Bud Selig Rumors

AL Notes: Rays, Indians, Buehrle, Rangers

In the wake of yesterday’s report Rays ownership has discussed relocating the franchise to Montreal, Commissioner Bud Selig paused and then declined to answer whether Tampa Bay is a viable major league market, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Selig did say, however, the team needs a replacement for Tropicana Field. “The team has to have a ballpark that makes them competitive,” the commissioner said before Game Four of the World Series. “It doesn’t produce the kind of revenue they need.

In other news involving the Rays and the American League:

  • Change is coming to the Rays and the front office and players alike don’t see it as a negative, writes the Tampa Tribune’s Roger Mooney. “Whoever we bring in here, they’re going to set the scheme and how they want to win games and be a successful organization,” said pitcher Alex Cobb. “When that trickles down to the players, all that is is us playing up to our capabilities, and that doesn’t matter who is in the dugout or the front office.” Mooney notes all coaches are under contract for 2015; but, if the new manager is from outside the organization, there may be changes to the staff.
  • In today’s mailbag, a reader proposed his Indians offseason plan to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer: trade Jason Kipnis and David Murphy for prospects to free up money, then use that money on Victor Martinez. Hoynes doesn’t see the Tribe trading Kipnis so soon after giving him a $50MM+ extension, despite his bad year. The reader’s ambitious plan also calls for Cleveland to have one of their young outfielders form a platoon with Nick Swisher and, given his $15MM salary, Hoynes believes the team wants to see him in the lineup every day.
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe identified Mark Buehrle as a trade candidate earlier today and Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets the Twins have long been admirers of the Blue Jays hurler. Still, his $19MM salary is too high.
  • If the Jon Daniels-Jeff Banister partnership works in Texas, it will continue a trend in the game of a college educated GM with no professional playing experience working with a baseball lifer as manager, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

Poll: Was Manfred The Right Choice?

Major League Baseball owners yesterday elected MLB COO Rob Manfred as the successor to Bud Selig and next commissioner of baseball. While Manfred’s vote technically passed unanimously, there was a pronounced split for much of the day. Reportedly, 22 of the 30 teams were in favor of Manfred for much of the day, but it took quite some time for a 23rd team — said by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports to be the Nationals — to give Manfred the final vote he required. At that point, the remaining seven teams altered their vote as “an olive branch for posterity” (to use the words of the L.A. Times’ Bill Shaikin), knowing that their preferred candidate had no chance to win anyhow.

That preferred candidate was Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, although Werner wasn’t the only other finalist to give a presentation to owners yesterday. Joining Werner and Manfred was MLB executive vice president of business Tim Brosnan, though he appeared to be the first of the three to withdraw from consideration.

All three had their merits. Manfred has resided over labor negotiations and can boast 19 years of peace between MLB and the MLBPA, and he also has worked tirelessly to implement the current drug testing system in addition to spearheading last year’s Biogenesis investigation. Werner, whose background was in television before jumping to the baseball world, was believed by his supporters to possess the necessary knowledge to bolster MLB’s television ratings and revitalize interest in baseball among the youth of the United States and Canada. Brosnan’s business acumen was his strongest selling point, though he looked to be a distant third place behind his competitors not long after the announcement of the three finalists. (Of course, all three had their flaws as well, and MLBTR readers can get a brief rundown of each candidate in this piece from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.)

Prior to the announcement of the three finalists, other candidates for the position had included Giants president Larry Baer, Disney chief executive Bob Iger, Braves chairman Terry McGuirk, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, MLB Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman and former Yale University president Richard C. Levin.

Manfred has long been rumored to be the preferred successor of retiring commissioner Bud Selig, and in the end, the seemingly likeliest option wound up getting the nod. Manfred will become just the 10th commissioner of the league and presumably will hold this post for a considerable amount of time. Should baseball fans be happy about the outcome of the election? Let’s find out how the MLBTR universe feels…

Rob Manfred Elected Next MLB Commissioner

FRIDAY: Manfred’s initial contract will be a three-year deal, tweets Nightengale.

THURSDAY, 5:58pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that Manfred’s support vacillated between 20, 21 and 22 voters over the course of the day. The Brewers and Rays pushed the vote to 21 and 22. Of the final eight holdouts, the Nationals were the team that eventually changed their vote and put Manfred over the top, Heyman adds.

