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A few news items to wrap up a busy Monday…
- The Cubs, Marlins and Tigers are the three teams most actively targeting Yoenis Cespedes, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). Last week, Cespedes said the Cubs were his most ardent suitor, with the Marlins, Tigers, Orioles, White Sox and Indians also showing "more interest" in him.
- White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski tells MLB.com's Scott Merkin that he plans to continue playing after 2012. Pierzynski, 35, has spent the last seven years with the Sox and is a free agent after this season.
- Yadier Molina's future with the Cardinals is debated in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch roundtable.
- Bud Selig's two-year contract extension was officially finalized and announced today, Major League Baseball announced. Selig will remain commissioner through the 2014 season. The extension was approved by a unanimous 30-0 vote amongst team owners.
- Derrek Lee could retire if he doesn't find "a perfect situation," tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Yesterday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post said Lee could be in for a Jermaine Dye-esque "forced retirement" since no team would be willing to meet his desired price.
- The Rays reportedly have interest in Edgar Renteria for a bench spot, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
- The Astros will consider uniform changes and even possibly a name change for 2013, new club owner Jim Crane announced at a press conference today (passed on by Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle).
- Indians catcher Lou Marson could see a lot of playing time against left-handed pitching, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Regular catcher Carlos Santana could play at first base on the days the strong-armed Marson (who threw out 33.3% of baserunners last year) is behind the plate. The right-handed hitting Marson has a .285/.367/.395 career line against southpaws and would add balance to an Indians lineup that is very heavy on left-handed bats.
- Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will play in the Dominican Winter League, Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reports. Cespedes will initially DH for the Aguilas Cibaenas, which will enable teams to get in-game looks at him before he becomes a free agent.
- Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com checks in with Dmitri Young, the 38-year-old two-time All-Star who is attempting a comeback after losing 70 pounds.
- Commissioner Bud Selig says he will “of course" commit to developing a succession plan before his new contract expires, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times tweets. Selig's extension runs through the 2014 season.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com outlines some reasons that Selig has been good for baseball. John Moores of the Padres was the lone owner not to vote in favor of the commissioner's extension, Heyman tweets.
- The Rangers are increasingly optimistic about their chances of reaching a deal with Yu Darvish by next week's deadline, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports.
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com breaks down the Mets' projected 2012 payroll and arrives at a $90MM total — $50MM less than the club’s Opening Day payroll in 2011.
THURSDAY: MLB has announced the extension through 2014, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
WEDNESDAY: Selig's extension has been approved and will be announced tomorrow, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
TUESDAY: Commissioner Bud Selig will be extended for at least two years this week at the owners' meetings, reports ESPN's Buster Olney. Selig became MLB's acting commissioner in 1992, and the title became official in 1998. He currently earns more than $22MM per year.
Let's round up some links from the business side of the game…
- Bud Selig told reporters, including Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, that the Mets are working on an "alternative financing plan." Bob Klapisch of The Bergen Record adds that Selig said the Mets have yet to repay the $25MM loan from MLB, though he's "not worried." (Twitter links)
- ESPN's Buster Olney says that changes to the draft system being discussed during Collective Bargaining Agreement talks involve a draft tax (Twitter links). It would work similar to the luxury tax, forcing teams to pay if they spend over a certain amount. There is also talk about giving lower revenue clubs additional picks, which some officials perceive to have little value.
- "There isn't a mechanism in place," said Selig to reporters (including Passan) when asked about finding his successor (Twitter link). The commissioner continues to maintain that he will retire on December 31st of 2012.
Commissioner Bud Selig discussed several topics in an interview with Chris Russo of SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio today before Game 2 of the World Series. Here are some of the highlights:
- In regards to the ongoing negotiations about a new collective bargaining agreement, Selig said talks were "constructive," though it would be "pretty optimistic" to hope that a new deal could be announced before the end of the World Series.
- The issue of a hard slotting system for the draft is "really critical" for Selig. Buster Olney reported yesterday that Selig was unlikely to "dig in and fight" for slotting since doing so would prolong the labor negotiations.
- Selig is hopeful that an extra wild card team in each league could be added in time for the 2012 postseason. Selig hears from a number of managers that they would prefer a one-game playoff between each league's wild card teams, rather than a best-of-three playoff.
