Bud Selig takes Tony La Russa’s side on the Cueto/Greinke All-Star controversy

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This should not be terribly surprising given that La Russa and Selig have a pretty close relationship as far as these things go, but for what it’s worth, the Commissioner has La Russa’s back on the Zack Greinke and Johnny Cueto snubs:

“Well let me just say this, Tony will answer all questions about his team. But you look at the list of pitchers, and I went over that with Tony, and I think in the end there were a lot of pitchers available. And I think in the end, they picked their strongest staffs.

I guess I’m most curious about the “I went over that with Tony” line. Really? Selig goes over the All-Star rosters himself with the managers?  I can’t decide what I think of that. I sorta want to like it, and it certainly ties in with what we know of Selig’s genuine, almost fan-like interest in the sport he runs. But I’m also kind of surprised that he takes the time to do that.  Oh well.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.