Sorting Through The Candidates For Owner Of The Los Angeles Dodgers

As I covered yesterday, the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to be put up for auction in bankruptcy court, thus ending Frank McCourt‘s embarrassing reign as Dodgers owner. However, while we’re busy celebrating his demise, fans need to be aware of the next owner’s credentials, lest history repeat itself.

For their part, Major League Baseball has committed to facilitating the process quickly and approving potential bidders as owners before the auction starts.

Still, nobody knows exactly who will be in the Dodgers sweepstakes just yet, but there are a ton of rumors to go around.

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So who are the rumored potential owners of the Dodgers?

Bill Shaikin has already ruled out former Dodgers owner Fox (thank god) and Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff, but there are many others showing interest, so let’s take a closer look.

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The Frontrunners
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Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is often talked about as a potential buyer and is a popular choice with the fans. He has previously shown interest in purchasing an MLB franchise with the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers, so there’s not only current interest, but precedent as well.

That said, Ken Rosenthal reports that Cuban is not willing to go over 1 billion dollars on the Dodgers, while Jon Heyman says 1 billion dollars is the lowest price the Dodgers are likely to go for.

While it would be simple enough to dismiss Cuban’s price talk as not wanting to show his hand, he’s unlikely to overpay just for the sake of getting to own a baseball franchise, as he proved when he finished in second place for the Rangers.

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Dennis Gilbert, the current Chicago White Sox executive who made a run at the Rangers ownership, is getting significant buzz from the press, as his name pops up in the top 3 of almost every article talking about potential Dodgers buyers. Fans seem content enough when his name pops up, which I assume is primarily because he’s a fan of the Dodgers himself. However, not much is known about his investment group, or if he even has one put together.

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The Declared
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Former Dodgers GM Fred Claire has already publicly declared his interest in the team and he seems to have support behind him.

While true that he was the GM at the time of the last Dodgers World Series victory, it should be noted that his major baseball moves were signing Daryl Strawberry, trading for Eric Davis, and trading for Delino DeShields.

His investment group includes Ben Hwang, a former Senior Director of Life Technologies Corporation, and Andy Dolich, a former high ranking executive for many teams in many professional leagues.

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Peter O’Malley, former owner of the Dodgers, has said that he’ll pursue the team.

While it’s nice that he talks about restoring the franchise, fans must remember that he sold it to Fox in 1998 to begin with, which started this whole downward spiral. I’m happy that he says he reads Dodger related blogs, but there are significant concerns with his potential ownership, especially considering part of the reason he sold the team in the first place was that he believed he didn’t have the money to be in baseball anymore.

I suppose there’s always the possibility that the rest of the group he puts together could be financially stacked, but we don’t know anything about them yet, so all we can judge is the frontman.

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Former Dodgers players Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser are fronting an investment group that plans to bid on the team.

The investors are unknown as of now, so it’s obviously hard to judge their credentials, but while I love Hershiser, Garvey was once broke and his personal affairs have been well publicized, so I’m not sure about the decision making of the investors if that’s the primary face for the group.

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The Sleepers
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Ron Burkle, a California born billionaire and co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, lurks in the shadows a bit.

He has stated in regards to the Dodgers that he “would be proud to be part of its future“, but hasn’t said much else about the situation.

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Alan Casden, a real estate businessman, comes up in auction related articles primarily as a throw-in type of name, but he seems to have the means and had previously made a run at buying the team.

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The Unlikely
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Alec Gores, a billionaire businessman, keeps coming up in articles about the auction, but I can’t see any actual interest from him or reason for buying the team.

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Mark Attanasio, the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, has been mentioned in articles, but I’m pretty sure the only reason is his ties to Los Angeles.

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Tom Werner, a businessman with stakes in the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. via New England Sports Ventures, is primarily mentioned due to his Los Angeles ties.

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Billionaire Eli Broad is included in the speculation of those who might bid on the Dodgers, but he has declined comment on the issue and the speculation seems hopeful at best.

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Billionaire businessman Larry Ellison has been included in the speculation as well, but he hasn’t commented either. Again, seems more hopeful than legitimate at this point.

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