UPDATE: Manfred’s election was just made official in a press conference. Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com has some quotes:
6:16 p.m. ET: Manfred ended up being elected unanimously, which is a positive thing from an optics perspective, even though there was some objection.
6:04 p.m. ET: After a long day of deliberations in Baltimore, MLB owners have finally voted in Rob Manfred as Bud Selig’s successor as MLB commissioner.
Manfred, 55, will be the 10th commissioner in MLB history. Selig, who has served as commissioner since 1992, will retire when his contract expires on January 25, 2015.
Manfred was one of three candidates at the start of today, along with MLB’s Executive Vice President of Business Tom Brosnan and Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. However, Brosnan dropped out of the race around midday. Manfred received 22 out of 30 votes in the balloting earlier this afternoon, leaving him one vote short of election, but the owners (likely with some serious convincing from Selig) were eventually able to bridge the gap and reach a consensus. Per the New York Daily News, the Blue Jays, Red Sox, White Sox, Nationals, Angels, Athletics, Diamondbacks, and Reds were the teams who initially backed Werner over Manfred.
Selig’s preferred successor, Manfred has been involved with baseball since 1987. He became MLB’s executive vice president for labor relations and human resources in 1998 before his role was expanded to include executive vice president of economics and league affairs in 2012. He was promoted the position of chief operating officer last September, reporting directly to Selig, a move which essentially signified that he was the heir apparent for the job. During his time with MLB, he has helped lead negotiations for three collective bargaining agreements (2002, 2006, and 2011) as well as the joint drug agreement.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.
The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.
In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.
According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.
McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.
The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.