5:14pm: Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times tweets that Manfred passed 30-0 in the final vote. Presumably, once one owner flipped his vote, the other seven conceded the defeat and made the decision unanimous. Indeed, in a follow-up tweet, Shaikin calls the 30-0 vote “an olive branch for posterity” by the seven owners who were still opposed to Manfred.

5:01pm: Major League Baseball owners have elected Rob Manfred as the next commissioner of MLB, according to Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times (Twitter link).

Manfred, 55, will succeed Selig, who had announced that he would step down after the season. The former Brewers’ owner has been at the helm since 1992, when he was named acting Commissioner, taking over for Fay Vincent. His seat was formalized in 1998. During his tenure, baseball went through a devastating strike and still-lingering PED crisis, and also saw significant economic growth.

Manfred has been along for much of that ride, as Lynn Zinser of the New York Times wrote yesterday. After representing MLB as part of his practice with a large firm, Manfred entered league employment full-time in 1998 and spent fifteen years running point on many of the key labor issues that defined Selig’s stint.

The Harvard Law graduate’s ability to work with the MLB Player’s Association was perhaps seen as both a strength and weakness, as a minority group of owners emerged recently to challenge his assumed ascension. Red Sox chairman and part owner Tom Werner arose as the most plausible alternative, and managed to win the initial support off a reported eight owners during the early rounds of voting.

As Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote yesterday, Manfred supporters will point to his status as head of labor negotiations and the 19 years of peace between MLB and the MLBPA. He also helped to implement baseball’s current drug testing system and headed last year’s Biogenesis investigation. His detractors, Nightengale notes, will point to the fact that baseball is the only sport without a salary cap. They also credit the drug testing agreement to the MLBPA for changing its stance and criticize Manfred for allowing all but $2 billion of the Dodgers’ $8.35 billion TV deal to be protected from revenue sharing.

After the first two rounds of voting, Manfred had just 22 of the necessary 23 votes of support, with the White Sox, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Angels, Nationals, Athletics, Diamondbacks and Reds all opposing. It’s unclear which of the eight opposing teams owners flipped his vote and tipped the scale in Manfred’s favor.

Commissioner Voting In Progress; Manfred Still One Vote Shy

4:33pm: Selig and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf are speaking in private, tweets Nightengale. Reinsdorf has long been a Selig advocate, but his opposition to Manfred as Selig’s successor has been well documented. The ChiSox, as noted below, are one of the teams currently opposing Manfred.

4:05pm: Schmidt tweets that the second vote for Manfred again resulted in a 22-8 split. Heyman tweets that there will be a 30-minute break in the action before any further proceedings resume.

3:48pm: The eight teams currently not willing to join the majority on electing Manfred include the Blue Jays, Red Sox, White Sox, Nationals, Angels, Athletics, Diamondbacks, and Reds, according to reporting from the New York Daily News (via Twitter).

2:43pm: The next stage will involve an up-or-down vote on Manfred, reports Schmidt (Twitter links). Voting has yet to begin at this point.

1:47pm: Manfred was just one vote shy of being selected as commissioner after the first round of voting, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

Michael Schmidt of the New York Times offers some interesting vignettes of the still-ongoing proceedings.

1:32pm: After several votes, there is still not a sufficient consensus to name a new commissioner, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The meeting has been adjourned for a break at this point.

12:58pm: Major League Baseball’s owners took part in a series of meetings again this morning and are now prepared to hold a first vote on the game’s new Commissioner at approximately 1:30 EST. One of the three finalists, MLB VP of business Tim Brosnan, has dropped out before the voting, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter.

That leaves MLB COO Rob Manfred and Red Sox chairman Tom Werner as the two candidates for the Commissioner’s chair (unless a deadlock were to result in a re-opening of the search process, at least). As MLBTR’s Steve Adams explained yesterday, the vote had expected to come down to the pair. The major question has been, and seemingly still is, whether Werner’s backers could draw enough support to hold up the coronation of Manfred, who has been considered the heir apparent to longtime Commissioner Bud Selig. A vote of 23 owners is necessary to elect the game’s new leading executive.

We will keep track of any updates in this post, as they are reported.

