Bud Selig

Bud Selig has no problem with Jeter’s absence, says radical realignment not imminent, says other stuff

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Every year Bud Selig gives a big press conference on All-Star day. This year’s version just went down and, as usual, it was a rapid fire series of comments which pretty much set the official word of Major League Baseball on a ton of different topics. Highlights:

  • The complaints of some notwithstanding, Selig has no problem with Derek Jeter being away from the All-Star Game. Says he would have made the same choice in Jeter’s place and that there has been no player over the past 15 years he respects more than Jeter. If baseball blogs had the same standards of partisan political blogs I’d do a headline saying “Selig questions Jeter’s absence,” but since we’re better than that I think I’ll let it lie.
  • Selig said baseball would look at the rule which prohibits pitchers who threw on the Sunday before the All-Star Game to play in the game. Many have questioned this, inasmuch as Tuesday is often a bullpen session day for Sunday starters, so why not let them throw 20-25 pitches in the All-Star Game? Cole Hamels was complaining about this yesterday. Seems like some option should be involved for teams and pitchers.
  • Selig was asked about radical or massive realignment as many talked about a few weeks ago. He said there was nothing imminent on that, and generally downplayed it all, so I would guess it isn’t happening.
  • He said that the David Einhorn buy-in to the Mets is basically approved pending he and the Wilpons finishing the paperwork. Said it was a good deal for the Mets. Not sure what else he’d say.
  • Said that he had all kinds of things he’d like to say about the Frank McCourt litigation, but that he couldn’t. God, I know how that feels.
  • All but said that the 2013 All-Star Game will be in Citi Field, which is what everyone has basically known for a long time. I don’t get why baseball takes so long to formally announce this kind of thing.
  • He’s surprised by the Tampa Bay Rays’ low attendance this season and understands the concerns of Rays’ ownership. I would guess that if the Rays could figure out a way to move, Selig would support it.
  • At the same time, he totally dodged a question about the Oakland Athletics’ situation and the 28-month-long committee meeting that is holding up their future.
  • Selig “likes” tying home field advantage in the World Series to the All-Star Game. He probably also likes Miracle Whip on corned beef sandwiches.
  • When asked why they couldn’t just use the best record in the regular season to determine home field advantage for the World Series, Selig said “You can’t wait till end of the year.”  Which I guess means that the current system is totally rigged, because you don’t know which park will host the first game of the World Series until the LCSs are over now as it is. Troubling, or incoherent? You be the judge!
  • Selig said that he’s definitely retiring after the 2012 season like he has promised. I will believe it when I see it.
  • He said that there would be some sort of instant replay expansion, albeit limited. Likely on fair/foul calls.
  • He said that he likes the idea of using the DH in NL parks and letting pitchers bat in AL parks during interleague play. Really. Reverse rules. I’m not sure whose idea that is, but it’s … odd.

He said other stuff. Nothing radical of course because he’s Bud Selig, and that cuts both good and bad at varying times. But hey, at least it’s what we’re used to.

A Mexican team wins the Caribbean Series for the third time in four years

Mexican players celebrate their victory in the Caribbean Series baseball final against Aragua Tigres of Venezuela, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Designated hitter Jorge Vazquez hit a game-winning home run leading off the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday, lifting Mexico's Venados de Mazatlan to a 5-4 come-from-behind victory and the championship of the Caribbean Series. (AP Photo/Roberto Guzman)
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For those who aren’t familiar, Serie del Caribe, or the Caribbean Series, is the highest club level baseball tournament in Latin America, pitting the champions of the winter leagues in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela against one another in a bacchanalia of baseball that, if there was justice in the world, we’d all be watching instead of football.

This year’s installment ended last night with Mexico’s Mazatlan Venados beating Venezuela’s Aragua Tigres 5-4 in the final game at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Jorge Vazquez — who Yankees fans may remember from a few years back — provided the winning margin when he hit a home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning.

This is the third Serie del Caribe title for a Mexican club in the past four years, with Naranjeros de Hermosillo winning in 2014 and Yaquis de Obregón winning in 2013. Pinar del Río from Puerto Rico won it last winter. This is the first time the Venados have won it.

As we noted yesterday, this was longtime MLB starter Freddy Garcia‘s last game. He gave up four hits and allowed two earned runs over five and a third innings for the Tigres, getting a no-decision.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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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.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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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.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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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.