Major League Baseball appoints J. Thomas Schieffer “Monitor” of the Dodgers

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I was wondering what the title of the person baseball chose to run the Dodgers would be. I liked “Lord Protector,” but figured that wouldn’t fly.  “Trustee” seemed cool, but that may suggest some legal duties to the team and its stakeholders that baseball would rather not have.

They have settled on “Monitor,” which is rather passive. But it’s also a “Crisis on Infinite Earths” shoutout, so that’s cool. Not that Bud Selig had that in mind because that would be too impossibly cool for words.

Anyway, here’s the official statement:

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that he has appointed J. Thomas Schieffer, the former president of the Texas Rangers, as the Monitor of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise.  Schieffer will represent the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball in the oversight of the day-to-day operations, business and finances of the Dodgers and all of the franchise’s related entities.

Schieffer, an investor in the ownership group headed by George W. Bush and Rusty Rose that purchased the Rangers in 1989, was the club president from 1991-1999 and the franchise’s general partner from November 1994 until June 1998.  The Fort Worth native was the club’s partner in charge of ballpark development in advance of the 1994 opening of The Ballpark in Arlington.  The Rangers won their first three American League West titles (1996, 1998-1999) in club history in the years during Schieffer’s tenure.

I know some people wanted Peter O’Malley or someone with a history with the Dodgers to come on board, but that never made much sense.  The warm fuzzies the fans want have to come from the eventual long term owner, not the caretaker.  At the same time, baseball needs someone to make hard decisions and prepare the team for ultimate sale, and someone with a former connection to the team wouldn’t be the best choice.

For what it’s worth, Schieffer was the Ambassador to Japan and Australia during the Bush Administration. He is also the younger brother of Bob Schieffer of CBS News. For a time he was in the Texas gubernatorial race last year as a Democrat, which is strange considering how long he worked for Bush with both the Rangers and in government. But hey, strange bedfellows and all of that.

No matter what you can say about him, his resume suggests competence. And competence is something that the Los Angeles Dodgers desperately need.

Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord

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John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.

The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.

Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.

The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.

Report: Rays acquire Lucas Duda from the Mets

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.

Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.