Is Lew Wolff about to get what he wants?

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It’s been eleven months since Bud Selig announced that the Athletics’ future would be decided by a committee. Specifically, a committee that would determine whether Oakland remained viable, whether San Jose would be better and what in the world to do about the fact that the Giants claim Santa Clara County as their territory.  That committee is expected to complete its work this week and issue it’s report to the Budster. Monte Poole of the Mercury-News thinks its conclusions were forgone:


In the 11 months that have
passed since Selig convened a committee to examine future prospects for
a ballpark in Oakland, Wolff has been about as patient as his
superficial exasperation will allow. He wants it known that he doesn’t
understand why it’s taken so long for his college fraternity brother to
abide by a basic fraternal oath: Thou shall always find a way to “hook
up” his frat brother — even if the Giants claim territorial rights.

Well,
it takes time for the commish to pull this off without making it look
as if the plot was hatched years ago, in the private room of a
steakhouse, sealed with the secret frat bro handshake.

Poole goes on to note that Selig has long been on record of (a) helping Wolff; and (b) dissing Oakland, so it’s not like Wolff isn’t going to ultimately get what he wants here.

Of course, if it was that simple this would have been done months ago. The fact that the City of San Francisco and the Giants have grown increasingly vocal about their claims to San Jose complicates things, and it would not surprise me at all if the bulk of the commission’s time has been spent trying to figure out the best way to buy them off as opposed to looking at surveys of ballpark sites in Oakland and San Jose.

Ultimately I think this gets done. It makes too much sense for Oakland to be in San Jose, the non-Giant owners probably agree, and ultimately the Giants — like the Orioles before them — will get some kind of payoff to agree to a the move.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.