Successor in place? Rob Manfred named Chief Operating Officer of MLB

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Takeaways: (1) Bud Selig is still leaving, which marks the longest he’s ever stuck with a retirement decision before; and (2) Rob Manfred is likely his successor given this move:

Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig has begun the transition process in preparation for his retirement in January 2015 by appointing Robert D. Manfred, Jr. as the new Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball, he announced today.  The promotion is effective immediately.

Manfred, who has worked for Major League Baseball since 1998, most recently served as Executive Vice President for Economics & League Affairs, responsible for major economic matters such as revenue sharing and the debt service rule, as well as franchise-specific matters involving the 30 Major League Clubs.

According to the press release, this gives Manfred day-to-day control of Major League Baseball operations while Selig remains the final decision maker and deals with the larger matters before the league.

Ultimately it is up to the owners, not Bud Selig, to name the next commissioner. But with this move Selig is making it clear who he wants it to be.

Report: Pirates to convert JB Shuck into two-way player

JB Shuck
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Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.

Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.

Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.