turf. The quality of the pitching mounds, home plate and bullpens are also considered.

This is Dow Diamond’s second award in the past three seasons. The park won the award in its inaugural season back in 2007. The award also throws the Loons into the hat for the national sports manager award for all Class-A teams.

Rays launch sports and entertainment consulting company

The Tampa Bay Rays are looking to leverage their worst-to-first 2008 season by branching out into a new subsidiary called Sunburst Entertainment Group. The sports and entertainment consulting company is looking to offer its clients brand management, sales and sponsorship support as well as promotions and event management. It looks like the model for this type of company is the Fenway Sports Group, which is owned by the same people who own the Boston Red Sox.

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I guess the Rays consulting group could work, as long as the clients aren’t expecting big crowds at their events.