Major League Baseball appoints J. Thomas Schieffer “Monitor” of the Dodgers

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I was wondering what the title of the person baseball chose to run the Dodgers would be. I liked “Lord Protector,” but figured that wouldn’t fly.  “Trustee” seemed cool, but that may suggest some legal duties to the team and its stakeholders that baseball would rather not have.

They have settled on “Monitor,” which is rather passive. But it’s also a “Crisis on Infinite Earths” shoutout, so that’s cool. Not that Bud Selig had that in mind because that would be too impossibly cool for words.

Anyway, here’s the official statement:

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that he has appointed J. Thomas Schieffer, the former president of the Texas Rangers, as the Monitor of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise.  Schieffer will represent the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball in the oversight of the day-to-day operations, business and finances of the Dodgers and all of the franchise’s related entities.

Schieffer, an investor in the ownership group headed by George W. Bush and Rusty Rose that purchased the Rangers in 1989, was the club president from 1991-1999 and the franchise’s general partner from November 1994 until June 1998.  The Fort Worth native was the club’s partner in charge of ballpark development in advance of the 1994 opening of The Ballpark in Arlington.  The Rangers won their first three American League West titles (1996, 1998-1999) in club history in the years during Schieffer’s tenure.

I know some people wanted Peter O’Malley or someone with a history with the Dodgers to come on board, but that never made much sense.  The warm fuzzies the fans want have to come from the eventual long term owner, not the caretaker.  At the same time, baseball needs someone to make hard decisions and prepare the team for ultimate sale, and someone with a former connection to the team wouldn’t be the best choice.

For what it’s worth, Schieffer was the Ambassador to Japan and Australia during the Bush Administration. He is also the younger brother of Bob Schieffer of CBS News. For a time he was in the Texas gubernatorial race last year as a Democrat, which is strange considering how long he worked for Bush with both the Rangers and in government. But hey, strange bedfellows and all of that.

No matter what you can say about him, his resume suggests competence. And competence is something that the Los Angeles Dodgers desperately need.

Twins designate Phil Hughes for assignment

AP Photo/Ron Schwane
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Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.

Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.

Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.

Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.