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MLB Owners Expect To Elect Commissioner Thursday

AUG. 13: Major League Baseball owners are confident that they will emerge from tomorrow’s vote with a new commissioner, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

However, in a full-length column earlier this morning, Nightengale explained the divide between frontrunners Manfred and Werner, with some Manfred supporters telling Nightengale they feel they have at least 20 owners committed to Manfred. Sources in the Werner camp tell Nightengale that there will be at least 11 votes for Werner, and another eight were undecided.

Brosnan, too, has his supporters, according to Nightengale, but they fear that he doesn’t have a realistic chance at winning the vote. If Brosnan doesn’t receive enough votes on the first ballot, he could bow out and throw his support to Werner. In that scenario, Brosnan could end up serving as deputy commissioner to Werner.

In the video atop his article, Nightengale speculated that no consensus would be reached. All of this speculation, of course, came prior to each finalist giving a one-hour presentation to MLB owners today at their quarterly meetings, so things may have changed.

Sources have also told Nightengale that there was to be a fourth candidate among the finalists — former Yale University president Richard C. Levin. However, Levin withdrew his name late in the process. Nightengale wonders if MLB will try to convince Levin to reconsider in the event that the owners aren’t able to reach a vote tomorrow.

AUG. 5: The search committee formed to identify a successor for Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has narrowed the candidates down to a list of three finalists, reports USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred, MLB vice president of business Tim Bronson and Red Sox chairman Tom Werner are the candidates, according to Nightengale.

MLB owners will vote on the trio at next week’s quarterly owners meetings, and if 23 or more owners can agree on a candidate, that candidate will be named as Selig’s successor. Of course, Selig is set to remain in office through the end of his term —  January 24, 2015. He is expected to remain involved in baseball in a limited capacity, Nightengale writes.

Shortly after the committee formed back in May, reports indicated that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf — a longtime Selig backer — was surprisingly resistant to the idea of Manfred succeeding Selig as commissioner. Manfred has long been thought to be Selig’s preferred choice as a successor.

Giants president Larry Baer, Disney chief executive Bob Iger, Braves chairman Terry McGuirk, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and MLB Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman have all been thought to be candidates at various points since the committee has formed.

MLB Begins Interviewing Commissioner Candidates

9:53pm: In his full report, Costa writes that the committee has also interviewed at least two people who do not currently work in the commissioner’s office. Giants CEO Larry Baer has had “informal discussions” regarding the post, but has not made himself a candidate at this point, Costa adds. Likewise, discussions with Disney CEO Robert Iger have not moved past the preliminary stages and his potential candidacy appears to come with some complicating circumstances.

5:02pm: The process of replacing longtime MLB commissioner Bud Selig appears to be entering its next phase. Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal reports on Twitter that at least three internal candidates have been interviewed, presumably by the league’s succession committee.

The first name that Costa mentions will come as no surprise: Rob Manfred, the MLB COO. Manfred has long been considered a leading candidate and is currently “heavily favored” to succeed Selig, according to the report.

Also earning a chance to make a pitch for the commissioner’s chair were Tim Brosnan and Bob Bowman, each of whom occupy lofty positions within the MLB hierarchy. The former heads MLB’s domestic and international business ventures, while the latter is the CEO of MLB Advanced Media.


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Latest On MLB’s Commissioner Search

Last week, it was announced that Major League Baseball had formed a committee to appoint the league’s next commissioner at the end of Bud Selig’s tenure, which will come to an end next January. Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times has more on the search, noting that several owners have indicated to him their belief that Selig is strongly in favor of COO Rob Manfred taking the reins when his own time is through.

Selig’s desire for Manfred to succeed him isn’t necessarily a new revelation, but Schmidt goes on to write that Selig’s push for Manfred as his heir is meeting some resistance from an unexpected source — White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Schmidt spoke with more than 20 owners, senior team officials and MLB officials for his piece and came away with the knowledge that Reinsdorf — a long-time supporter of Selig — “has broken ranks and tried to upend the plan to slide Mr. Manfred into the commissioner’s office on Park Avenue.”

Reinsdorf was the only source to not require anonymity when speaking with Schmidt, telling him: “What I have said about [Manfred] is none of your business.” Reinsdorf added that he’s never said a bad word about Selig himself, whom he called the game’s “best commissioner.”

Schmidt continues by writing that Selig initially called a meeting with a select group of owners — Reinsdorf included — this past February, informing them that they would play a role in choosing his successor. As word of this attempt made its way through the game’s front offices, several owners became irritated. Eventually, Selig instead made the announcement of a smaller search committee last week.

