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.
The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.
In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.
According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.
McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.
The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.
The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.
In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.
The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report: