Sounds like MLB is blaming lobbyists for Hyde-Smith donation

Rob Manfred
Getty Images

As I mentioned in the earlier post today, what vexes me most about this whole Cindy Hyde-Smith donation fiasco is MLB’s poor response to it. The explanations for the donation have been piecemeal and less-than-explanatory thus far. My sense is that it’s because, as of this morning, MLB didn’t really have a satisfactory person to blame and no easy way to say, with its usual sort of comment, that it was sorry, etc. etc. I mean, when a donation is made from the “Commissioners Office PAC,” the world of people who could’ve bungled it is . . . small and important.

Commissioner Rob Manfred just took a step in the direction of placing blame, however. He’s blaming MLB’s lobbyists. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic was at an appearance Manfred made in New York a few minutes ago and passes on his comments:

MLB has had its own lobbying outfit in D.C. for over two years. It also retains the law firm BakerHostetler in Washington to serve as its PAC treasurer and, it would appear, to handle some lobbying duties as well (the in-house lobbyist for MLB is a former BakerHostetler attorney too).

It’s quite plausible, I will note, that the lobbyists were acting on their own and that Manfred did not know about the donation or appreciate the significance of it until after the firestorm hit. Which may absolve him of the specific donation in this case, but which says less-than-flattering things about how Major League Baseball approaches its political operations and the amount of oversight it exercises. I mean, if you’re going to “always *always* embrace” a certain set of political values, you had best make sure you’re embracing them in ways that matter.

For what it’s worth, I have reached out to both Major League Baseball and to BakerHostetler with some specific questions about all of this. We’ll see what answers we get. At the very least, I expect MLB to issues a more thorough statement today.

Report: Mike Clevinger agrees to 1-year deal with White Sox

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox bolstered their rotation, agreeing to a one-year contract with right-hander Mike Clevinger, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was subject to a successful physical.

The 31-year-old Clevinger went 7-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 23 games, including 22 starts, for San Diego this year. He missed the 2021 season after he had Tommy John surgery.

Chicago is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2022 season, when it went 81-81 and finished 11 games back of surprising AL Central champion Cleveland. Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa stepped down in October and Pedro Grifol was hired on Nov. 1.

The White Sox got a big lift from Johnny Cueto this year, but the 36-year-old right-hander is a free agent after going 8-10 with a 3.35 ERA in 25 appearances. Clevinger slots into a rotation that likely will include Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech.

The move puts the 6-foot-4 Clevinger back in the AL Central after he made his major league debut with Cleveland in 2016. He went 42-22 with a 3.20 ERA in four-plus seasons with Cleveland before he was traded to San Diego in a multiplayer deal in August 2020.

Clevinger was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth round of the 2011 amateur draft. He was traded to Cleveland in 2014.

Clevinger is 51-30 with a 3.39 ERA in 128 career big league games. He also has 694 strikeouts in 656 2/3 innings.