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.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves