One Los Angeles institution is buying another.
A group that includes former Lakers star Magic Johnson and longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten agreed late Tuesday night to buy the Dodgers from Frank McCourt for a record $2 billion.
The price would shatter the mark for a sports franchise. Stephen Ross paid $1.1 billion for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2009, and in England, Malcolm Glazer and his family took over the Manchester United soccer club in 2005 in a deal then valued at $1.47 billion.
Mark Walter, chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners, would become the controlling owner.
The deal, revealed about five hours after Major League Baseball owners approved three finalists for an intended auction, is one of several steps toward a sale of the team by the end of April. It is subject to approval in federal bankruptcy court.
“I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles,” Johnson said in a statement.
As part of the agreement, the Dodgers said McCourt and “certain affiliates of the purchasers” would acquire the land surrounding Dodger Stadium, including its parking lots, for $150 million.
The acquiring group, called Guggenheim Baseball Management, has several other investors, among them Mandalay Entertainment chief executive Peter Guber, Guggenheim Partners president Todd Boehly and Bobby Patton, who operates oil and gas properties among his investments. Kasten is the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals.
Vizquel makes Blue Jays
Omar Vizquel was added to the Toronto Blue Jays’ roster a month before his 45th birthday, making the backup infielder the oldest active position player in the major leagues. The 11-time Gold Glove winner had signed a minor-league contract on Jan. 23. He spent the previous two years with the Chicago White Sox as a utilityman and mentor to younger players.
Vizquel turns 45 on April 24. The three-time All-Star shortstop from Venezuela is batting .433 in 15 spring games. The Blue Jays optioned Mike McCoy, Vizquel’s primary competition, to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Pitchers to start year on DL
Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen and Kansas City Royals right-hander Felipe Paulino will start the season on the disabled list because of trouble in their right elbows.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said that Storen wouldn’t be ready for Opening Day on April 5. Storen had 43 saves last year. Paulino was competing for a rotation spot.
Red Sox reliever Chris Carpenter, who was obtained from the Cubs as partial compensation for GM Theo Epstein, will have elbow surgery.
Reds’ bullpen in disarray
One week before the season opener, Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker is leaning toward a closer-by-committee approach to replace Ryan Madson.
The Reds learned last weekend that Madson has a torn ligament in his pitching elbow and will need reconstructive surgery, ending his season. There’s no one else on the roster with significant experience in the role.
Left-handed set-up man Sean Marshall is the best alternative, but has never been a full-time closer.
Baker wants to see how he handles pitching a full inning several days in a row.
The bullpen took another hit when right-hander Nick Masset was told he’ll have to start the season on the 15-day disabled list because of inflammation in his right shoulder. Bill Bray was limited by a strained groin in spring training.
Twins release Zumaya
The Minnesota Twins released injured right-hander Joel Zumaya to make room on their 40-man roster. Zumaya was trying to revive his career after missing the 2011 season because of elbow problems, but the hard-throwing reliever hurt the joint again during his first bullpen session of spring training and is scheduled for Tommy John surgery today.
London a possibility
London’s Olympic Stadium is in the running to host a regular-season Major League Baseball game. American officials have been looking in Europe for years to find a facility with the right dimensions and seating capacity for regular-season games.
Clive Russell of MLB International said that the London stadium, “the way it’s built, actually is big enough for a baseball game.”