Bud Selig has no problem with Jeter’s absence, says radical realignment not imminent, says other stuff

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Every year Bud Selig gives a big press conference on All-Star day. This year’s version just went down and, as usual, it was a rapid fire series of comments which pretty much set the official word of Major League Baseball on a ton of different topics. Highlights:

  • The complaints of some notwithstanding, Selig has no problem with Derek Jeter being away from the All-Star Game. Says he would have made the same choice in Jeter’s place and that there has been no player over the past 15 years he respects more than Jeter. If baseball blogs had the same standards of partisan political blogs I’d do a headline saying “Selig questions Jeter’s absence,” but since we’re better than that I think I’ll let it lie.
  • Selig said baseball would look at the rule which prohibits pitchers who threw on the Sunday before the All-Star Game to play in the game. Many have questioned this, inasmuch as Tuesday is often a bullpen session day for Sunday starters, so why not let them throw 20-25 pitches in the All-Star Game? Cole Hamels was complaining about this yesterday. Seems like some option should be involved for teams and pitchers.
  • Selig was asked about radical or massive realignment as many talked about a few weeks ago. He said there was nothing imminent on that, and generally downplayed it all, so I would guess it isn’t happening.
  • He said that the David Einhorn buy-in to the Mets is basically approved pending he and the Wilpons finishing the paperwork. Said it was a good deal for the Mets. Not sure what else he’d say.
  • Said that he had all kinds of things he’d like to say about the Frank McCourt litigation, but that he couldn’t. God, I know how that feels.
  • All but said that the 2013 All-Star Game will be in Citi Field, which is what everyone has basically known for a long time. I don’t get why baseball takes so long to formally announce this kind of thing.
  • He’s surprised by the Tampa Bay Rays’ low attendance this season and understands the concerns of Rays’ ownership. I would guess that if the Rays could figure out a way to move, Selig would support it.
  • At the same time, he totally dodged a question about the Oakland Athletics’ situation and the 28-month-long committee meeting that is holding up their future.
  • Selig “likes” tying home field advantage in the World Series to the All-Star Game. He probably also likes Miracle Whip on corned beef sandwiches.
  • When asked why they couldn’t just use the best record in the regular season to determine home field advantage for the World Series, Selig said “You can’t wait till end of the year.”  Which I guess means that the current system is totally rigged, because you don’t know which park will host the first game of the World Series until the LCSs are over now as it is. Troubling, or incoherent? You be the judge!
  • Selig said that he’s definitely retiring after the 2012 season like he has promised. I will believe it when I see it.
  • He said that there would be some sort of instant replay expansion, albeit limited. Likely on fair/foul calls.
  • He said that he likes the idea of using the DH in NL parks and letting pitchers bat in AL parks during interleague play. Really. Reverse rules. I’m not sure whose idea that is, but it’s … odd.

He said other stuff. Nothing radical of course because he’s Bud Selig, and that cuts both good and bad at varying times. But hey, at least it’s what we’re used to.

Nationals GM Rizzo won’t reveal length of Martinez’s new contract

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WASHINGTON — Dave Martinez spoke Saturday about managing the Washington Nationals for “many, many years” and over the “long term” and “quite some time,” thanks to his contract extension.

Sharing a table to a socially distanced degree with his manager on a video conference call to announce the new deal – each member of the duo sporting a 2019 World Series ring on his right hand – Nationals GM Mike Rizzo referred to the agreement’s “multiyear” nature, but repeatedly refused to reveal anything more specific in response to reporters’ questions.

“We don’t talk about terms as far as years, length and salaries and that type of thing. We’re comfortable with what we have and the consistency that we’re going to have down the road,” said Rizzo, who recently agreed to a three-year extension of his own. “That’s all we want to say about terms, because it’s private information and we don’t want you guys to know about it.”

When Martinez initially was hired by Rizzo in October 2017 – his first managing job at any level – the Nationals’ news release at the time announced that he was given a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year.

That 2021 option had not yet been picked up.

“The partnership that Davey and I have together, our communication styles are very similar. Our aspirations are similar, and kind of our mindset of how to obtain the goals that we want to obtain are similar. I think it’s a good match,” Rizzo said. “We couldn’t have hit on a more positive and enthusiastic leader in the clubhouse. I think you see it shine through even in the most trying times.”

The Nationals entered Saturday – Martinez’s 56th birthday – with a 23-34 record and in last place in the NL East, which Rizzo called “a disappointing season.” The team’s title defense was slowed by injuries and inconsistency during a 60-game season delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg threw just five innings because of a nerve issue in his pitching hand and players such as Starlin Castro, Sean Doolittle, Tanner Rainey, Adam Eaton and Carter Kieboom finished the year on the IL.

“This year, for me, we didn’t get it done. We had a lot of bumps in the road this year. But I really, fully believe, we’ve got the core guys here that we need to win another championship,” Martinez said. “I know Mike, myself, we’re going to spend hours and hours and hours trying to fill the void with guys we think can potentially help us in the future. And we’ll be back on the podium. I’m really confident about that.”

Rizzo was asked Saturday why the team announces contract lengths for players, as is common practice around the major leagues, but wouldn’t do so in this instance for Martinez.

“The reason is we don’t want anybody to know. That’s the reason,” Rizzo said, before asking the reporter: “How much do you make? How many years do you have?”

Moments later, as the back-and-forth continued, Rizzo said: “It’s kind of an individual thing with certain people. I don’t want you to know what I make or how many years I have. Davey doesn’t want you to know. And I think that it’s only fair … when people don’t want certain information out there, that we don’t give it.”

There were some calling for Martinez to lose his job last season when Washington got off to a 19-31 start. But Rizzo stood by his manager, and the team eventually turned things around, going 74-38 the rest of the way to reach the playoffs as an NL wild-card team.

The Nationals then beat the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals to reach the World Series, where they beat the Houston Astros in Game 7.

Washington joined the 1914 Boston Braves as the only teams in major league history to win a World Series after being 12 games below .500 during a season.

“Everything from Day 1 to where he’s gotten to now, he’s grown so much. He’s really become one of my favorite managers of all,” three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer said after helping Washington win Saturday’s opener of a doubleheader against the New York Mets. “Davey really understands how to manage a clubhouse, manage a team. We saw it in the postseason. He knows how to push the right buttons when everything is on the line.”