Hmmm. Maybe Bud Selig is retiring next year after all

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Bud Selig has said he plans to retire after the 2012 season. Most people don’t believe he will. They believe that some emergency or some groundswell of support from the owners or the simple fact that there isn’t an obvious successor will cause him to extend his time in a job that (a) he truly seems to love; and (b) everyone who has a say in the matter loves him to be in.

But maybe he is retiring. Or at least moving MLB headquarters to the History Department of the University of Wisconsin, because they have a whole office set up for him with furniture and TVs and everything. There’s a nice story about it complete with pics and stuff here. It’s actually a sweet little setup and — for a guy who has been able to have minor leaguers killed at his command and who has been fed the finest meats and cheeses by the fairest maidens in the land for the past 18 years — the digs are fairly modest.

He plans to write his memoirs and help the nearby Wisconsin Historical Society archive his papers. He has endowed a history chair for someone there too because Bud loves history.  People in the department seem to like him a lot and call him “kind of fun.”

Will Bud really go gentle into that good night?  Watch the Madison office sublease listings on Craigslist next year to be sure.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.