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After going through a number of difficult times with MLB, Rob Manfred is more than ready to take over as commissioner, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. Manfred started working for MLB as an outside counsel in 1994, so he definitely knows what a crisis situation is all about. More from around baseball..
- In a radio interview last week, Matt Harvey reiterated that he is eager to get back to action for the Mets and said he is throwing in the mid-90s in his sessions. Later, manager Terry Collins got in touch with the star hurler. “And I explained to him, I understand that,” Collins said of Harvey’s desire to get back to pitching, according to Newsday’s Marc Carig. “But the process is right now, you’ve got to understand it’s the big picture, and the big picture is 2015. So back off.”
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post explores why the Mets and Cubs, who seem perfectly suited to swing a trade (pitching for a shortstop), have yet to take the leap. A NL executive tells Sherman the Mets “don’t make a lot of trades and that is because they really don’t like to give up what they perceive as their big talent, unless they can convince you to give them $2 for their 35 cents.“
- White Sox manager Robin Ventura told reporters, including MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, he will consider promoting Carlos Rodon (the third overall selection in this year’s draft) when the rosters expand in September. “If he’s doing well enough to come up here, yeah,” Ventura said. “If he’s available and he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go. I would like to see it but he’s got to be ready to go.” Rodon, who is not on the White Sox’s 40-man roster, was promoted to Triple-A yesterday.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) if the club can “find a reliever that can help us late in the games we will consider it.”
- The Astros have decisions to make on a pair of injured right-handed relievers, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Matt Albers (out since April with shoulder tendinitis) has a 2015 club option and Jesse Crain (who has been sidelined since undergoing surgery for biceps tendinitis last October) signed a one-year deal in January and Astros GM Jeff Luhnow would like to see them pitch this season before deciding their fates. “It would be nice to have those two guys in the bullpen in September to help us win some games.” said Luhnow. “I’m sure they want to do that as well so they can establish something going into next year.”
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
The Dodgers made the final August trade of the season late last night acquiring Michael Young and cash from the Phillies for minor-league left-hander Rob Rasmussen. Here's the reaction and analysis from around baseball:
- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says Juan Uribe is still the team's starting third baseman and Young will see time at both corner infield positions, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told reporters, including ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon, Young is willing to accept a lesser role, and the resulting diminished number of at-bats, because he wants another crack at a World Series ring.
- The Phillies would have been better served accepting the Yankees' offer of Double-A right-hander Tommy Kahnle and paying the remainder of Young's salary that was made prior to the July 31st Trade Deadline, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. disagreed with Heyman's assessment telling reporters, including CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury, "We like this guy (Rasmussen) more. The guys that we talked about with other teams had other issues. At the Trade Deadline we were not out of it completely. We were still trying to win games. Different circumstances. Now we’re out of it, basically."
- The Dodgers paid too high of a price for a sub-replacement level player of no discernable value to a playoff team, opines Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated.
- Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times has the opposite opinion writing there is no drawback, no downside when you add to a club's bench a veteran like Young, who is universally perceived as a great teammate.
- MLB.com's Lyle Spencer agrees with Dilbeck tweeting Young is a great addition for the Dodgers on so many levels: clutch, tough, versatile, smart, and a winner.
The Giants have lost left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt for four-to-six weeks after a MRI revealed a moderate strain of muscle and tendon in his left groin, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Jose Mijares will absorb most of Affeldt's innings, but CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly writes the Giants could, if history is any guide, look to acquire another lefty reliever. Baggarly notes it was nearly three years ago to the day Affeldt injured his oblique and GM Brian Sabean acquired Javier Lopez, an under-the-radar move which paid dividends as the Giants won the World Series. In other news and notes from MLB's West divisions:
- While Affeldt's injury may change the calculus slightly, Baggarly, within that same article, sees the Giants continuing their quest for starting pitching. Manager Bruce Bochy loves Jake Peavy, but the two teams have not discussed a deal and the Giants don’t have the quantity or quality of trade chips to get a seat at the table, according to Baggarly.
- Ex-Giants closer Brian Wilson is expected to begin showcasing his arm for teams within the next few weeks and the Giants have asked Wilson's representative to include them in the process, reports Schulman. Wilson underwent his second Tommy John surgery 15 month ago.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti doesn't expect to make any franchise-altering deals prior to the Trade Deadline, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. "I don't know that that player is out there," Colletti said. "When I call around teams, there's not a lot of names of position players being discussed. I'm not sure if there's a market out there on the sell side."
- Earlier today, we learned the Dodgers are prepared to offer Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez something in the neighborhood of $50MM over five years. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, however, tweets sources have told him the Dodgers' interest in the Cuban right-hander is not as fervent as has been portrayed.
