Competitive balance fine, no need for expanded replay, says MLB President

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Baseball’s president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy was on “Mike & Mike in the Morning” yesterday, and was asked about the Yankees’ alleged buying a title. His response:

“I don’t think that’s a fair statement. Competitive balance has been a hallmark of the entire tenure of Commissioner [Bud] Selig. The numbers tell an awfully compelling story. Twenty of the 30 clubs have made the playoffs the last 10 years, when we’ve had eight different World Series champions. There is too much disparity. We’d like to see that gap close. That’s why we’ve been pushing revenue sharing. But if you look beyond the Yankees, that ratio is more compressed than people realize.”

That last bit reminded me of the famous Marion Barry quote in which he said that if you take out the killings, Washington D.C. actually has a very very low crime rate. Absolutely true! Totally not comforting!

DuPuy went to call for a reformation of the draft to add international players. Though he didn’t say it explicitly, he was also clearly advocating for hard slots on amateur signing bonuses. Both of those things will be demanded by the owners the next time the Collective Bargaining Agreement is up for renewal. If I had to guess now, I’d say that the players will give that to the owners, simply because neither of those things directly impact current players.

Finally, DuPuy was asked about the bad umping during the playoffs. In response he dismissed the call for expanded replay and said “Our job is to get the very best umpires on the field and for them to get the calls right.”  Given that he called some of the plays this postseason “inexplicable” I’m inclined to believe that there are some umpires — say, Phil Cuzzi and Tim McClelland — who are going to get blasted back to the stone age as a result of their performance this fall.

That’s not enough for some GMs, however, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports today:

“The playoffs were a mess,” a National League general manager said.”There is no reason not to have a replay ump upstairs.”

A second GM agreed but said he expects no action on replay in 2010. “That speaks to a real lack of vision and leadership at the commissioner’s office,” he said.

Psst! Bob! He’s talking about you.

Brewers sign Neftali Feliz

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 29: Neftali Feliz #30 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch during the eighth inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 29, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Pirates won the game 8-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Brewers have signed Neftali Feliz to a one-year, $5.35 million contract. There are some performance incentives in the deal that could push it to $6.85 million. Feliz will likely open the 2017 season as the Brewers’ closer.

The 28-year-old righty is coming off of an impressive season with the Pirates. His hits allowed per nine innings were WAY down and his WHIP dipped sharply as well, despite the fact that he walked a few more dudes. That was offset by a big spike in his strikeout rate: from 7.3/9IP in 2015 to 10.2 last year. A blemish: he missed the last month of the season after suffering a bout of arm soreness, though no structural problem was ever uncovered, he’ll likely be good to go next month.

Marlins acquire starter Dan Straily from the Reds

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 3: Dan Straily #58 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch during the first inning of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on September 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
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The Miami Marlins have acquired starting pitcher Dan Straily from the Cincinnati Reds. In exchange, the Reds will receive right-handed pitching prospects Luis Castillo and Austin Brice and outfield prospect Isaiah White.

For the Marlins, they get a solid starter who logged 191.1 innings of 113 ERA+ ball last year. Straily has moved around a lot in his five big league seasons — the Marlins will be his fifth club in six years — but it was something of a breakout year for him in Cincinnati. The only troubling thing: he tied for the league lead in homers allowed. Of course, pitching half of his games in Great American Ballpark didn’t help that, and Miami will be a better place for him.

Castillo is 24. He split last season between high-A and Double-A — far more of it in A-ball — posting a 2.26 ERA over 24 starts. Austin Brice is also 24. He pitched 15 games in relief for the Marlins last year at the big league level with poor results. He seemed to blossom at Triple-A, however, after the Marlins shifted him to the pen. White was a third round pick in the 2015 draft. He played low-A ball as a minor leaguer last year, hitting .214/.306/.301.

A mixed bag of young talent for the Reds, but stockpiling kids and seeing what shakes out is what a team like the Reds should be doing at the moment. For the Marlins: a solid mid-to-back end starter who may just be coming into his own.