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 Blue Jays are allergic to .500

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The Blue Jays dropped Thursday afternoon’s game to the Rangers 11-4, splitting the four-game home series. And, impressively, the Blue Jays failed for the ninth time to get back to .500. The club is now 35-37.

Here’s a look at all the times the Blue Jays could’ve evened out their won-lost record and what happened:

  • April 5 (0-1): Lost 3-1 to the Orioles
  • April 7 (1-2): Lost 10-8 to the Rays
  • June 1 (26-27): Lost 12-2 to the Yankees
  • June 3 (27-28): Lost 7-0 to the Yankees
  • June 5 (28-29): Lost 5-3 to the Athletics
  • June 13 (31-32): Lost 8-1 to the Rays
  • June 16 (32-33): Lost 11-4 to the White Sox
  • June 20 (34-35): Lost 6-1 to the Rangers
  • June 22 (35-36): Lost 11-4 to the Rangers

The Blue Jays are now a half-game behind the Orioles for fifth place in the AL East, but they’re only 5.5 games behind the first-place Yankees. Interestingly, if the Blue Jays played in the NL East and had the same record, they would be in second place. But even the Phillies — baseball’s worst team — have been at .500 or better for a few days: after winning Opening Day and after game Nos. 6, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22.

Report: Marlins expected to trade Adeiny Hechavarria

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Marlins are expected to trade shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria in the next few days.

Hechavarria, 28, is currently on a rehab assignment for a strained left oblique. It’s the second time this season he’s hit the sidelines with an oblique injury. Hechavarria is also hitting a disappointing .277/.288/.385 over 67 plate appearances, which is marginally better than his career averages.

While the Marlins are shopping Hechavarria at depressed value, there are two factors that give him value: he still plays good defense, and he’s under team control through the 2018 season. Passan does estimate that Hechavarria will see a pay raise from $4.3 million this season to $6-7 million next season in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility.

Passan adds that while the Marlins aren’t yet willing to shop outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, relievers A.J. Ramos, David Phelps, and Kyle Barraclough are being made available.