Joe Torre rejoins Major League Baseball

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Joe Torre spent a year in the league office of Major League Baseball, handing out discipline to players, dealing with postponements in the playoffs and pretending to supervise umpires while really doing nothing to fix bad umpiring all. Then he quit to try to buy the Dodgers.

That didn’t work and, Major League Baseball just announced, Torre is back in the fold:

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that Joe Torre has rejoined Major League Baseball as Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations … Torre originally joined Major League Baseball in February of 2011, overseeing areas that include Major League Operations, Umpiring, On-Field Operations and On-Field Discipline.  In the capacity to which he is returning, Torre serves as the Office of the Commissioner’s primary liaison to the general managers and field managers of the 30 Major League Clubs regarding all baseball and on-field matters.

I guess it’s a different job than his old one. But he’s still probably gonna be mad when he gets back to his office and finds out that, right after he left, someone took his stapler, his desk chair and that ergonomic keyboard that he really had to pull some strings to get.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?