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Storylines: Manfred pegged as Selig's replacement

Storylines: Manfred pegged as Selig's replacement
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, center, is flanked by Vice President of Labor Relations Rob Manfred, left, and MLB Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner in late 2011. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)
August 15, 2014
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In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.

Here are the stories from Thursday, Aug. 14. 

Top Stories:

  • Major League Baseball owners elected Rob Manfred as the next commissioner of MLB, according to Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times. Manfred, 55, will succeed Selig, who had announced that he would step down after the season. The former Brewers' owner has been at the helm since 1992, when he was named acting Commissioner, taking over for Fay Vincent. After representing MLB as part of his practice with a large firm, Manfred entered league employment full-time in 1998 and spent fifteen years running point on many of the key labor issues that defined Selig's stint. The Harvard Law graduate's ability to work with the MLB Player's Association was perhaps seen as both a strength and weakness, as a minority group of owners emerged recently to challenge his assumed ascension. As Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote on Wednesday, Manfred supporters will point to his status as head of labor negotiations and the 19 years of peace between MLB and the MLBPA. He also helped to implement baseball's current drug testing system and headed last year's Biogenesis investigation. His detractors, Nightengale noted, will point to the fact that baseball is the only sport without a salary cap. They also credit the drug testing agreement to the MLBPA for changing its stance and criticize Manfred for allowing all but $2 billion of the Dodgers' $8.35 billion TV deal to be protected from revenue sharing.

Tribe News:

  • The Pirates acquired righty John Axford from the Indians, the clubs announced. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the transaction. Axford, 31, joined Cleveland on a one-year, $4.5 million free agent contract after being non-tendered by the Cardinals. Pittsburgh added the righty through a straight waiver claim , according to's Buster Olney. That means the club will be on the hook for the approximately $1.1 million that he is still owed this year, though it will not need to part with any young talent to add the veteran arm. On the year, Axford has posted a 3.92 ERA with 10.5 K/9 but a troubling 6.5 BB/9 over 43 2/3 innings. He does have a career-best 54.1% groundball rate, but advanced metrics have not been impressed on the whole (4.71 FIP, 3.98 xFIP, 3.80 SIERA).

News and Notes:

  • Mets manager Terry Collins is likely to return next year, Jon Heyman of reported. Collins has been at the helm since the 2011 season, and now seems likely to have the chance to try to guide the club through its hoped-for transition from rebuilding to competing.
  • Just one day after the news that superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will miss the remainder of the season to undergo hip surgery, the Rockies are now facing the likely loss of their other best player for the remainder of the year. Carlos Gonzalez has seemed resigned to the fact that his season will end prematurely due to left knee surgery, according to Nick Groke of the Denver Post. Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger told Groke that Gonzalez has been battling tendinitis in his knee since last season, and an MRI performed on Wednesday revealed that the injury had worsened in the past few weeks.
  • Designated hitter Billy Butler reiterated recently that he is still hopeful of remaining with the Royals, Jeffrey Flanagan of FOX Sports Kansas City reported. In spite of a recent hot streak, his $12.5 million club option for 2015 seems a bit steep. "After the season, we'll see what happens," said Butler. "We'll know five days after the World Series what will happen. But even if they decline, it doesn't mean they won't offer me something else. I hope that's the case."
  • The Blue Jays outrighted southpaw Brad Mills to Triple-A Buffalo, according to the team's transactions page. Mills, 29, was designated for assignment by the Jays on Tuesday and will have the option to elect free agency rather than report to Triple-A, having been outrighted in the past.
  • After clearing waivers, righty Ernesto Frieri accepted an assignment to the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate, Chris Cotillo of reported.
  • The Mets announced that they re-signed Bobby Abreu to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Las Vegas. The 40-year-old veteran has already appeared in 67 games for the Mets this season after signing a minor league contract at the end of March. New York designated him for assignment and released him earlier this month.

User Comments

Canadian Joe
August 15, 2014 - 6:29 AM EDT
Hope Manfred dresses better than Selig.
August 15, 2014 - 1:38 AM EDT
FAs after this season: Jon Lester, James Shields, Max Scherzer, Pablo Sandoval, Nelson Cruz, Victor Martinez, Hanley Ramirez, Billy Butler (club option), Ben Zobrist (club option), Chase Headley, Alex Rios, Sergio Romo, David Robertson, Melky Cabrera, Jason Hammel, Casey Janssen, Koji Uehara.... and I'm probably missing more.

This, of course, is just FAs and doesn't factor in trade candidates.
August 15, 2014 - 12:46 AM EDT
Just as I thought (and said) would happen, Axford doesn't even make it through the season before being let go...and for absolutely nothing other than salary relief...I still can't believe that many people seemed to be even entertaining the fantasy that we had acquired a "closer" in this guy (who, btw, seems like a really nice person, so I wish him all the best...). This, imo, was one of a number of very questionable decisions made last offseason (signing Murphy, putting Santana at 3B, not trading Masterson when he had maximum value, etc). I hope that CA and Tito do a much better job this offseason.

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