Current candidates, in addition to Manfred, include Disney chief executive Bob Iger, Giants president Larry Baer, Braves chairman Terry McGuirk and Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, according to Schmidt. Tim Brosnan and Rob Bowman — currently senior business executives in the Commissioner’s Office — are seen as long shots.

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MLB Forms Committee To Search For Selig’s Successor

At the quarterly Owners Meetings earlier today, Bud Selig announced the formation of a committee to help determine his eventual successor as commissioner of Major League Baseball, Paul Hagen of MLB.com writes.

The succession committee, according to Hagen, will be overseen by Cardinals chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. and consist of six other owners: Dick Monfort (Rockies), Dave Montgomery (Phillies), Arte Moreno (Angels), Bob Nutting (Pirates), Jim Pohlad (Twins) and Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox). While no official timeline is known, the committee will eventually present candidate(s) to all 30 Major League owners. Candidates will require an 80 percent vote (24 of 30) to pass and be named commissioner.

Selig said that the committee will consider people from both inside the game and outside the game, but there won’t be much information made available to the public. “[T]he process goes much more smoothly if there isn’t all kinds of speculation,” said Selig. “We’re not going to announce when we get a list together or who the potential candidates are, whom we’ve talked to or any of that.”

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post also touched on the formation of the committee, noting again that Selig’s preference seems to be for current MLB COO Rob Manfred to fill his shoes, though that will be up to the committee to decide. DeWitt did tell Davidoff that Selig’s opinion would have a definite impact on the search: We’d be remiss if we didn’t ask his opinion along the way.” DeWitt would not rule out the possibility of a current owner, perhaps even one of the committee members, being nominated as a candidate.

Selig, who assumed his current role on an interim basis in September of 1992, was the owner of of the Brewers prior to being named commissioner. As Hagen notes, he was eventually unanimously named the official commissioner in July 1998.

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Lucchino On Selig, Ortiz, Lester, Yanks, Free Agents

Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino spoke with reporters in Fort Myers, Fla. today and covered a number of topics, one of them being the impending retirement of commissioner Bud Selig. USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that Lucchino "challenges the premise" that Selig is 100 percent certain to retire following the season. Lucchino says he is one of multiple executives who will pressure Selig to stay in office beyond January 2015. Nightengale quotes Lucchino: "He knows that [the] pressures for him to stay will be so great, that he will have to accede to them." (All Twitter links)

More from the CEO of the reigning World Series champions…

  • Lucchino confirmed that the club has met with David Ortiz's camp since the beginning of Spring Training to discuss a potential extension, writes Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Lucchino called Ortiz "one of the most important faces in baseball" and said the club was going to give Big Papi's extension "the priority it deserves." He praised Ortiz for his leadership not only among teammates but also in the Boston community.
  • Also from Britton's piece, Lucchino called Jon Lester's comments about taking a discount to stay with the Red Sox "one of the highlights of the offseason" and noted that a Lester extension is something Red Sox brass will address in Spring Training as well.
  • WEEI.com's Alex Speier writes that Lucchino cringes when people lump the Red Sox and Yankees together, calling the two teams "very different animals." Lucchino points out that even though the Red Sox invested heavily in last offseason's free agent market, they only went to three guaranteed years on one deal (Shane Victorino), where the Yankees went to three-plus years four times this offseason alone. "They are still, this year at least, relying heavily on their inimitable old-fashioned Yankees style of high-priced, long-term free agents," he told reporters.
  • Also within Speier's article, Lucchino does give way to the possibility that the Red Sox could make future splashes of that significance in free agency, however it would be more as an exception to the rule than the start of a trend.

MLB Names Rob Manfred Chief Operating Officer

Major League Baseball executive vice president Rob Manfred has been named the league's chief operating officer, according to Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal (on Twitter). Major League Baseball has officially announced that commissioner Bud Selig appointed Manfred to the position (Twitter link), leading many to speculate that Manfred is being groomed as his successor. Selig officially announced last week that he would retire following the 2014 season.

Manfred had been serving as one of five EVPs for Major League Baseball, dealing specifically with labor relations and human resources. Until this point, he has been responsible for the relationship between Major League Baseball's teams and the MLBPA. Manfred graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1983 and has been an integral cog in negotiating baseball's collective bargaining agreement. More information on his background can be found in his MLB.com biography.

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