Bud Selig defiant

Selig talks about the Wilpons, contraction, expanding the playoffs and more

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Bud Selig was on SiriusXM with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo yesterday, and he held forth in his usual Budly manner on the topics of the Mets financial situation, that contraction nonsense, realignment, expanded playoffs and the Barry Bonds trial.  The highlights:

  • The most newsworthy thing of the interview was Bud’s statement that the Mets did not ask major league baseball for a second loan last fall. This contradicts reports that the Mets sought additional assistance from the league after its initial infusion of $25 million. Selig said that no second request was ever made. There have since been reports that the team was working with banks in an attempt to secure additional loans, but according to Bud, they have not approached the league;
  • Russo asked Selig if he ordered Wilpon to hire Sandy Alderson as his general manager, which some have suggested. Selig denied ordering such a thing, but said he shared with Fred his “intense feelings about Sandy.”
  • Selig on the contraction nonsense that won’t die, most recently the one in Forbes: “I’m not sure where that came from.  We have not discussed contraction at all.”  Selig was also critical of the Forbes piece about franchise values, wondering where they get their info given how the owners tend to keep it a secret. Between those two topics, it’s safe to say that Selig is not a fan of Forbes.
  • Selig was more open to the idea of realignment of some kind, hoping that it gets done before his time as Commissioner is up in 2012, but said it’s not on anyone’s radar on the moment.
  • Expanded playoffs, however, are on the agenda and could happen as soon as next year. I agree it’s inevitable. I also hate the idea, but no one asks me about such things.
  • Finally, Selig was asked if he’s following the Barry Bonds trial. He said no, and that he considers the steroids stuff to be a thing of the past:

I’m more concerned with now and what’s gone on the last five years.  I’m damn proud of where we are.  We’ve cleaned up the sport, banned amphetamines, by the way.  And so, Chris, we’re in a position where, you know, I’m testing for HGH in the minor leagues.  We have the severest penalties of any sport.  I had George Mitchell do all that for me but now we’ve moved on and there’s just nothing more to say.”

And thus spake the Commissioner.

Angels sign Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Eric Young Jr. #4 of the Atlanta Braves slides safely into third base on a RBI triple in the fifth inning against the New York Mets during the Braves opening series at Turner Field on April 11, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Andrelton Simmons #19 scored on the triple.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.

The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.

Report: Blue Jays close to a deal with Jarrod Saltalamacchia

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 9: Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Detroit Tigers hits an RBI single in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 9, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.

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The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.

Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.

The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.