Mark Cuban tried a couple of times to get into the MLB owners’ club. He was rebuffed in his initial efforts and then outbid when he had a chance to purchase the Rangers in a bankruptcy auction. After that he seemed to wash his hands of the idea of buying a baseball team.
But he’s still a bit bitter about his dalliances with MLB. Last night he went on “The Tonight Show” and the topic of Alex Rodriguez’s suspension came up. Cuban, while acknowledging that A-Rod should be suspended, believes that MLB is changing the rules in midstream to give him too harsh a penalty. He went on to say that this is baseball’s M.O., as evidenced by how they treated him. And he didn’t mince words about it. Video below. Here’s the money quote, transcribed by The Honest Brew, who alerted me to all of this:
It’s basically become Bud Selig’s “mafia.” He runs it the way he wants to run it… When I was trying to buy the Rangers, it was an open auction. And I sat in there with my good hard-earned money trying to bid and they did everything possible to keep me from buying the team. They had lawyers in their trying to change the rules, they had people trying to put up more money… it was horrible!
I’ll defend MLB this much: the whole idea of an open auction is to get the most money, so the idea that they “had people trying to put up more money” comes off as a bit of a hollow complaint. Maybe there was a sense that the league was ganging up on him, I have no idea, but at the time Cuban was quoted as saying, basically, that he walked away from the auction because the money got too high for him.
The overall sentiment, though? Maybe “mafia” is too strong a word, but when you’re armed with an anti-trust exemption and your entire reign is built on the idea of building a consensus among mostly compliant owners, I have little doubt that Selig and his crew worked extra hard to make sure that Mark Cuban didn’t join the club.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.