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Giants CEO Larry Baer suspended through July 1

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On March 1, San Francisco Giants CEO Baer was caught on video having a loud, public argument with his wife during which he tried to rip a cell phone out of her hands, which caused her to tumble off of her chair and to the ground as she screamed “help me!” After a couple of false-start statements in which he seemed to dismiss and diminish the incident, Baer released a second solo statement, apologizing to his wife, children and the Giants organization and saying he would “do whatever it takes to make sure that I never behave in such an inappropriate manner again.”

On March 4, Baer stepped away from the Giants, taking “personal time” and relinquishing his CEO role, at least temporarily. Today, as expected, Major League Baseball has weighed in.

Baer has been suspended without pay through July 1. The current leave of absence, which commenced on March 4, will be converted to an unpaid suspension. During the period of his suspension, Baer shall have no involvement in the operations of the Giants. The Giants will be operated by an interim control person appointed by the ownership group in consultation with Rob Manfred. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that, after his suspension, Baer may return as CEO but will likely not be re-designated as the MLB control person, which means he will not be the person to whom baseball operations staff answers and who reports to Major League Baseball on behalf of the Giants.

Baer will likewise be required to undergo an evaluation by an expert to determine an appropriate treatment and counseling plan.

Rob Manfred issued the following statement:

“At my direction, the Department of Investigations conducted an investigation into the March 1, 2019 video-recorded incident involving Larry Baer.  I also personally met with Mr. Baer.  Based on my review of the results of the investigation, I have concluded that Mr. Baer’s conduct was unacceptable under MLB policies and warrants discipline.  In determining the appropriate level of discipline, I find that Mr. Baer should be held to a higher standard because as a leader he is expected to be a role model for others in his organization and community.  Based on my conversation with Mr. Baer, it is clear that he regrets what transpired and takes responsibility for his conduct.”

Earlier this month I detailed Major League Baseball’s history of disciplining owners. As discussed in that post, it’s a tricky business to suspend owners, as they don’t typically rely on salaries the way players do, thus it’s hard to distinguish a suspension from a vacation. Not that the Giants’ CEO position is likely to be a low-paid one. Which is to say that, while this may not be as relatively painful for Baer as it might be for a player, it’s likewise not painless. How severe one considers the discipline is likely a subjective matter.

Nationals sign George Kontos to minors deal

George Kontos
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The Nationals selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from the Atlantic League Long Island Ducks, per an official announcement on Saturday. The right-hander has been assigned to Triple-A Fresno, but could still make his season debut sometime before the first half of the season draws to a close.

Kontos, 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since he took a handful of back-to-back-to-back gigs with the Pirates, Indians, and Yankees in 2018. He inked a minor league pact with the Cubs over the offseason, but failed to break camp with the team and was subsequently released in mid-April. He turned in seven strong innings for the Ducks since then, allowing one run and one walk and striking out six of 27 batters in six appearances.

Last year, the veteran reliever posted a combined 4.39 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, and 5.1 SO/9 over 26 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his career-best numbers in four years, he may still provide some valuable depth for the club, whose bullpen ranks 10th best in the league with a cumulative 4.59 ERA and 5.9 fWAR so far in 2019.