Press release from MLB on the officiating front. The league announced today that seven umpires have been named to the full-time Major League Umpiring staff. In addition, as another part of this season’s expansion of instant replay, the Office of the Commissioner has appointed Justin Klemm as Director of Instant Replay.
Klemm, a former minor league umpire and minor league umpire administrator, will report to Peter Woodfork, MLB’s Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations. Which I assume means Joe Torre will be relieved of even more uncomfortable press conferences when things go screwy. Klemm will be based at the headquarters of MLB Advanced Media, which will serve as the Replay Command Center.
Here is the rundown of the seven new umps, all of whom have had callups as replacement/fill-in umps in the past. And one of whom served as Nick Carroway’s love interest in “The Great Gatsby”:
- Jordan Baker – Baker, 32, has been an umpire in the Minor Leagues since the 2005 season. In 2013, he worked in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Baker worked his first game in the Majors on June 24, 2012 and overall, he has been a part of 199 regular season Major League games.
- Lance Barrett – Barrett, 29, has been a Minor League umpire since 2003. He is now the youngest full-time Major League Umpire. In 2013, he worked in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Barrett debuted in the Majors on October 1, 2010 and he has worked 237 big-league games.
- Cory Blaser – Blaser, 32, has been an umpire in the Minor Leagues since the 2002 season. In 2013, he worked in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Blaser made his Major League debut on April 24, 2010 and he has worked 346 Major League games.
- Mike Estabrook – Estabrook, 37, has umpired professionally since 1999. In 2013, he was on the staff of the Triple-A International League. Estabrook’s first Major League game was on May 7, 2006, and he has been assigned to 698 Major League games.
- Mike Muchlinski – Muchlinski, 36, has been a Minor League umpire since 1999. In 2013, he worked in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Muchlinski made his Major League debut on April 24, 2006, and he has worked 569 Major League games.
- David Rackley – Rackley, 32, has been an umpire in the Minor Leagues since the 2001 season. In 2013, he was on the staff of the Triple-A International League. Rackley had his first Major League game on August 13, 2010, and he has been on the field for 165 Major League games overall.
- D.J. Reyburn – Reyburn, 37, has umpired in the Minors since 2000. In 2013, he worked in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He has worked 440 Major League games since his debut on June 10, 2008.
All hail our new replay overlords. All hail our new human elements.
From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Orioles “like” free agent starter Yovani Gallardo and “have reached out to him” to gauge his interest in coming to Baltimore and what that might cost.
Gallardo rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Rangers earlier this month and so his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t hurt his bottom line all that much.
The 29-year-old right-hander posted a solid 3.42 ERA in 184 1/3 innings (33 starts) this past season for Texas and he pitched well in his one ALDS start.
Heyman reported a few weeks ago that the Diamondbacks are interested, and the Cubs, Blue Jays, and Dodgers were tied to him just ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
David Price has expressed a desire to return to Toronto, where he finished out the 2015 season, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes Wednesday that the Blue Jays “are not expected to be a major factor in his free agency.”
The teams that should be considered serious suitors, per Rosenthal, are the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Red Sox — all deep-pocketed teams looking to contend in 2016. Money is apparently the issue for the Blue Jays, who are currently owned by Rogers Communications.
Price registered an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, and 225/47 K/BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings (32 starts) this past season between the Tigers and Jays, finishing second in the American League Cy Young Award race behind Dallas Keuchel of the Astros.
The 30-year-old left-hander is probably looking for a six- or seven-year contract worth more than $25 million per season. He is represented by agent Bo McKinnis.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.
Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.
“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”
The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.