- Manager Eric Wedge doesn't think the fourth-place Mariners, winners of six straight, will be active at the Trade Deadline, writes MLB.com's Greg Johns. "Unless it's something that raises the bar, I don't think we're going to do anything," said Wedge. "We're not going to move somebody just to move somebody." The Mariners have several veterans on one-year deals, who could be appealing to contenders, including left-handed reliever Oliver Perez, left-handed starter Joe Saunders, outfielder Raul Ibanez, first baseman Kendrys Morales, and shortstop Brendan Ryan.
- Two years ago, the Dodgers had agreed to deals with both the Tigers and Red Sox for Hiroki Kuroda, but the right-hander invoked his no-trade clause to veto each trade. Through his interpreter, Kuroda provided FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal his rationale for refusing to join a team in the playoff hunt: if you only play for a team in August and September, it is not as meaningful as being with a club from Spring Training until the end of the season.
The Dodgers' situation has changed radically in the past year, with new ownership and a much larger payroll, and the magnitude of those changes isn't lost on GM Ned Colletti, Mike Bauman of MLB.com reports.
- Colletti says the team's much-larger payroll wouldn't be considered a "big deal" if the team's previous payrolls weren't so small. Colletti says that the team's opening day payroll of approximately $90MM in 2012 was low compared to those of the Red Sox and Phillies, and if the Dodgers had had a high payroll in 2012, their enormous 2013 payroll would not have been such a big story. "If that's where we were, if that's where we should have been, is [an increase to over $200 million] a big deal? No, it's not a big deal," Colletti says. "The big deal to me is not that we're at $200 [million] it's that we were at $90 [million]."
- Colletti adds that the Dodgers' change in ownership forced him to build "two teams at one time," with one team that was created under the Dodgers' earlier, smaller payroll, and another that was created under the team's new ownership. "So you're going to have a little bit of combinations that you have to work through," says Colletti. "And we also have $55 million coming off next year. So we'll be in a different spot where we'll be able to smooth this out a little."
- Colletti doesn't mind the fact that the Dodgers currently have three more starting pitchers than rotation spots. "'We've got some situations that are a little bit unorthodox, having, quote, 'eight starting pitchers in camp,'" Colletti says. "I like that far better than when we had three starting pitchers in camp, or two starting pitchers in camp."
Let's catch up on the latest stories and happenings taking place in front offices from around the league…
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington spoke to Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio about the status of free agent Mike Napoli and where the slugger stands with the team. Cherington told Bowden (via Twitter) that Boston is still looking to add offense to the first base position as the club still considers Napoli to be a free agent. He added that the Red Sox will continue to work through the issues of signing Napoli but admits there is no deal at this point (on Twitter).
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo faces the task of improving a 98-win team this offseason and recently took a break from the action to chat with MLB.com's Bill Ladson on the state of Nationals baseball. Rizzo points to the young, talented players on his roster taking the proverbial "next step" as one of the factors for the team's continued success in 2013.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti's major concern for his roster isn't about adding more pieces but rather making sure players are fully recovered from various injuries before Spring Training starts, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "We're fine right now if we come into camp, we're in a good spot," Colletti said.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti confirmed that he and manager Don Mattingly will return in 2013, Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com reports. The GM also reflected on the eventful 2012 season in an extended interview with Bloom. Here are some highlights…
- Colletti explained that the team’s midseason trades should help the team in 2013 and beyond, regardless of whether the Dodgers make the playoffs this year. “When we made these trades, we thought that these players were going to be with us for a while,” Colletti said.
- The GM said he'll be pleased if Gonzalez can continue producing at this clip for the remainder of his Dodgers career. Gonzalez has a .276/.328/.431 batting line with 21 RBI in 134 plate appearances.
- There’s a chance Carl Crawford will open the 2013 season with the Dodgers, Colletti said. The left fielder’s throwing arm should be at full strength by May, but he could open the season with the club if he’s progressing well.
- Colletti said it’s been a great experience working with the Dodgers’ new ownership group, including veteran MLB executive Stan Kasten. “He's someone who understands baseball very well,” Colletti said. “He's been in the game for three decades.”
- Manager Don Mattingly succeeds for a variety of reasons, Colletti said. “He continues to learn every day. He's open-minded. He's ultra-competitive. And a very hard worker.”
The Dodgers and GM Ned Colletti have agreed to a contract extension, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The two sides have been discussing an extension lately and his current deal included mutual options beyond 2012. The new agreement is a multiyear deal, perhaps as many as three years according to Heyman.
