Major League Baseball reorganizes its front office

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Major League Baseball announced this morning that it has reorganized the senior staff of the league office. It’ll break down like this:

  • Dan Halem will assume the title of Deputy Commissioner, Baseball Administration and will continue in his capacity as Chief Legal Officer. Halem will oversee MLB’s labor relations, baseball operations, all legal functions, human resources, diversity efforts and the Department of Investigations, among other areas;
  • Tony Petitti, who had been Chief Operating Officer, will assume the title of Deputy Commissioner, Business & Media and will manage all content and revenue-related operations. Petitti will oversee MLB’s marketing, broadcasting and media rights, MLB Network (MLBN), digital content, product development, youth programming and special events, among other areas;
  • Chris Park will assume the title of Executive Vice President, Product & Marketing, working closely with Petitti and managing all MLB digital consumer products, including the At Bat app and MLB.TV, among other areas;
  • Noah Garden will be Executive Vice President, Commerce, overseeing all domestic and international sales, licensing and sponsorship activities across MLB, MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) and MLBN, as well as ticketing through Tickets.com, and working closely with Petitti;
  • Chris Marinak will assume the title of Executive Vice President, Strategy, Technology & Innovation and will manage the technology organization, including all on-field technology (e.g., Replay and Statcast), strategic baseball initiatives and work with the Competition Committee;
  • Jason Gaedtke will continue as MLB’s Chief Technology Officer responsible for all technology initiatives, including software and data engineering, mobile app development and technology infrastructure;
  • Joe Torre will remain MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer;
  • Bob Starkey will remain MLB’s Chief Financial Officer & Senior Advisor and will now have direct oversight of all finance functions, including MLB, MLBAM and MLBN; and
  • Pat Courtney will remain MLB’s Chief Communications Officer and his responsibilities will include public relations, social responsibility, community affairs and charities (including the Baseball Assistance Team).

The big takeaway here is that Halem and Petitti — legal and business guys — are now deputy commissioners and that marketing, sales, and technology guys are all listed ahead of substantive baseball guys. Which makes perfect sense when you understand what the work of the league office actually entials.

Baseball is a business, folks. To the men who run it, it’s a business first, as is evidenced by their org chart.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.