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The Padres create a “Selig Hall of Fame Plaza” outside of Petco Park for some reason

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I’ve been pretty out front in arguing that Bud Selig’s tenure as Commissioner of Baseball has been a successful one. At least (a) if you measure him by what his actual job is and not what you wish it was; and (b) if you measure him against his predecessors.

But even if you do that and even if, like me, you come to the conclusion that Selig has been a success, it’s not like success as Commissioner is the sort of thing that the masses are likely to celebrate. The Padres seem to have missed that:

On yet another sun-kissed day in paradise, the Padres honored Selig with a dedication ceremony of the Selig Hall of Fame Plaza at Petco Park, which sits behind the Western Metal Supply Building, next to 13 palm trees, waving gently in the breeze during the 20-minute ceremony . . . the area will serve as a home to the Padres Hall of Fame and eventually statues in the plaza to honor Padres greats as well as a plaque to honor Selig, not just for his overall achievements to baseball during his 22-year tenure as Commissioner but the specific accomplishment of helping to keep baseball afloat in San Diego.

The Padres, it seems, have the same disconnect regarding Selig that fans who think he’s awful do: they think he’s a leader of of people apart from 30 baseball owners. They’re treating him like a statesman or a political figure when, in fact, he’s the head of a board of directors. A CEO of a business. A business that, to be fair, a lot of us patronize, but which in terms of revenues is not all that far north of the Dollar Tree stores. I don’t think Bob Sasser, the CEO of Dollar Tree, Inc., is getting plazas named after him on the sidewalk out side any Dollar Tree outlets these days.

Just another example of the weird relationship between sports and the public. A relationship in which sports are treated like public institutions and their leaders are somehow considered something other than business people. The same thing that goes into making a public plaza honoring Bud Selig is what goes into governments and tax payers giving them money to build ballparks or courts immunizing them from the same laws every other business has to follow. This impulse has always baffled me.

Let us praise Bud Selig for the things he has done. And let him have his statue in Milwaukee because, after all, he did bring baseball to Milwaukee. But let us have perspective too. He’s an executive. He’s not an athlete people loved to watch like Tony Gwynn. He’s not a war hero like Ted Williams. He’s not a statesman like some mayor, president or governor. He’s an executive of a moderately-sized business. Nothing more. Why he gets a plaza in San Diego is beyond me.

Report: Cardinals are scouting Cuban outfielder Luis Robert

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.

There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.

Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.

Cubs extend Pedro Strop through 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Pedro Strop #46 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game One of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.

Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.

The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.

Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.