Olney On Selig, MLBPA, Key Contract Situations

In Buster Olney's New Year's Day column (Insider link), the ESPN senior writer covered his ten top MLB storylines for the coming year. While I recommend a full read of the piece, here are a few of Olney's notes that are of particular interest from a transactional perspective:

  • Both MLB and the MLBPA face leadership questions owing to the announced retirement of commissioner Bud Selig and the untimely death of union chief Michael Weiner. Olney says that he has heard three possible scenarios regarding the commissioner's chair: first, that Selig could be enticed to stay on; second, that COO Rob Manfred will be the hand-picked successor; and third, that a new leader has yet to be chosen (and could be the subject of disagreement due to increasing unrest from middle- and small-market clubs). On the union side, Olney says that much remains unknown about how the leadership transition to Tony Clark will impact the organization's power structure and approach.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman is only under contract through the 2014 season, and Olney hints that his fate could be tied to the club's transition as it faces a "crossroad season" with aging star Derek Jeter. Across the country, a veritable "cold war" between the Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly will also be worth close attention, says Olney.
  • Meanwhile, several front offices are dealing with financial pressures and high expectations that could result in major changes if things don't break right. Olney lists the PhilliesRoyalsDiamondbacksOrioles, and Blue Jays as clubs that are facing high-stakes seasons.
  • Several key contract situations are reaching points of decision around the game. Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez of the Dodgers have been the subject of extension rumors. The Rays still have to decide how to proceed with ace David Price. And extension speculation is set to ramp up for the Tigers, who have cleared future payroll space but will soon need to chart a path on two of their best players in Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera. Finally, says Olney, Braves closer Craig Kimbrel is set to reach new heights in arbitration salary — indeed, his unique statline has already busted MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration model — that could force Atlanta to consider a trade.


15 Responses to Olney On Selig, MLBPA, Key Contract Situations Leave a Reply

  1. Karkat 2 years ago

    As valuable as Craig Kimbrel is to the Braves, it would certainly be with their time to see if they could get someone to over pay for him in a trade. Closers are replaceable, always.

    • Would need to find a team with the need for a closer and the cash to pay him. They’re probably better off midseason when some closers have faltered.

      • Tigers72 2 years ago

        The problem with that plan though is their is a huge market for closers and relievers this year and most teams have their closer need filled like the Tigers.

        • How is that the problem? By midseason, some of these closers will be seriously underperforming or injured. A contending team would naturally overpay in that instance.

        • Colin Christopher 2 years ago

          When you’re the best one on the market – and Kimbrel would be – it doesn’t matter if there is a huge market. It only takes one team with money and a need. Maybe Robertson isn’t the answer for the Yankees. Maybe Soria isn’t as effective after two TJ surgeries. Maybe age finally catches up with Joe Nathan in Detroit.

    • Seamaholic 2 years ago

      Funny thing about Kimbrel is, good as he is he probably doesn’t generate any significant talent in a trade. His value is mostly sucked up by his salary, and what is left (maybe 1-1.5 WAR) can be matched — or nearly so — by some young kid with a big arm. Only for the highest payroll teams, for whom an extra win can cost just about anything, is it worth it to acquire him. Another strange thing is that there is a decent chance his free agent salary will be less than his last arbitration award.

  2. Lefty_Orioles_Fan 2 years ago

    How is the Orioles front office facing a “High Stake” Season?
    Maybe from the Fans! However, how much power do we have?
    Angelos just gave Showalter and Duquette five year extensions!
    Plus, Angelos doesn’t care what the fans think! It’s all about him and him making money or holding onto his money!

    • johnsilver 2 years ago

      I would not like to see The Duke get ram rodded again after he did in Boston, regime change or not. Let them man have monetary assets for both FA, minor league signings (rule 4) and he is one of the more capable GM’s.

      He deserves better than Angelos is allowing him. This off season for the O’s so far has been less than stop loss, just loss, loss and more loss. I keep waiting for The Duke to find some of those classic bargain bin type guys he always finds he is classic for, like Franklin Gutierrez when he was out there to take the place of the mistake of letting McLouth leave, but it seems giving out 1m contracts is even verbotten this offseason for him.

