What are the owners doing down in Arizona?

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As you freeze, the owner of your favorite team is down in Paradise Valley, Arizona meeting with Bud Selig to talk about how to keep the metric system down, leave Atlantis off the maps and rig Oscar night.  Oh, and for the first time at one of these meetings, general managers were invited. Selig said that meeting with the GMs was “historic” and “constructive,” and that “it
was the first time it had happened at this time of year in Major League
Baseball history.”

What time of year is it? Why, it’s right before arbitration figures are exchanged, and Biz of Baseball’s Maury Brown suggests that the reason for the meeting may be to get everyone on the same page with respect to how much money to offer in arbitration:

But, with the filing deadline for salary arbitration looming on
Friday, one possible topic amongst the GMs and owners might be how
clubs planned to file figures for those players that do not settle on
contracts ahead of the January 19th date when players and clubs begin
exchanging asking and offering figures.

The idea that GMs would huddle together and exchange information on
where they plan to file would seem to skirt near collusion. But,
according to a former AL and NL executive, it is not a rare practice.

If they’re exchanging information about how much they’re offering people, it sounds less like they’re “skirting near” collusion and more like plain old collusion. Still Brown talks to a former executive who said that this practice is common, though it’s usually done via conference call.  Well, in that case I guess it’s alright then.

Other stuff going on down at the meetings:

  • Rangers’ owner Tom Hicks met with MLB president
    Bob DuPuy to discuss the Rangers’ sale.  The 30-day exclusive window to sell the team to the Chuck
    Greenberg/Nolan Ryan group is set to expire tomorrow. As I reported just before Christmas, there are concerns that the Greenberg group may be having problems getting their financial house in order.  That was denied.  Jon Heyman said yesterday that there have been “a few hiccups in talks,” though he thinks the deal will go down.  I suppose we’ll know sometime tomorrow.
  • A committee studying the future of the Oakland A’s said that it was not
    ready to make a recommendation about where the team should
    relocate.  I suppose there are a lot of moving parts to this, but it’s not like this is as complicated as the Allies carving up the post-War world at Yalta or anything. One wonders if more energy isn’t being spent quietly negotiating with the Giants over the tribute the A’s and Major League Baseball will have to pay in order to resolve the San Jose territory rights issue so that things will go a lot smoother once the committee says “hey, we think the A’s need to move there.”
  • Today Selig will meet with his new special committee designed to look at replay, umpiring, pace of game, the postseason schedule and the like.  I’ve talked to a major league sources, and while no one knows exactly what’s going to come out of it, there is, generally speaking a lot of disagreement on the issues before the committee, and that because of it, the only thing they’d really count on happening is alteration of the playoff schedule.

I presume La Russa’s suggestion of a separate 25-man roster dedicated to relief pitchers will fall on mostly deaf ears.

UPDATE: Barry Bonds tentatively plans to accept the Marlins hitting coach job

Barry Bonds

UPDATE: Bob Nightengale reports that while negotiations are not yet finalized, Barry Bonds “tentatively plans to accept the Marlins’ offer to be hitting coach with Frank Menechino.” Which is a good reminder that Menechino is still the Marlins’ hitting coach. Who would be the assistant and who would be the coach — or if they’d be co-coaches — is unclear.

12:00PM: The matter of Barry Bonds as the Marlins hitting coach has gone from “consideration” to “offer,” reports Bob Nightengale. The Marlins now await Barry Bonds’ response.

The biggest mystery in all of this is whether Bonds is actually interested. No one has reported that he was willing or even that there have been serious conversations between the Marlins and Bonds. That could be because Bonds, as has always been his practice, doesn’t talk too much to the media. Indeed, we learn more about him from his social media presence than anything reported about him. So it’s possible that Bonds and Jeff Loria have been in contact about all of this and he’s strongly considering it as well.

It’s also possible that this is all nothing and the Marlins are just trying to make a long shot happen.

MONDAY, 5:01 PM: This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.

Royals avoid arbitration with Tim Collins for $1.475 million

Tim Collins Getty
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Left-hander Tim Collins, who missed the entire 2015 season following Tommy John elbow surgery, will remain with the Royals after avoiding arbitration for a one-year, $1.475 million contract.

Collins was a non-tender candidate due to his injury and projected salary via arbitration, but the Royals are convinced he can bounce back to be a valuable part of the bullpen again in 2016 and beyond. He agreed to the same salary he made in 2015.

Prior to blowing out his elbow Collins posted a 3.54 ERA with 220 strikeouts in 211 innings from 2011-2014 and he’s still just 26 years old. He figures to begin 2016 in a middle relief role.

Joba Chamberlain signs with the Indians

Joba Chamberlain

When you think “Joba Chamberlain” and “Cleveland” you think of the then-Yankees phenom being attacked by midges in the 2007 ALDS. If you don’t remember that somehow, the video evidence is below.

But all of that changes now, as the Indians have just announced that they have signed Chamberlain to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training. That’s no promise of a big league job, but the Indians did make at least one promise to him:


I can vouch for that. The Indians’ Triple-A team is in Columbus and we don’t have midges here.

Chamberlain split time with the Royals and the Tigers in 2015, posting a composite ERA of 4.88 in 36 games of mostly mopup work.

Mariners trying to trade Mark Trumbo by Wednesday

Mark Trumbo

Seattle making Mark Trumbo available has been known for a while now, but Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the Mariners are trying to trade the first baseman/outfielder before Wednesday.

That’s the deadline to tender 2016 contracts to arbitration eligible players and with Trumbo set to make around $9 million via that process the Mariners would rather move on before any decision needs to be made. In other words: They don’t want to be stuck with him.

Trumbo has elite power, averaging 30 homers per 160 games for his career, but that power comes with a .250 batting average, poor plate discipline and a .299 on-base percentage, and sub par defense. Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has already traded Trumbo once, dealing him to the Diamondbacks back when he was the Angels’ general manager, and now he’s working hard to part ways again.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Rockies are among the interested teams.