12:35pm: The league has announced that both Hill and Ibanez have been named senior vice presidents of on-field operations. Specifically, Hill will oversee umpiring and on-field disciplinary matters at both the major league and minor league level. Ibanez, meanwhile, will focus on issues pertaining to rules, equipment and on-field technology.
Beyond that pairing, the league also has hired former outfielder Rajai Davis as a director of on-field operations, where he’ll share that title with recent retirees Nick Hundley and Gregor Blanco. Davis will focus on rule changes and amateur baseball. Per the league’s announcement, Davis will also focus on “mentorship of minority players as they progress through amateur baseball and the minor leagues.”
Former Astros skipper Bo Porter was also hired by MLB today, the league announced. He’ll serve as a consultant on coaching development — a role in which he will assist with the “identification and development of candidates for coaching positions throughout amateur and professional baseball, with a focus on underrepresented groups.”
12:18pm: SNY’s Andy Martino reports that in addition to Hill, MLB is hiring former big league outfielder Raul Ibanez to work with on-field operations. He’ll also have a VP title, and he’ll bring a more player-focused perspective that the league lost when Young took his post with the Rangers. The 48-year-old Ibanez retired after the 2014 season and enjoyed a very strong 19-year career in the Majors, during which time he hit .272/.335/.465 with 305 home runs. Ibanez had been working as a special assistant with the Dodgers’ front office prior to accepting his new role.
With regard to Hill, Martino indicates that he’d have been a candidate to work in the recently shuffled Mets front office had he not taken this opportunity with the league office.
9:00am: Former Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill will be named Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of on-field operations, reports USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). Hill will step into the role that was vacated by former big league right-hander Chris Young earlier this offseason, when Young was named general manager of the Rangers.
The league has yet to formally announce the move, but a press release is surely forthcoming. Young, during his time with this role, oversaw “the application of playing rules and regulations, on-field standards and discipline, pace of play and other special projects” and drew praise from deputy commissioner Dan Halem for his ability to explain things from the players’ vantage point.
Hill won’t bring the same playing background to the role that Young, a 13-year MLB veteran, brought to the table. However, with more than 20 years of baseball operations experience, he’ll have his own perspectives to offer. (Hill did play a few years of minor league ball after being drafted by the Rangers out of Harvard in 1993 as well.)
The Marlins parted ways with Hill back in October. CEO Derek Jeter said afterward that the two sides had discussed a new contract but ultimately weren’t able to come to terms. Hill’s departure didn’t register as a major surprise, as he was a holdover from the Jeffrey Loria era. It’s common for incoming ownership groups to shake up their front office composition, and the Marlins were no exception. Hill finished out his contract, but Jeter and Bruce Sherman eventually went in a different direction, hiring Kim Ng as their new general manager.
Hill, meanwhile, was reportedly considered for the top baseball operations posts with the Phillies, Angels and the Mets following his departure from Miami. It’s certainly plausible that the 49-year-old will be considered for future front office vacancies, but for the time being, he’ll take on a much different challenge within the league.