Outgoing union head Don Fehr, the guy baseball fans love to hate, sat for an extended interview and as you might expect, said a few interesting things. Most interesting to me is his answer to the question about his biggest regret:
“There’s not anything that I’m prepared to talk about with one
exception. In 1994, when we went on strike, we went out in early
August. We thought that would give us an opportunity to force
negotiations, to get an agreement, and we would save the season and the World Series
If we had known at the time there would be zero possibility of that, we
would have waited another month, month-and-a-half. The strike probably
wouldn’t have begun until mid- to late September. But we didn’t know
that. … We were optimists.”
I can’t help but think that the “not anything I’m prepared to talk about” comment covers an awful lot of territory. Probably a lot of it being hyper-sensitive confidential stuff that lawyers and union heads tend to get involved in.
I also can’t help but think a lot of that has to do with the manner in which he and the union handled PEDs. He holds forth on steroids more later in the interview, giving his standard — and arguably defensible — answer about how his job was to advance players interests and nothing more, and that resisting PED testing was part of that. Still, I think he ultimately muffed the PED issue even on that basis, even if it was something that was hard to see at the time. He may or may not come to admit that later, but today is probably too early to hear any mea culpas from the guy on the subject.
But I am perplexed about the regret he cites. He admits that even if the strike was pushed off a bit, there was no way to save the World Series in 1994. Why, then, it makes any difference that it happened in September instead of August is a mystery to me. So we could have gotten closer to seeing Matt Williams hit 61 home runs? So Expos fans could have gotten closer to having the future of their team saved only to have it ripped from them like it was?
Anyway, I know a lot of you love to slam Fehr, so feel free to read the interview and refresh your stores of ammunition.
There is a somewhat mixed history of entertainers and musicians getting into the sports agent business. Sometimes it works out (Jay-Z has done OK). Sometimes it doesn’t (Master P says “Hi”).
Add another one to the list. A pretty big one. Ken Rosenthal reports that Marc Anthony’s Magnus Media is getting into sports. And the company, Magnus Sports, just signed a new client: Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. From Rosenthal:
The company said in a news release that it will team with a baseball agency, Praver Shapiro Sports Management — and that the group’s first major client will be Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.
Praver Shapiro represents a number of Latin players, including Marlinsshortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, Cubs right fielder Jorge Soler, Reds pitcherRaisel Iglesias and free-agent third baseman Juan Uribe.
Chapman is on the trading block right now but 2016 is his walk year, and barring injury he’ll due for perhaps the biggest payday a closer has ever seen. Whether he’ll actually get it depends on the negotiating skills of the biggest salsa artist the world has ever seen.
Gentlemen: you have a year to get some song title pun/headlines ready.
MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.
Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.
The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.
Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.
While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.
Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.
After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.
It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.
Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.