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What are the owners doing down in Arizona?

Jan 14, 2010, 8:00 AM EDT

As you freeze, the owner of your favorite team is down in Paradise Valley, Arizona meeting with Bud Selig to talk about how to keep the metric system down, leave Atlantis off the maps and rig Oscar night.  Oh, and for the first time at one of these meetings, general managers were invited. Selig said that meeting with the GMs was “historic” and “constructive,” and that “it
was the first time it had happened at this time of year in Major League
Baseball history.”

What time of year is it? Why, it’s right before arbitration figures are exchanged, and Biz of Baseball’s Maury Brown suggests that the reason for the meeting may be to get everyone on the same page with respect to how much money to offer in arbitration:

But, with the filing deadline for salary arbitration looming on
Friday, one possible topic amongst the GMs and owners might be how
clubs planned to file figures for those players that do not settle on
contracts ahead of the January 19th date when players and clubs begin
exchanging asking and offering figures.

The idea that GMs would huddle together and exchange information on
where they plan to file would seem to skirt near collusion. But,
according to a former AL and NL executive, it is not a rare practice.

If they’re exchanging information about how much they’re offering people, it sounds less like they’re “skirting near” collusion and more like plain old collusion. Still Brown talks to a former executive who said that this practice is common, though it’s usually done via conference call.  Well, in that case I guess it’s alright then.

Other stuff going on down at the meetings:

  • Rangers’ owner Tom Hicks met with MLB president
    Bob DuPuy to discuss the Rangers’ sale.  The 30-day exclusive window to sell the team to the Chuck
    Greenberg/Nolan Ryan group is set to expire tomorrow. As I reported just before Christmas, there are concerns that the Greenberg group may be having problems getting their financial house in order.  That was denied.  Jon Heyman said yesterday that there have been “a few hiccups in talks,” though he thinks the deal will go down.  I suppose we’ll know sometime tomorrow.
  • A committee studying the future of the Oakland A’s said that it was not
    ready to make a recommendation about where the team should
    relocate.  I suppose there are a lot of moving parts to this, but it’s not like this is as complicated as the Allies carving up the post-War world at Yalta or anything. One wonders if more energy isn’t being spent quietly negotiating with the Giants over the tribute the A’s and Major League Baseball will have to pay in order to resolve the San Jose territory rights issue so that things will go a lot smoother once the committee says “hey, we think the A’s need to move there.”
  • Today Selig will meet with his new special committee designed to look at replay, umpiring, pace of game, the postseason schedule and the like.  I’ve talked to a major league sources, and while no one knows exactly what’s going to come out of it, there is, generally speaking a lot of disagreement on the issues before the committee, and that because of it, the only thing they’d really count on happening is alteration of the playoff schedule.

I presume La Russa’s suggestion of a separate 25-man roster dedicated to relief pitchers will fall on mostly deaf ears.

  1. Field Greens - Jan 14, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    Too long, didn’t read

  2. lar @ wezen-ball - Jan 14, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    You know, the owners might be as powerful as they once were. I mean, Steve Guttenberg is no longer a star and I’ve been hearing things about those Martians…
    I’m disappointed in the tags you used for this post, Craig.

  3. mike in MN - Jan 14, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    The committee for change is made up of old white guys, who love baseball, and don’t like the changes that have been made lately, right? If I was going to suggest changes to the game, I might try to involve people that are fringe fans, aren’t old and averse to change, and aren’t all white males. I mean, what kind changes to the game will people that love the game suggest, that would attract new fans? It’s like when Saturn started, and they worked with car lovers, who liked loud engines, to design their engines. Maybe they should have worked with, I don’t know, their potential customers and people that they wanted to attract to the car….

  4. Moses Green - Jan 14, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    I think that might be funny, but I need to have it explained to me before I’m sure. Dad, what’s the Mile High Club?

  5. michael standish - Jan 14, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    Let’s streamline things by making Field Greens (“Too short, didn’t think.”) our Steroids Czar.

  6. Joe - Jan 14, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    Query – why don’t the A’s just hand Oakland over to the Giants in exchange for San Jose? Aren’t Oakland and SF a lot closer to each other than either is to SJ?

  7. lar @ wezen-ball - Jan 14, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    Check out this video, or search around for the “stonecutters” (and then re-read Craig’s opening paragraph). It’s great stuff.

  8. Moses Green - Jan 14, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    I was wrong – it’s not funny.
    It’s hilarious. So’s the Charlie Brown piece btw, truly demented genius. Sometimes when a noble mind is overthrown, the results are priceless.

  9. Dan from Katonah - Jan 14, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    Craig – Surely you are not comparing the Oakland A’s to post-war Germany and Eastern Europe?!? If so, who is Hitler in this analogy? :)

  10. Chris - Jan 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    I’m sure that in honor of this momentous occasion, they’re having ribs.
    And probably getting drunk and playing ping pong while they’re at it.

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