- The commissioner is "concerned" about the low attendance in Tampa Bay. The Rays "are a wonderful organization, produced a terrific team this year and finished last in the American League in attendance. I’ll let you draw your own conclusion. That’s bad." The Rays' quest for a new stadium is not quite a "lost cause," as Russo describes, but Selig said he is "usually an optimist and I don’t have any reason to be too optimistic" about the situation.
- Selig admitted that he could possibly be called in to decide the compensation the Cubs would owe the Red Sox for Theo Epstein.
- Judging fair and foul balls could become reviewable via instant replay. Besides this change, however, Selig said "there is no appetite anywhere, including mine, for any instant replay" of other plays.
- "Never have so many [networks] been interested in acquiring our rights," Selig said in regards about MLB's next TV contracts for the postseason.
Commissioner Bug Selig told Yahoo's Jeff Passan that he still hopes to have another playoff team in each league by next year. However, many details have yet to be worked out and there are related issues such as realignment to resolve, so the chances of expanded playoffs by next year are "iffy at best," Passan writes.
The possibility of realigning the divisions relates closely to playoff expansion, so the Astros' ownership change affects the discussions. Incoming owner Jim Crane has softened his stance on moving his team to the AL West, Passan reports. Three AL West teams are in the Pacific Time Zone, but that didn't stop the Rangers from obtaining a lucrative TV deal, so Crane is entertaining the idea moving his new club to the American League.
Selig maintains that the upcoming collective bargaining agreement will be his last. “Even though a lot of people don’t believe it, I’m done Dec. 31 of next year,” he told Passan.
With the owners meeting in Cooperstown, N.Y., this week, there's plenty of administrative items of note to pass along. Here's the latest:
- One conversation that has come up frequently at the meetings is how long Bud Selig will remain MLB commissioner and who his successor will be, writes Ken Davidoff of Newsday. Davidoff speculates that the 77-year-old Selig, currently signed through 2012, will serve one more term before stepping down. Davidoff names following as potential successors: former MLB executive Bob DuPuy, Mets GM Sandy Alderson, D'Backs president Derrick Hall, former Braves and Nationals president Stan Kasten, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, and current MLB executive Rob Manfred.
- As expected, the potential sale of the Astros from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane wasn't even addressed during the meetings, the Associated Press reports. We learned last night that no one is questioning Crane's viability, but Selig has declined to comment on the exact cause of the holdup, so there is some kind of disconnect here. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com examined the situation a couple days back.
- In the wake of former Rockies minor leaguer Mike Jacobs' positive test and subsequent release, Selig said today he would like to see HGH testing in the Major Leagues, too, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). I wondered in that post whether HGH testing would come up during negotiations for the new CBA this offseason, but I think this pretty much answers that. Expect to hear more about it this winter.
- Another issue that figures to come up during CBA negotiations is draft slotting. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reported yesterday that Selig has promised to the owners the implimentation of a hard-slotting system for draft bonuses, whereby each pick would be signed for a predetermined sum. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, for one, thinks this is a bad idea, as it will scare away premium athletes like the Royals' Bubba Starling, who could choose to play in the NFL or NBA rather than MLB (Twitter links).
In his new column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo takes a look at the Tampa Bay Rays, and their desire to recapture their 2008 success. Within the piece, Cafardo also offers up some hot stove nuggets….
- The Red Sox are serious about keeping Mike Lowell's bat around, but if they do decide to move him, the Twins "could be a major suitor." They've had interest in Lowell in the past, which would likely be renewed if the Sox paid most of the $12MM he's owed.
- Ron Mahay turned down a minor league contract offer from the Red Sox. It sounds like he's looking for a deal that would guarantee him a spot on a major league roster.
- The Angels intend to give free agent addition Hideki Matsui a shot in the outfield, despite his knee problems. Yankee officials still don't believe that he'll be physically able to play in the field.
- Cafardo writes that Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino and Orioles president Andy MacPhail are two names at the top of the list of candidates to replace Bud Selig as baseball's commissioner after 2012.
Sources have indicated to Phil Rogers of The Chicago Tribune that commissioner Bud Selig plans to step down after the 2012 season, when his contract is up. The current CBA expires after the 2011 season, so negotiating the next pact will likely be Selig's last act as baseball's commissioner.
Selig has held his position since 1992, during which time MLB's popularity and revenue have grown to record heights. Some notable changes made during Selig's tenure include realignment and the introduction of the Wild Card, interleague play, revenue sharing, and the implementation of the most stringent drug testing program among the four major North American sports.