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.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.

Masahiro Tanaka throws off mound for first time since October elbow surgery

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According to the Associated Press — via Chad Jennings of The Journal News — Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw off a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow last October.

The throwing session took place in New York, and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild later told the media in Tampa that all of the reports he heard were good.

Tanaka might be behind some of the Yankees’ other pitchers when spring training officially begins, but he should be ready for the start of the 2016 regular season.

The 27-year-old native of Japan posted a 3.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 139/27 K/BB ratio across 154 innings last season for New York. He owns a 3.16 ERA (123 ERA+) in 290 1/3 innings since becoming a major leaguer in 2014.

Tanaka is still pitching with a partially-torn ligament in his right elbow that could eventually require Tommy John reconstructive surgery. His surgery last October was of the arthroscopic variety and simply removed bone spurs.

Bud Selig to teach a class at Arizona State law school

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Before Bud Selig ultimately retired, he had a couple of false start retirement announcements only to have the owners beg him to sign on for one more term. In one of those false starts he talked about how the University of Wisconsin had set up an office for him in the history department and that he’d be doing some research and teaching a class now and again. And he has, in fact, taught some one-off seminars at Wisconsin’s law school and the like.

Now something a little more permanent along those lines is in the works for The Greatest Commissioner in Baseball History. The Arizona Republic reports that Selig will join the Sports Law and Business program at Arizona State University’s law school where he will teach and advise as well as start up a speakers series in which he will bring in high-powered guests. No word on how many speakers will talk about big, important historical sports law cases like, say collusion in baseball, which was orchestrated by an ownership class in the mid-to-late 80s, of which Bud Selig was far and away the most influential member. That could get sort of awkward, I suppose.

Either way, it’s a good way to keep busy. I mean, that’s what it has to be as he’s not hurting for cash, what with the obscene $6 million severance package the owners gave him to, I dunno, not give interviews about bad stuff that happened back in the day like Fay Vincent does all the time. Stuff like collusion. Maybe he gets the $6 million for some other purpose. Who can say, really? It’s never made any sort of sense otherwise.

Anyway, good luck in Tempe, Bud. Maybe I’ll stop by your office at ASU when I’m there next month — I always stay in Tempe — and we can chew the fat or climb that butte with the big A on it or something. First round at Four Peaks afterward is on me.

White Sox sign first baseman Travis Ishikawa

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First baseman Travis Ishikawa has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox that includes an invitation to spring training.

Ishikawa was previously reported to have a minor-league deal with the Mariners last month, but the signing was never finalized. Now he joins the White Sox, who have Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche ahead of him on the first base/designated hitter depth chart.

Ishikawa had some big moments for the Giants in the 2014 playoffs, but he’s a 32-year-old journeyman with a lifetime .255 batting average and .712 OPS in 488 games as a big leaguer.

It’s possible the White Sox could keep him around as a bench bat and backup first baseman/left fielder, but Ishikawa seems more likely to begin the season at Triple-A.