Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to reporters today about several topics of note. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press had all the choice quotes, and all links below are to his Twitter feed. Here are some of the highlights:
- Manfred expects “some action” in the coming days on the league’s outstanding domestic violence matters. So far as has been publicly reported, Jose Reyes, Aroldis Chapman, and Yasiel Puig all still have open investigations pending. Their respective actions represent three rather different scenarios that will test the league’s new policy in this area.
- The commissioner had some interesting comments on cases where there is no prosecution, as with Chapman and Puig. The policy expressly provides that league discipline can still result, and Manfred suggested the decisions of law enforcement wouldn’t make up his own mind. For one thing, he said, there are “lots of reasons for non-prosecution” and noted that the domestic violence policy “is pretty explicit” that it isn’t required. He also noted that “the standards of proof in a labor arbitration and a criminal case is very different.”
- That’s just one of many items on Manfred’s docket, of course. The major overarching matter is the need for a new collective bargaining agreement, and Manfred said that he had a face-to-face meeting with union boss Tony Clark today to begin putting together a timeline for hammering out a new agreement.
- One topic that’s likely near the top of Clark’s own to-do list is the functioning of the qualifying offer system. Manfred touched upon that briefly today, echoing his prior comments in favor of the system. Draft picks, he explained, are “not penalties, they’re compensation.” As for the ongoing difficulties that some QO-bound free agents have had in reaching deals, Manfred indicated that wasn’t necessarily an unexpected result. “It’s not a surprise to me given the size of the class,” he said.
- Further down the line are considerations of expansion, which he called “important conceptually” but noted was not “an immediate issue for us.” Manfred did suggest that adding a pair of clubs was an appealing prospect. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some near-term opportunities for growth into new markets, though, as Manfred said that the league still hopes to have spring games played in Cuba this year.
- With Jenrry Mejia receiving the league’s first lifetime PED ban, the commish acknowledged that tougher penalties won’t wipe the issue away completely. “I would like to tell [you] the problem of performance enhancing drugs is going away, but I can’t say that,” said Manfred.