Joe Torre

Joe Torre resigns from his MLB post to join in a bid on the Dodgers

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Major League Baseball just announced that Joe Torre is resigning from his post as Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations, effective immediately, to explore opportunities with a group that will pursue ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He’s had the job since last February. In that time he has dealt with umpires, replay and discipline for on-the-field stuff.  For now the job will be filled on an interim basis by MLB Senior Vice Presidents Joe Garagiola, Jr., Kim Ng and Peter Woodfork.  A permanent replacement will be found later.

If baseball is smart they’d give the job to Kim Ng full time because someone needs to break up the boys club. But if they don’t do that, the permanent replacement has to be Tony La Russa, right?  I have no idea how he’d do in the job, but on a selfish basis I think he’d be interesting.  Think about it: if there was a beanball war, La Russa would probably suspend the pitchers who did not retaliate.  There would be fines to any manager who didn’t change pitchers three times in an inning to gain a nearly-non-existent platoon advantage. What I’m saying is, Tony La Russa jokes would be able to live on, and I find that to be really important, personally speaking.

As we’ve previously mentioned, Torre has a chance to join in one of the groups looking to get in on the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers. His comment:

“I am so appreciative of the chance the Commissioner gave me to see the game from a different perspective by working for Major League Baseball, especially during such a great time for our sport.  I have made this decision because of a unique chance to join a group that plans to bid for the Dodgers.  After leaving the field, this job was an incredible experience, one that I enjoyed very much.  I want to thank the Commissioner and all of my colleagues over the last year, particularly the members of the Baseball Operations group and the Major League Umpires.”

He doesn’t identify the group in the press release, but he has been linked with several, most notably one led by real estate developer Rick Caruso.  Whichever group gets him, you have to think that Torre’s close relationship with Bud Selig and the league office would make life easier in the approval process.

UPDATE: Multiple outlets have confirmed that Torre is, in fact, joining Caruso’s bid.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.