      I am worried about this team that enjoy watching and it’s fans.

      • Lefty_Orioles_Fan 2 years ago

        Hey Silver, long time no see!

        Yes, well the Orioles and their fans have their share of problems.
        Now sure what is going to happen, but if Duquette and Showalter do nothing. It’s the fans that are going to be most affected, not Angelos.
        Selig might have to get involved and remind Angelos that he can’t sit on profit sharing money.

        • johnsilver 2 years ago

          Hey Lefty, Yeah.. Took off for awhile.. Was on strike you might say..

          That Selig intervention could be tricky. Remember how long it took for him to do anything about Loria and how low the Marlins payroll was before he (Loria) signed JJ, Ramirez and Nolasco?

          I just looked at Cot’s and in 2009, the season before he gave out the 1st extension to Ramirez, the total team salary was *21m* and by 2011, when he signed Nolasco to his extension, it was at 57m.

          Baltimore has been between 80-90m (Cots) the last 3y. I can’t see Selig interfering, he didn’t even force LA to do anything drastic when the owner was flat broke a few years back, same with Hicks in Texas other than try to get them to sell.

          It’s just an awful situation is what it is and Duquette (and the fans) stuck in the middle of it. An owner acting like Charlie O’Finley, or Calvin Griffith and bringing in 25k per game.

          The other owners are the ones that need to put a stop to it, not the commissioner is my thinking.

        • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

          Perhaps one of Roger Goodell’s assistants in the NFL that is willing to be the new Commisioner in baseball to solve PED, Orioles and other teams on shares of money, and adjusting the draft by moving it to third week of July to go along on the trade deadline, esp. swapping drafting picks like the Mariners, Phillies, Blue Jays, etc. may have traded up to draft Matk Appel.

        • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

          Perhaps one of Roger Goodell’s assistants in the NFL that is willing to be the new Commisioner in baseball to solve PED, Orioles and other teams on shares of money, and adjusting the draft by moving it to third week of July to go along on the trade deadline, esp. swapping drafting picks like the Mariners, Phillies, Blue Jays, etc. may have traded up to draft Matk Appel.

  3. Mike1L 2 years ago

    Selig’s legacy will be very difficult to analyze. If Kuhn is in the Hall of Fame, certainly Bud will be there. He’s been terrific for the business of baseball–revenues have soared, franchise values have soared, and the taxpayer has provided billions of free dollars. There’s been labor peace for quite some time, which is a real accomplishment. Esthetically, the record is more mixed. The Steroids Era is on his watch, and I don’t think anyone has serious doubts there was at least tacit collaboration and acceptance at every level. The A-Rod situation is awful. On the field, baseball has been slow to adopt instant replay, competitive balance is impacted not just by revenue disparities but also by ownerships that vary from “all in” to “how much can I take out.” The elevation of the All Star game to something that has a significant impact on the results of the World Series–and the cheapening of playoff slots by unbalanced schedules and extra wild-cards-also show a lack of commitment to excellence on the field.

  4. Marinersforever71 2 years ago

    Hope Rob Manfred is really good friends w/ NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell as changes of MLB Draft structure needed to be changed by moving it to third week of July to coordinate on the trade deadline including swapping drafts like in basketball/football. Otherwise, one of Goodell’s assistants that has a baseball background should replace Selig as the new commish. Would be good to have a former umpire to help out on new instant replay similar to what Mike Perriera has been doing in NFL on Fox games. That will help in sport in the long run.

  5. Marinersforever71 2 years ago

    Hope Rob Manfred is really good friends w/ NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell as changes of MLB Draft structure needed to be changed by moving it to third week of July to coordinate on the trade deadline including swapping drafts like in basketball/football. Otherwise, one of Goodell’s assistants that has a baseball background should replace Selig as the new commish. Would be good to have a former umpire to help out on new instant replay similar to what Mike Perriera has been doing in NFL on Fox games. That will help in sport in the long run.

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