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.
Athletics pitcher Chris Bassitt will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on Friday, MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports. He was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament over the weekend, so this news doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
Bassitt, 27, is certainly out for the remainder of the 2016 season and will likely miss a sizable portion of the 2017 season as well. The right-hander made five starts for the A’s to begin the season, but put up an ugly 6.11 ERA with a 23/14 K/BB ratio in 28 innings.
Jesse Hahn took Bassitt’s spot in the Athletics’ starting rotation. Hahn is expected to start next on Saturday versus the Orioles.
Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer press is reporting that the Twins have placed pitchers Tommy Milone and Casey Fien on waivers. Berardino adds that Fien would be able to reject a demotion to the minors if he passes through waivers, but Milone could not. Milone and Fien are only a part of what’s been ailing the 8-20 Twins.
Milone, 29, was solid out of the rotation for the Twins last season, but the same can’t be said of his start to the 2016 season. The lefty has a 5.79 ERA with a 19/7 K/BB ratio over four starts and one relief appearance. He was taken out of the Twins’ rotation following his final start in April.
Fien, 32, was also dependable for the Twins in previous years, but has had a rocky 2016 thus far. The right-hander has yielded 12 runs on 21 hits and three walks with 12 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.
Milone will be eligible for his third and final year of arbitration after the season after earning $4.5 million this season. Fien has two more years of arbitration eligibility left — his third and fourth — and is earning $2.275 million this year.
Free agent starter Kyle Lohse is throwing for interested teams at the University of California, Irvine, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports.
Lohse, 37, remains unsigned into baseball’s second month on the heels of last season’s 5.85 ERA and 108/43 K/BB ratio over 152 1/3 innings. Although Lohse was quite good in the four seasons prior, teams are understandably reluctant to bank on pitchers in their late-30’s.
The Orioles, Tigers, and Reds have had reported interest in Lohse in recent months.
Anthony Salamone of the Morning Call reports that Majestic Athletic employees plan to protest at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA on Friday night. The employees are protesting Majestic’s owner VF Corporation’s attempt to undercut wages and medical benefits. VF Corporation acquired Majestic in February 2007.
Coca-Cola Park is home to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate. Majestic has manufacturing facilities in Easton, PA, which is less than a half-hour from Coca-Cola Park. The IronPigs, as well as all 30 Major League Baseball teams, wear uniforms manufactured by Majestic.
Corporations affiliated with Major League Baseball taking advantage of employees isn’t anything new. Last year, when protests over police violence disrupted the Orioles’ schedule, some employees with the Orioles and Aramark almost lost out on multiple days of pay.