Bud Selig

A-Rod is going to try to put bud Selig and Randy Levine on the stand, but don’t count on it happening

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Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports that, when the arbitration resumes next week, Alex Rodiguez’s lawyers are going to try to put Bud Selig and Yankees president Randy Levine on the stand. MLB would probably fight that, though:

MLB would try to block most of the bold-name witnesses from having to testify, particularly Selig. It would contend MLB COO Rob Manfred, who is MLB’s representative on the three-person panel overseeing the hearing, spoke on behalf of the league and its investigation and subjected himself to cross-examination by Rodriguez’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina.

Like any other case, the decision should come down to whether or not Selig and Levine have relevant evidence. In a legal context, though, relevant doesn’t mean “interesting” or “headline grabbing.” It means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.

I seriously question whether Selig has any relevant evidence to provide. He’s the boss, sure, but that doesn’t mean he has actual specific information that cannot be better obtained from other witnesses, such as Rob Manfred or MLB investigators. Bud puts things in motion. Other people do the work and they report it back to him. Anything he has that relates specifically to the drugs Alex Rodriguez took or didn’t take and the Biogenesis investigation in general was told to him.

Of course A-Rod is trying to put MLB on trial here. He’s trying to argue that the whole investigation was cooked up as a means of Selig doing P.R. damage control or saving his legacy or what have you and that, as a result, he should get to grill Selig about it all. Same with Levine and the Yankees trying to end his career and save millions. We’ve heard A-Rod’s attorneys argue this in public before.

And there may be elements of truth to that. I personally think that, even though Biogenesis and A-Rod’s drug use wasn’t “cooked up” by Selig, he’s certainly trying to take advantage of it as a means of putting an end to the PED saga. And I am certain that the Yankees would love to be out from under A-Rod’s contract.  But I seriously doubt that the arbitrator is going to let A-Rod try that case. That’s one for the historians and, if we really stretch things, a federal court to later weigh in on in the event such motives caused MLB and the Yankees to violate A-Rod’s rights. It’s not what this arbitration is about. Or at least what it should be about.

Upshot: don’t bank on Selig getting cross-examined.

Pitchers to receive new visor-like protective headgear

Headgear
MLB/MLBPA
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For the past few years MLB, the MLBPA and cap and helmet manufacturers have been working on various models of protective headgear for pitchers. Some of the models have been unworkable, some of them have not met the satisfaction of pitchers and others have, well, looked a little odd. At present the only pitcher who routinely wears any headgear is Alex Torres, who wears the bulky isoBLOX helmet.

Now, however, there is a new option. And, as you can see above it’s a bit different than what we’ve seen before. It’s more or less like a visor, which will have a nylon top on them to give a full cap-like appearance. The ear flaps will be lefty and righty-specific, given that righties are more likely to be hit on the right and lefties on the left given their follow-throughs.

The new caps will be given out to players this spring and, like the old ones, will be used or not used at the choice of the players. You can read more about the new helmet at ESPN’s Outside the Lines report.

Brewers sign reliever Blaine Boyer

Blaine Boyer
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Right-hander Blaine Boyer, who spent last season with the Twins, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Brewers that includes an invitation to spring training.

Boyer was also on a minor-league deal last spring when he snagged a spot in the Twins’ season-opening bullpen and he stayed there all year, posting a 2.49 ERA in 65 innings. His secondary numbers weren’t quite so impressive, particularly his managing just 33 strikeouts compared to 19 walks, but the 34-year-old journeyman is a decent middle relief option.

Boyer has a 4.22 career ERA, including a 2.91 ERA in 105 innings since returning from injuries in 2014.

The Padres have been shopping Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp
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Robert Murray of BaseballEssential.com reports that the Padres have tried to trade Matt Kemp.

Shocker given that he’s 31 and is owed $21.75 million over each of the next four seasons. Still, if the Padres eat some cash someone may bite. Kemp started slowly in 2015 but was solid in the second half. He finished with a line of .265/.312/.443, 23 home runs, and 100 RBI in 648 plate appearances. That last number is key because the once-fraglie Kemp has been healthy for two years now. Someone could use that level of production.

Just not at those prices.

The Braves and Fulton County are fighting over a Hank Aaron statue

FILE- In this Nov. 12, 2013 file photo, a statue of Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron stands outside Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves pulled perhaps the most surprising move of the year. They announced after months of secret talks with Cobb County leaders plans to move to a suburban stadium and leave downtown where they’ve played since moving from Milwaukee in 1966. The impending Braves’ departure aside, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed managed to keep the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons happy. He agreed for the city to cover part of the construction costs for a new retractable-roof stadium to replace the Georgia Dome downtown. Both new stadiums are projected to open in 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Associated Press
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Divorce is hard. It’s hard on the kids and hard on your own emotions. Then, of course, there’s the fighting over money. Eventually you sort that stuff out too, but at some point you’ll come across something that cannot be divided between you and for which visitation schedules simply aren’t suitable.

Maybe it’s the family photo album. Maybe it’s that 60-year-old cast iron skillet which you got at that estate sale and which is perfectly seasoned and, oh God, you can’t imagine making fried chicken in anything else YOU GOT THE HOUSE, JENNY, MY GOD I GET TO KEEP THE SKILLET!!!

Um. Sorry. Got carried away there for a second. Where was I? Oh yes. Maybe it’s that statue you and your ex both love. You know, that one of the guy who hit 755 home runs and who has served as the face of your franchise for over 60 years:

For about three hours Wednesday, it looked like the statue of baseball hall of famer Hank Aaron would be staying in Atlanta.

The agency that owns Turner Field proudly announced it holds documents showing “the people of Atlanta and Fulton County” own the bronze, and that a deal had been struck with the Braves to keep the statue at Turner Field.

Then came a statement from the Braves saying, in effect: nuh huh. The statue, the team said, should go wherever the Hammer wants it.

And with those dueling press statements, the fate over one of Atlanta’s treasured sports landmarks remained in limbo, just as it has been since the day the Braves announced plans in late 2013 to move from downtown to Cobb County after the 2016 season.

The latest: Hank Aaron says he wants no part of the dispute and that the club and the city should solve it themselves. Which is absolutely the right move. And, frankly, kind of crappy of the Braves to throw it in Aaron’s lap in the first place. They’re the ones who, figuratively speaking, broke up the marriage by messing around with that younger, richer suitor after all. Now they’re trying to make Aaron either be a bad guy to Braves fans who attend games after 2016 and don’t get to see the statue or the city of Atlanta who would have yet another piece of their baseball history transplanted to the burbs? Forget that.

If I were Aaron I’d propose that we saw the thing in half. Then we’d see who values it more. I heard that approach has worked before.