Bidding for the Los Angeles Dodgers is entering a crucial stage. This week prospective buyers, including St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, will go before the high court of Major League Baseball, pleading their case to own a storied franchise fallen on hard times. They will be heavily scrutinized by an organization pickier about membership than a Carolina county club.
Kroenke, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times, is one of the favorites to buy the team, but there is another horse out in front.
Billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen is said to be the odds on favorite, and with a net worth exceeding $8 billion, it's little wonder why.
Cohen and Kroenke are said to be the only potential buyers offering cash, according to Forbes. Neither man brings any sort of debt financing to the table and neither is already burdened by outstanding debts. A positive debt outlook will please MLB, while cash on the barrel head should entice current Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.
Cash equals simplicity, and by all accounts MLB would prefer to make the Dodgers transaction as simple as possible. There is nothing as simple as cash. The demand for simplicity could complicate things for Stan Kroenke, who brings questions and hangups to the process with his ownership of the Rams and the NFL's rules about cross ownership.
If Kroenke bought the Dodgers, it would raise questions for the NFL's eventual arrival there. Unless he sold the Dodgers or made the league jump through hoops, any NFL team in LA not named the Rams would put Kroenke in violation of league rules. That's why it's so easy to connect the dots about the Rams future in St. Louis if Stan buys the Dodgers.
Another thing to wonder about - and this is admittedly speculation - how Kroenke's bid plays with St. Louis Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt on the MLB group reviewing bids. The Rams, even as Super Bowl contenders, will never eat into the Cardinals fan base or market share. In fact, DeWitt may have reservations about being associated with opening the door to the Rams leaving St. Louis.
Final bids are due Friday. MLB vetting happens thereafter. McCourt picks a winner April 1, at which point the Rams' future in St. Louis gets at least a little clearer.