Bud Selig

Bud Selig approves Marlins-Blue Jays blockbuster citing “plausible baseball judgment”

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Commissioner Bud Selig has signed off on the blockbuster Marlins-Blue Jays trade one week after Miami agreed to send Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto for Adeiny Hechavarria, Yunel Escobar, Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis, Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick, and Anthony Desclafani.

There was some speculation that Selig might reject the deal, but there was never much precedent for that–at least not during Selig’s tenure as commissioner–and dragging it out as long as he did perhaps represents the most he would realistically do to display his unhappiness with the Marlins’ latest firesale.

In approving the trade Selig stressed that he “carefully reviewed the proposed transaction” with the help of many veteran baseball officials and cited “plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs.”

And then he seemingly took a little jab at the Marlins, saying: “It is, of course, up to the clubs involved to make the case to their respective fans that this transaction makes sense and enhances the competitive position of each, now or in the future.”

Yeah, good luck with that. Here’s the last part of Selig’s lengthy statement:

I am sensitive to the concerns of the fans of Miami regarding this trade, and I understand the reactions I have heard since Tuesday. Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities and I fully understand that the Miami community has done its part to put the Marlins into a position to succeed with beautiful new Marlins Park.  Going forward, I will continue to monitor this situation with the expectation that the Marlins will take into account the sentiments of their fans, who deserve the best efforts and considered judgment of their club.  I have received assurances from the ownership of the Marlins that they share these beliefs and are fully committed to build a long-term winning team that their fans can be proud of.

On a related note, “plausible baseball judgment” is a phrase we should all make sure to use constantly for the rest of our lives.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images
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The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.

Nationals acquire closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 20, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images
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The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.

Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.

With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.

Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.

Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.

The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.