Sale’s delay could cost Texas dearly
Bankruptcy judge to decide whether to postpone auction
FORT WORTH — Keeping the Texas Rangers in bankruptcy court by delaying the Aug. 4 auction will hurt the team and maybe even cost them slugger Josh Hamilton after this season, Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan told a federal bankruptcy judge Wednesday.
Ryan said he was testifying in his capacity as the team’s president, although he and Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg have the endorsement of Major League Baseball to buy the Rangers and want to close the deal soon. The sale was delayed for months by angry creditors and is now part of a contentious bankruptcy case.
Creditors and even the court-appointed restructuring officer want the auction delayed so other bidders can line up financing. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn is to decide today whether to delay the auction after hearing more testimony.
Ryan said the team needs to exit bankruptcy to have enough money for acquisitions and expected increases in some players’ salaries.
Hamilton, whose .357 batting average through Tuesday leads the major leagues, signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Rangers in January. Ryan said he could command a salary of $8 million to $10 million next year. Hamilton won’t be eligible for free agency this offseason, but if he and the Rangers can’t strike a deal on his salary for 2011, he is eligible for salary arbitration.
“I don’t know that I want to be there (if) Josh Hamilton doesn’t come back next year,” Ryan said. High player, appears to be recovered from the inflamed pitching shoulder that has disabled him since May 24, a far longer recovery than initially expected.