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The Rangers won't be auctioned, would they?

Mar 22, 2010, 5:45 PM EDT

I get the shakes if I don’t write something about the Rangers sale for more than 48 hours or so and right now I’m jonesin’ hard, so I’ll even settle for linking to Heyman:

The snag in the Texas Rangers’ sale talks appears fairly serious. Two
sources say they believe the banks are looking for $50 million more.
They are unlikely to cut Rangers owner Tom Hicks any slack,
either, as he’s been slow to pay back his debts. One possibility if this
deal falls through might be to auction off the team.

This comes in a notes column and doesn’t have much more context than that so it’s hard to say if Heyman has heard something new or just going off of the reports from early last week about the latest creditor objections.  Either way, his reference to an auction of the team is something I’ve never seen anyone say before.

And while it’s a possibility, it doesn’t strike me as a realistic possibility. If someone involved in the current negotiations decides that a total impasse has been reached aren’t there less-intrusive options?  For one thing, Greenberg-Ryan could simply go back to the drawing board with a new proposal that bypasses Hicks in some important way or otherwise makes the creditors happy in ways that Hicks can’t seem to now. Also, might it not be possible for the guys who were interested before — Jim Crane or Dennis Gilbert — to get back into this thing?  Reports had each of them with some important advantages back in December, with some people saying that Crane’s offer was the richest and others saying that Gilbert was favored by Major League Baseball.

All of that is speculation, of course — I have no idea if Crane or Gilbert are even interested any more or if there’s some procedural reason why Greenberg and Ryan couldn’t simply start over — but those options all seem more likely and less disastrous for all involved than some auction or bankruptcy gambit that the creditors have been barking about in recent weeks.

  1. Mark - Mar 22, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    Maybe an auction opens the door for Cuban

  2. monkeyball - Mar 22, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    Wait — the source for this is Heyman?
    Clearly, Hicks has hired Scott Boras to take the team to auction, where a “mystery bidder” will surface to drive the price up.

  3. Old Gator - Mar 22, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    Love to see it. A man after my own heart – only much richer.
    .
    Unfortunately, the owners would still have to vote to accept him. AQnd the chances of that are slim – unless this fiasco threatens to ramify negatively in some as yet unsuspected way that affects them too.
    .
    Craig, just out of curiosity – MLB membership is fraught with more arcane legal weirdness than a Wes Craven movie, and although I occasionally hire myself out as a grave robber, I still don’t follow all of its ins and outs. Could Hicks’ creditors turn around and foreclose on the franchise, or at least slap a lien on it?

  4. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 22, 2010 at 10:08 PM

    I don’t think so. My understanding is that MLB will not allow owners to give out security interests in teams, leaving these creditors unsecured. A possible end game would be for the creditors to sue Hicks’ Sports Group for the outstanding debt which could, practically speaking, force HSG into bankruptcy, with the team being one of the assets to be disposed of.

  5. BC - Mar 22, 2010 at 10:58 PM

    Are we sure that the Rangers sale wasn’t part of the Healthcare Bill? For all we know, the government owns them now. Or heck, maybe we traded them to China for a debt to be named later.
    Oh crap there I go getting political. SORRY!! End thread! Fail!

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