Baseball's ump-overseer is demoted

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MLB logo.jpgJimmy Lee Solomon is MLB’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations.  In that capacity he handles on-the-field issues, discipline, security, ballpark issues and stuff like that. Or I should say he was MLB’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and handled on-the-field issues, because according to Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times, Solomon has been “demoted.”

Why? Unknown at the moment, but it’s worth
noting that one of Solomon’s duties is to oversee umpires.  And as we’ve
been following for some time now, the umpires are out of control. Bad
calls and bad attitudes and in need of a good butt-kicking.

Eric Fisher of SportsBusinessJournal doesn’t characterize it as a demotion, but he has more details: Solomon will now be the Executive Vice President for Baseball Development, in which capacity he’ll be overseeing youth academies and things like that. Taking Solomon’s old title will be Kevin McHale (no, not that one), who has been V.P. of Administration.  He’ll only handle part of the job. The umpire oversight and on-field discipline parts of the job will be handled by Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who has been a special assistant to Bud Selig for a while now.

Is Solomon getting whacked because of bad umpiring, or is this, as Fisher suggests, an efficiency move?  My sense is the former because it’s coming out so late on a Friday, the traditional dumping-ground of less-than-flattering news.

Updates as we learn more, of course.

Report: Braves sign Kurt Suzuki

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 20: Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Minnesota Twins hits against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.

Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.

The team has yet to confirm the deal.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.