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Great Moments in Consistency: Rob Manfred Edition

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Commissioner Rob Manfred is down in Miami doing his usual MLB Jewel Event media availability.

The topics he’s asked at these pressers range all over the place, touching on all manner of things. In the next few hours you’ll hear quotes from him about pace of play, the Marlins sale and a dozen or two other pressing issues of the day. Most of the time he says . . . nothing. At least nothing of substance. He’s big on talking about how he hasn’t ruled this or that out or how he’s pleased or confident about the non-specific progress that is being made with, well, whatever. That’s what an experienced leader does. You can’t step into controversy if you don’t step at all.

He was asked about the Dodgers TV deal a little while ago, however, and there he stepped in it a bit. Specifically, he was asked about the continued inability of the majority of baseball fans in southern California to see Dodgers games due to the rights carriage impasse between the Dodgers/Spectrum/SportsNet LA on the one hand and rival cable providers on the other. Manfred:

That may be news to his predecessor, who did exactly that with the same team a few years back:

Selig’s involvement in the earlier situation was actually way deeper than merely getting involved in a TV deal. He did so in order to make McCourt’s ownership of the Dodgers untenable. To force him into bankruptcy and, eventually, to force him to sell the Dodgers. Along the way it disrupted Frank McCourt’s divorce settlement too. The only way Selig could’ve become more involved was if McCourt had minor children and Selig ruled on custody matters, naming himself their legal guardian and making them call him “Daddy.”

Which isn’t to criticize Selig. He was doing so because it was bad for the Dodgers and bad for baseball for Frank McCourt to own the team. Selig inserting himself in a club’s operations in the manner in which he did may have been unusual, but it was done in order to effect an outcome that, Selig would argue and most would agree, was in the best interests of Dodgers fans and the game.

In light of all of that, Manfred claiming that it’s not in his job description to get involved with the Dodgers TV deal is not accurate. It’s simply not in his interest. The current Dodgers ownership group remains in baseball’s good graces and the current Dodgers TV deal remains in its financial interests (it’s a LOT of money!). The fact that it is hostile to hundreds of thousands and maybe millions of Dodgers fans and the prospect of it eroding the Dodgers fan base over the long term is beside the point.

Manfred could, if he wanted to, insert himself here and exert some of his considerable influence to help broker a solution which would make Dodgers games available to more people. He just doesn’t want to. Which is fine. All leaders have interests and priorities. It’d just be better if he admitted it rather than pleading powerlessness.

Report: Blue Jays and Marco Estrada nearing agreement on contract extension

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.

Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.

J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.

Video: Jackie Bradley, Jr. robs Chris Davis of a home run

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Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.

This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.