Los Angeles Dodgers' Suitors to Meet MLB Group: Vets Needed to Rebound in '12

Gary BurzellCorrespondent IIIFebruary 15, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 08:  Andre Ethier #16 and James Loney #7 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after the game with the San Diego Padres on July 8, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 1-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

For most Los Angeles Dodgers fans the whole team ownership issue can't be resolved quickly enough. However, as we get closer to when pitchers and catchers will report for spring training next week, the end of this ordeal is in sight.

According to several media sources including ESPN.com, the remaining bidders in contention for ownership of the Dodgers have been told to expect a meeting with MLB's ownership committee early in March.

After current owner Frank McCourt put the team in bankruptcy last year he agreed with MLB to select a new owner by April of this year, and to have the sale closed by April 30. And while there currently is no set date for the next round of bidding for the team, it looks like the April deadline for having a new owner in place is on schedule.

And for loyal Dodgers fans that can't happen soon enough.

While Dodgers fans are anxious for a new owner to be selected, it appears that Dodgers manager Don Mattingly feels the same way. In a story on MLB.com, Mattingly expresses his desire for the ownership process to be completed as soon as possible.

According to the MLB.com story, Mattingly says:

"In a sense, Spring Training could have even more distractions because there still are a lot of questions our guys will be asked to answer," said Mattingly. "Who's going to own the team? Do you want Magic [Johnson]? Did you want [Mark] Cuban? Joe [Torre]? Will the next one spend a lot of money?"

Mattingly seems prepared to deal with the distractions that will be caused by the bidding process and speculation on who the next owner will be, so hopefully the players will just concentrate on playing baseball until a new owner is announced.

One thing I don't want to see is a slow start by the Dodgers this season because of the distractions caused by the new ownership process. When you really look at the National League West, no team is so strong that the Dodgers couldn't compete for the division championship.

Of course, for the Dodgers to compete they will have to see several players rebound from a poor showing in 2011. While Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw were fantastic last season, many players were not. Andre Ethier, James Loney, Chad Billingsley and Juan Uribe were very inconsistent last season to say the least, and they will have to pick it up if the Dodgers are going to compete in the NL West in 2012.

In part because of the ownership situation the Dodgers didn't do much over the offseason as far as signing free-agent players. However, once a new owner is established they will be free to explore many options, including trading for needed players as the season goes on.

I have a feeling the team that reports for spring training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. beginning next week will look far different come September. Hopefully the team the Dodgers are fielding in September will have them contending for the divisional lead.

After the fiasco of last season, Dodgers fans can only hope for better results this season.