“How is Jerry Reinsdorf a loser? Let me count the ways”


That’s the opener to Murray Chass’ excellent analysis of yesterday’s commissioner vote. An analysis which should be the blueprint for how one approaches issues relating to baseball’s owners and the game’s governance.

Chass takes issues — MAJOR issue — with the narrative which holds that Jerry Reinsdorf’s propping up of Tom Werner as a protest candidate in the commissioner race was somehow a “success.” He does so my noting just how awful and corrosive a force Reinsdorf has been for the game of baseball in his more than three-decades at the helm of the White Sox. And how his Werner gambit was a cynical little cherry on top of that crap sundae. But it was a failed gambit and, Chass argues, Reinsdorf’s final act of consequence in the game as a power broker.

Along the way Chass provides an excellent tick-tock of yesterday’s vote, talking about who voted for and against Manfred and why and how the situation developed. It’s must-reading if you’re interested in all of this.

And it is no surprise that it came from Murray Chass. While he has his issues as a baseball analyst — and while he and I have our many differences, occasionally on a personal level — there is no one better when it comes to talking about the dynamics of leadership in Major League Baseball and the issues which surround it. Chass has had the Lords of the Realm’s number for nearly 40 years and rarely is he wrong about their motivations. Unlike so many others who write on the topic, he has both institutional knowledge of baseball’s power structure and, given how baseball’s leaders have behaved for the past century or so, the good sense not to be reverent of these men or to give them the benefit of the doubt they have never, ever earned. There’s a tendency among many to treat people of high station otherwise. I’m glad Chass doesn’t.

Anyway, a great read. Go check it out.

Red Sox sign Christian Vazquez to three-year, $13.55 million extension

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The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.

The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.

Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.