Bud Selig will get a $6 million a year pension. Which is obscene.

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Buster Olney reports that Bud Selig will get $6 million a year in annual compensation after he steps down as MLB commissioner next month.

Which is utterly insane.

Nothing personal to Selig, but this is a completely gratuitous parachute for a guy who has made, like, $100 million in salary alone and who, after he retires, will perform basically zero duties for Major League Baseball. He will not be “an ambassador” or anything like that. Baseball has hundreds of better ones in former players and managers. He will not serve in some advisory role of any substance, as doing so will only undermine a successor whose biggest challenge, as it is, is to gain the confidence of the owners. No, Selig is going to get that $6 million a year for doing jack squat.

Meanwhile, minor leaguers are paid sub-minimum wages, most front office staff are paid far below market rates and every worthy charity Major League Baseball supports could use the money a damn well bit more than Selig can.

But this isn’t just about Selig. Indeed, it’s nothing personal against him. By all accounts he’s a nice and thoughtful man who will spend his retirement well, teaching, studying and writing about history and enjoying baseball games. He’s a true fan and he has made no secret of his scholarly disposition and ambitions. I’m sure he’ll find some good uses for that money.

What makes no sense, however, is how often we see these sorts of payouts to former business leaders — even disgraced ones — and no one seems to pay them any mind, no one seems to question them and no one ever even bothers to attemp to justify them. Indeed, we just accept them as part of the business landscape. As if there is no other way things could be done and is if it’s not obscene in and of itself.

The closest we’ll hear to some justification is some weak case that a business has to do this sort of thing in order to attract future leaders. Which is nonsense, of course. It’s not as if Rob Manfred is going to quit tomorrow and go work as a Wal-Mart greeter because he only has tens of millions in salary coming to him as opposed to tens of millions and a sweet pension 20 years from now. Major League Baseball — a business whose very essence is about paying office employees (and players when they can get away with it) way, way, way below their actual worth because the allure of being close to baseball allows it to do so — is not going to lack for quality leadership if they don’t hand out golden parachutes.

Of course, no one will hold them to account for this. We live in a country that doesn’t bat an eye at millions paid to the executive class for literally doing nothing while we neglect working people and the poor and, in some cases, attack them for taking handouts that amount to a few hundred dollars a year. They’re “deadbeats” for demanding a living wage or needing some help feeding their children. They’re communists if they want to organize in order to improve their conditions. But Bud Selig is a hero who deserves that money and will be lionized even more than he already has been.

It says a lot about us as a country that this sort of thing happens. In this particular case it says that the 30 owners who approved this either think a man deserves an insane amount of money to sleep late and build ships in bottles in his retirement or they believe that, in reality, $6 million is not all that much money to give a person of a certain type.

I’m not sure which is worse.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.