Last week I rather snobbishly lamented the fact that our dear Commissioner of Baseball is not, like many of his predecessors, particularly intellectually accomplished or trained. He was not, prior to taking office, a judge or senator or general or and Ivy League president. But he has improved his resume a bit since I wrote that. He’s now a law professor:
Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig has been named to the adjunct faculty at Marquette University Law School as distinguished lecturer in sports law and policy.
“Bud Selig is, without question, one of the most skilled and accomplished professionals in the sports industry today,” said Joseph D. Kearney, dean of Marquette Law School. “We are truly honored that he would commit his time to our students and grateful that he’s chosen our classrooms as a place to pass down his significant wisdom to the next generation of leaders.”
Bud has actually lectured there for a couple of years. It’s just now being formalized as, you know, a thing.
And he’s fun in class too! I’ve been trying to track it down, but I can’t find it: last year, during a lecture at Marquette, someone who was in the class emailed me to tell me that Bud had actually let slip some piece of commissioner news. Like a positive drug test or something. The news was officially announced later in the day. So I guess what I’m saying is that, if you’re a law student at Marquette, sign up for Bud’s class and drop me a line if you hear anything good. Cool?
My take: Bud won’t even be the best law school professor who knows a bit about baseball. My first law school class at George Washington University Law School was in August 1995. Civil Procedure, with Professor Jonathan Siegel. It was, as a matter of fact, his first law school class too, as he had just been hired away from the DOJ. The first thing Professor Siegel did was to start reading from the Official Rules of Baseball, with the purpose of showing us that all games have rules, and that as far as litigation is concerned, civil procedure — which many 1L’s find maddening — are merely the rules of the game. I don’t know if Professor Siegel still does that, but I kinda hope he does. Certainly beats opening up the civil rules and starting with “Rule 3 . . . Commencing an Action . . . .”
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.