Reading Bill Shaikin’s report about the Dodgers undegoing a security overhaul in the aftermath of the Bryan Stow attack last week reveals that the Dodgers have been operating without a permanent head of security for four months:
The Dodgers last December dismissed Ray Maytorena, a former Secret Service agent who had overseen the club’s security operations. Maytorena was one of at least 22 front-office employees to leave the organization over the last two off-seasons. The Dodgers consolidated his responsibilities under Francine Hughes, vice president of stadium operations. According to the team’s media guide, Hughes “joined the Dodgers in September 2009 following nearly 15 years in commercial real estate.”
There is an interim person running security under Hughes: Shahram Ariane, who is a former head of Dodgers security and currently runs security for The Claremont Colleges, which is an association of several small suburban schools with a total enrollment just north of 5000.
In the wake of an incident like this, there are security realities and then there is the p.r. overlay, which may or may not contain realities itself. We on the outside don’t know what the state of Dodger Stadium security was at the time of this incident. We also know that, even if a good, solid security program was actually in place at the time, a review of that program would be called for due to the severity of this incident. Put differently, neither the incident nor the review means that Dodger Stadium security was necessarily deficient.
But given the public mood since the time of the attack and the anecdotes coming to the fore about Dodger Stadium being a scary place to see a game in recent years, the fact that there has not been a permanent security person in place since December is troubling. And, even if it’s merely a matter of appearances and security was, in fact, reasonable, not having someone in that position is going to become fodder for lawsuits, investigations and other kinds of scrutiny of the Dodgers organization.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.
The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.
While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.