Colletti has been at the Dodgers' helm since November 2005. The team has gone 586-530 under his watch, thrice winning the NL West and never winning fewer than 80 games in a season. They advanced to the NLCS in both 2008 and 2009. He survived the Frank McCourt ownership fallout, and the new Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson led ownership group showed no indications that they were considering a switch at GM.
Our Transaction Tracker shows all of Colletti's moves as Dodgers GM, the second of which is acquiring Andre Ethier from the Athletics. Other notable moves including hiring manager Joe Torre, acquiring Greg Maddux, signing Hiroki Kuroda, extending Matt Kemp, and acquiring Adrian Gonzalez. Clayton Kershaw was also drafted under Colletti's watch.
The Dodgers sit 4.5 games behind the Giants in the NL West but still have six games left to play against their long-time rivals. The two teams face off in the last series of the year and in a three-game set starting on Friday at AT&T Park. Here are some news and notes out of Los Angeles…
- With the Dodgers pursuing an extension with GM Ned Colletti, Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times recaps some of Colletti's best and worst moves and argues that Colletti is deserving of the new contract.
- Chad Billingsley may miss the entire 2013 season due to a slightly torn UCL in his right elbow, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Billingsley will try to rehab the injury without Tommy John surgery, but if he needs to go under the knife, it will cost him all of 2013 no matter if he undergoes the procedure now or in the spring. Since signing a three-year, $35MM extension in March 2011 that covers the 2012-14 seasons, Billingsley has posted a 3.92 ERA, 2.17 K/BB ratio and 7.5 K/9 in 57 starts.
- The Dodgers' recent major player acquisitions served as "a statement of purpose" for Dodger fans, team president Stan Kasten said during a speech at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit (as reported by MLB.com's Matthew Leach). "Players like Adrian Gonzalez, players like Hanley Ramirez, they're not available. You can't get them in the free agent market," Kasten said. "This was a way to improve the team right away, while at the same time maintaining our core belief in also building the scouting and player-development system. That was always part of our model."
The Dodgers have opened talks with general manager Ned Colletti on a long-term contract extension, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Dodgers chairman Mark Walter confirmed that the team had extended an offer to Colletti, though the GM and team president Stan Kasten didn't comment. Colletti is in the last guaranteed year of an extension signed after the 2009 season, though Colletti could have returned in 2013 under a mutual option.
Colletti was hired as the Dodgers' GM after the 2005 season and has led the team to no fewer than 80 wins in each of his six full seasons in Los Angeles, good for a 584-525 overall record. The Dodgers have made three playoff appearances (two NL West titles and a wild card) under Colletti, advancing as far as the NLCS in both 2008 and 2009.
Despite Colletti's contract status and a new ownership group taking over, there has been relatively little speculation that Walter, Kasten and Magic Johnson would hire a new general manager, probably due to the Dodgers' surprising success this year. Walter commented that he was impressed with how Colletti negotiated and completed the blockbuster trade with the Red Sox that saw the Dodgers take on roughly $260MM in salary in the form of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto.
NBA legend Magic Johnson and longtime MLB executive Stan Kasten lead the group that agreed yesterday to purchase the Dodgers from owner Frank McCourt for $2.15 billion. The sale price of the Dodgers shatters the previous MLB record of $845MM and bodes well for the 29 other owners. Here’s some of the reaction to last night’s news:
- The new Dodgers owners are buying the team with cash rather than financing, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports (Twitter links). MLB’s review of the sale is expected to be a formality, since no debt is being added.
- Kasten told Shaikin he doesn't plan to make changes to the Dodgers' front office. "I go in assuming everyone is doing their job properly," he said.
- Estimates for the total value of the Dodgers’ upcoming TV deal are as high as $4 billion, David Wharton of the Times writes.
- Peter Gammons of MLB Network points out that prospective free agents such as Andre Ethier, David Wright, Matt Cain, Cole Hamels and Mike Napoli benefit from the sale of the Dodgers (Twitter link). The presence of another potentially aggressive bidder should help top free agents.
- Hamels’ intentions are clear, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter link). The Phillies can offer market value and extend him now, or he’ll wait until after the season when someone else will spend big on him.
- Though MLB owners have only officially approved the Johnson-Kasten bid at $1.6 billion, it’s extremely difficult to see owners objecting to the $2.15 billion sale price at this point, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com points out (Twitter link).
- Johnson invested way more than a million in the bid, Yahoo’s Tim Brown reports (all Twitter links). “He has significant money," one insider told Brown.
- The fates of GM Ned Colletti and manager Don Mattingly haven’t been discussed, but immediate changes seem unlikely, Brown writes. Kasten and Colletti have a good relationship and have spoken often in recent weeks.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports will understand if Dodgers fans are rejoicing in response to the news.