Yesterday we learned that baseball is taking a longer look at the background of would-be Astros owner Jim Crane. Today the current owner of the Astros, Drayton McLane, is quoted about that:
“I have great respect for the commissioner, but he doesn’t do anything until he’s finished. He’s the most meticulous man I’ve ever met.”
Seriously. Just ask the Oakland A’s. That said, McLane still believes that the deal will go through. Maybe even in less than three years!
My hope: that the increased scrutiny on Crane isn’t just window dressing designed to placate those who have concerns about civil rights complaints against his company. If there is any meat to those accusations, I would hope that they’d be seriously reviewed. If not, I would hope that baseball not patronize people by pretending to take small things so seriously.
Most of all, I would hope that they’re scrutinizing the financing of the deal just as much as they’re looking at the character stuff. Because as history has shown us, baseball is able to correct aberrant behavior among owners on the civil rights front (just ask the ghost of Marge Schott). But it hasn’t yet gotten its brain around poor financing (just ask the ghost of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise).
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.