Major League Baseball announces multiple league office promotions in key positions

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Major League Baseball issued a press release a little while ago about some promotions and hires in the front office. It’s news most fans will likely ignore but which will likely have big implications for the league given the importance of the positions being filled. The rundown:

  • Kathleen Torres, who had served as Senior Vice President, has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Finance. She will report to MLB’s new CFO Bob Starkey;

 

  • Mike Mellis, who had served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for MLB Advanced Media will now be MLB’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel. MLB’s entire legal staff will be consolidated under Mellis;
  • Lara Pitaro Wisch will assume Mellis’ duties with MLB Advanced Media as Senior Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs;
  • Steven Gonzalez, who had served as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Labor Relations, will now serve as MLB’s Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Labor & Human Resources.  He will now handle all oversight for the Human Resources and Recruiting Departments of the Commissioner’s Office and will represent the Commissioner’s Office in legal and labor relations matters involving players, umpires and league employees.;
  • Bernadette McDonald, who had served as Vice President for Broadcasting Operations, has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Broadcasting.  She will oversee the Broadcasting Department and will report directly to Chief Operating Officer Tony Petitti; and
  • Chris Park who had previously worked as Vice President, Labor Economics & Deputy General Counsel for Major League baseball, will return to MLB in the same role.

Again, you may go years not hearing these names, but the functions they fill are all integral to MLB’s business and operational concerns and many make decisions which show up on the field in one form or another.

Key takeaways: earlier this offseason many other functions previously handled separately by MLBAM and the league office were consolidated either under MLBAM or were taken over by MLBAM people. This shows that Rob Manfred sees the value and experience of the folks from the digital realm and doesn’t think of them as being “the online folks” out on some island away from the baseball people, as some have told me the Selig regime considered them to be.

Also: three women were just promoted to the level of Executive VP or above. That seems pretty significant to me. Especially in an industry as male dominated as sports is.