Former MLB executive Katy Feeney passed away Saturday at age 68, the league announced. (There’s a remembrance by Richard Justice of MLB.com.) Feeney served as MLB’s senior vice president of scheduling and club relations until her retirement just last December. In that role, she worked on league scheduling and organized news conferences for big events such as postseason series. She grew up in baseball, as the daughter of Chub Feeney, the former Giants GM and National League president. “All of us at Major League Baseball are shocked and saddened by the news of Katy’s passing. She was one of the game’s most dedicated executives. Overseeing the schedule, Katy long held one of the most challenging positions in the sport,” said the league in a statement. Though Feeney wasn’t well known by the public, she was evidently greatly respected and liked by beat writers throughout the game, many of whom offered heartfelt tributes and expressions of sadness on Twitter. Our condolences to Feeney’s family and friends.
Here’s more from around the league.
- Rarely do we get as much insight into a baseball executive’s life as Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times divulges in a meticulously crafted profile of Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi. Zaidi’s reputation is mostly that of a young, new-school GM in the same vein as his boss, Andrew Friedman. But here we also learn how Zaidi feels about being a Muslim living in the US; about a childhood spent in Canada, the Philippines, and Pakistan; and about his love for 1990s Britpop. Also included are details about Zaidi’s acumen within baseball, including, for example, the tidbits that it was Zaidi who, as an executive with the Athletics, pushed the team to sign Yoenis Cespedes and promote Brandon Moss. McCullough’s piece is well worth a read.
- As the season begins, executives from all 30 teams reveal their No. 1 concerns to ESPN’s Jim Bowden. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of them say they worry most about their team staying healthy, but some execs relay concerns that are more specific, and more telling. Mark Shapiro of the Blue Jays, for example, says, “The drop-off from our top five starters to our sixth starter is a big one. And we have a gap in our high-ceiling prospects in starting pitching in Triple-A.” (The Jays currently have a rotation of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada and Francisco Liriano, with pitchers like Casey Lawrence, Lucas Harrell, Jarrett Grube and T.J. House as potential replacements.)
- The Reds are in the midst of a rebuild, but this year their lone superstar, Joey Votto, will play at age 33. Votto remains under contract through 2023 with a club option for 2024, but it’s unclear if he’ll still be producing superstar-caliber numbers by the time the Reds are ready to contend, as the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Zach Buchanan writes. Buchanan notes that it’s difficult to find comparable players for someone as good as Votto, but some of the more obvious ones — such as Jeff Bagwell, Todd Helton and Lance Berkman — suggest Votto could begin to wilt sooner rather than later, perhaps playing as a lesser version of his former self just as the Reds hope their young talent begins to blossom.
- About half the Padres’ Opening Day payroll of around $67MM will be owed to players who aren’t with the team anymore, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. Current members of the Padres’ active roster and DL make about $33MM, with 21 players making less than $1M. That’s partially a function of the youth of the roster, which we chronicled here earlier this weekend — the Padres are having three Rule 5 picks start the season with them, along with a host of other inexperienced players. Their highest-paid players are Wil Myers and Jered Weaver, both of whom are making just $3MM. The Padres are also paying a total of $34MM to James Shields, Melvin Upton Jr. and Hector Olivera. Shields is currently with the White Sox, while both Upton and Olivera are free agents. Lin notes, though, that the Padres have invested a remarkable total of about $80MM (plus taxes for exceeding their bonus pool) on international prospects since July.