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.

The Mets are among six teams that help Dominican prospects earn high school diplomas

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 19:  A detailed view of the blackboard with theoretical physics equations in chalk by Alberto Ramos, Theoretical Physics Fellow and visitor, Antonio Gonzalez-Arroyo from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (both not in frame) at The European Organization for Nuclear Research commonly know as CERN on April 19, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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In a special for USA TODAY Sports, Mike Vorkunov details how six teams — the Mets in particular — provide an education program that helps their Dominican prospects earn high school diplomas. It seems like an obvious win-win: smarter players make smarter decisions, making them more likely to achieve their potential as athletes. That, of course, requires spending money, which is why only six teams make the investment. For the players, if baseball doesn’t work out, they are better able to support themselves in other ways.

Vorkunov lists the Pirates, Tigers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Mariners as the other teams who provide an education program for their Dominican prospects. We learned earlier this month that the Phillies were also investing in making sure their minor leaguers eat healthy. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “few teams” supply their minor league players with healthy food options.

Juan Henderson, the head of the Mets’ Dominican academy, said, “We see the benefit of it. I gotta tell you, we’re working with a new generation of baseball players. You see in the past that players just carry a bat and a glove and a helmet on the baseball field and in the academy. Those years, I think, are going to be pretty much over. Now they also do that, but they also carry books, they also carry an iPad, they also carry a laptop.”

Kudos to the six teams for making a great decision and here’s hoping the other 24 teams follow suit.

Video: Albert Pujols hits 569th career home run, tying Rafael Palmeiro

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 22:  Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 22, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
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Angels first baseman Albert Pujols cranked out a two-run home run in the third inning against Rangers starter Derek Holland, breaking a scoreless tie. It’s the ninth homer of the season for Pujols and the 569th of his career, putting him into a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for 12th on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard.

Harmon Killebrew is Pujols’ next target at 573, followed by Mark McGwire at 583 and Frank Robinson at 586.

Pujols hadn’t homered since May 13. He entered Monday night hitting a mediocre .228/.309/.395 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 188 plate appearances.

Alex Gordon to miss three to four weeks with a fractured scaphoid bone

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 22:  Alex Gordon #4 and Mike Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals collide going for a foul ball against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on May 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Royals 3-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Monday has unfortunately been a day of injury news. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is the latest to hit the 15-day disabled list, as he has been diagnosed with a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist. The club has recalled infielder Cheslor Cuthbert from Triple-A Omaha.

Gordon suffered the injury colliding with third baseman Mike Moustakas attempting to catch a fly ball on Sunday afternoon. He is expected to miss three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.

Gordon was having a tough 2016 campaign and the injury only makes it worse. He’s hitting .211/.319/.331 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 166 plate appearances on the year.

The Royals will likely use Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando in left field in Gordon’s absence.

Orioles trade reliever Brian Matusz to the Braves

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 17:  Brian Matusz #17 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning on May 17, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Orioles announced on Monday night that the club has traded reliever Brian Matusz to the Braves in exchange for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The Braves are also receiving a Competitive Balance Round B pick (76th overall) in the 2016 draft.

Matusz, 29, made his season debut on April 23 after battling a back injury since early March. It’s been a struggle, as the lefty has yielded eight runs on 11 hits and seven walks with just one strikeout in six innings. He is earning $3.9 million and can become a free agent after the season.

MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves are expected to designate Matusz for assignment. Essentially, the Braves bought the draft pick for Matusz’s remaining salary of $3 million of $3.9 million total.

Barker, 23, has been pitching at Double-A Mississippi after getting a taste of Triple-A last year. So far this season, the right-hander has a 2.00 ERA with a 40/12 K/BB ratio in 45 innings spanning eight starts and a relief appearance.

Belicek, a 23-year-old left-hander, has spent most of the year with Single-A Rome, compiling a 2.49 ERA with a 29/1 K/BB ratio in 25 1/3 innings over 11 relief appearances.