Bud Selig

Bud Selig on the Oakland Coliseum: “it’s a pit”


Bud Selig was on John Feinstein’s radio show. Unlike yesterday, today Feinstein left the opinion-offering to others. Good move! Selig was asked about a lot of things. Two of note. First the A’s stadium situation. Here’s what he said about the Colisuem

“It’s a pit,” Selig said. “It reminds me of old County Stadium and Shea Stadium. We need to deal with that. I’ve had a committee working on it for two or three years, and there’s no question we’re going to have to solve that problem.”

When? Well, there’s a lawsuit and that committee’s agenda is about as barren as the Mojave, but he’ll solve it, by gum.  I wish I thought the San Jose lawsuit had a better chance of succeeding and thus the antitrust exemption scuttled, but I’m highly skeptical. When it gets dismissed it’ll be back in Selig’s court and I suppose we’ll be waiting around forever again.

The second topic: a generic softball about Hank Aaron being the true home run king. It’s a topic I hate because it’s just designed for people to offer their judgment about PEDs. Which is fine as far as it goes, but it’s not so fine when their opinion of such matters causes them to pretend that certain things never happened. Note: MLB still recognizes Barry Bonds as the home run champ. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to say that Bonds was better than Aaron in your view if you don’t want to. But you can’t wish away the actual records as matters of fact.

That said, I like Selig’s answer:

“Henry Aaron and I, as you know, have been extremely close friends for 58 years now; it’s hard to believe,” Selig said. “I believe he’s the greatest player of my generation. I saw him – I wish everybody could have seen him in the ’50s when he was young and not trying to pull everything. He was unbelievable to watch. Unbelievable. He’s a man of class, a man of dignity. He’s represented our sport beautifully, and his carer is legendary. I’m not going to say any more on that. You can figure out from my answer, I’m sure.”

Say what you want about Selig — and there’s a lot to say — but I like when he talks about this stuff because when he does it he sounds like a baseball fan. And he is a baseball fan. No matter what he’s done or not done, you can tell he loves the game. That, even if he’s the commissioner and views these things differently than I do, I could at least sit and have a baseball debate with him about it rather than have him be some joyless Bowie Kuhn type.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.