Bud Selig just got done with his annual All-Star Game news conference. I don’t have a transcript yet, but enough reporters there on the scene are tweeting about it to give us a few gems:
- Selig said that it is still his plan is to retire after the 2012
season. Which he has to reiterate, because he has already blown through a multiple putative retirement dates in the past, only to stay on longer. He says this one is legit, however, unless there is “an emergency.” Query: if baseball finds itself in an emergency in 2012, won’t it be because Bud steered the ship in that direction? If things are terrible then, it’s an even bigger reason for Bud to go.
- Selig wants to tighten up the schedule. He said “I live in fear of November.” I’m assuming he means the weather. I know it will cost some money, but schedule a handful of doubleheaders during the season and cut out postseason days off and we’re in October every year.
- Selig predicts that baseball’s revenue will be up around $7 billion for 2010, up from $6.5 billion in 2009. Silly bald bloggers can make all the cracks we, er, I mean they want to at Selig’s expense, but the man has delivered in the one job he is truly tasked with doing: making money for the owners and keeping the game on a sound financial footing.
- He dodged a question about the 2011 All-Star Game in Arizona. I’m not sure this is really an issue for anyone anymore. Suit has been filed over the immigration law, and an injunction will likely follow. It was a different story before then because people were concerned about the law being active, but now Selig should just say as much, defer to the legal and political process and be done with it.
Overall not much to report from the Commissioner, I guess. Which in the business of baseball is a pretty good thing.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.