Posts Tagged ‘Rob Manfred’

Boston Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright is attending spring training despite Major League Baseball’s ongoing investigation into his offseason arrest on domestic violence charges.

Wright was charged with domestic assault and preventing a 911 call following an incident with his wife, Shannon, in December. The charges were retired by a Tennessee court on Dec. 21, and will be dismissed in December provided there are no other offenses committed before then.

Wright spoke publicly about the charges for the first time Wednesday. Though the league’s investigation prevented him from getting into specifics – he said he’s yet to talk with investigators – the 33-year-old denied assaulting his wife.

“I never touched her. And that’s probably the hardest thing for me: to sit there and see people talk about being a wife beater all that stuff when I didn’t even make physical contact,” he said, according to MassLive’s Christopher Smith. “But that’s really all I’m allowed to say right now because I want to honor MLB and their investigation.”

Wright added that he and his wife have been attending counseling.

While the court retired the criminal charges against him, he still faces a possible suspension from commissioner Rob Manfred if MLB finds he violated the league’s joint domestic violence policy. There’s no timetable for the internal investigation’s completion.

Wright, an All-Star in 2016, only pitched in five games last season due to knee surgery, and his status for Opening Day remains unknown.

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The current dismantling of the Miami Marlins following the sale of the team to a group led by Derek Jeter has not gone smoothly so far. Jeter faced plenty of jeers during a recent town hall with season-ticket holders, and even the loyal “Marlins Man” let the team know of his disappointment.

Amid the strong backlash from fans after multiple star players were traded away, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday that his office was unaware of the Marlins’ intentions to slash payroll to this extent.

It turns out that may not be accurate. When Jeter’s ownership group was pursuing the franchise, they were required to tell other owners of their payroll-related plans, sources told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Owners were told the plan was to cut payroll from $115 million to a range between $85 million and $90 million.

When asked if he knew of Jeter’s plans on Wednesday, Manfred replied, “No. We did not have player-specific plans from the Miami Marlins or any other team during the approval ownership process. Those are decisions the individual owners make. We do not approve operating decisions by any ownership, new owner or current owners. As a result, the answer is no.”

However, that answer was disputed by one of Jackson’s sources.

“Commissioner said (he) was not aware of (Jeter’s) plan to slash payroll,” the source said. “Absolutely not true. They request and receive the operating plan from all bidders.”

Wherever the truth lies, the relationship in Miami between the franchise, its fans, and both current and former players is in need of some serious work.

 

Less than 24 hours after Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter defended his recent moves to slash payroll to a group of aggrieved season-ticket holders, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred threw his support behind the team’s new ownership group, saying they deserve a chance to show their “long-term commitment to winning.”

In a tense interview on “The Dan Le Batard Show” on ESPN Radio, Manfred also snapped back Wednesday at the accusation that he cared more about maximizing the franchise’s purchase price than finding an ownership group that was both financially capable and inclined to operate the team in good faith.

“Can I tell you something? You actually have no idea what I care about and don’t care about,” Manfred said. “The fact of the matter is, a competitive club in each one of our 30 markets is my foremost concern.

“This is really simple. We approved a very well-funded group that made numerous presentations to us about their commitment to provide winning baseball in South Florida over the long haul. That’s generally what we look for in the approval process.”

Since buying the club for $1.2 billion in October, the Marlins’ new ownership group, fronted by Jeter, has traded away Giancarlo StantonMarcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon to offset expected financial losses in 2018 – a series of cost-cutting moves reminiscent of the fire sales engineered by former owner Jeffrey Loria.

Though the deals have sparked considerable ire in south Florida – both at the Marlins’ new owners and the league for approving them – Manfred explained that the club’s level of debt was the same before and after the sale, and emphasized that the commissioner’s office doesn’t get involved in operating-level decisions or ask for player-specific plans in the ownership approval process.

“I understand the concerns that have been expressed in South Florida …” Manfred said. “There have been two World Series champions in South Florida. Whether people like everything that’s happened in between, after, or not, there are a lot of markets that would make that trade in terms of having those two World Series champions.

“I said this before. This group deserves a fair opportunity to demonstrate that they have a long-term commitment to winning.”

The Atlanta Braves now-deposed general manager, John Coppolella, apparently wasn’t forthcoming in MLB’s investigation into the team’s international signings.

The Braves wound up losing 12 prospects acquired through international signings to free agency, and Coppolella was placed on the permanently ineligible list for his role in the signings.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred provided some additional information about why Coopolella was banned during a radio appearance Tuesday.

“I think that it was important to send a message about how seriously we take our rules and how seriously we take violations of those rules, particularly in the international market,” Manfred explained to ESPN Radio’s Golic and Wingo when asked about Coppolella’s ban.

“Secondly, this was behavior that went on over a period of years and very pervasive in terms of the activity … Unfortunately, while the Braves were completely cooperative in the investigative process, I can’t say the same for John.”

A number of front-office changes were the result of the investigation, including Coppolella resigning, while assistant GM Gordon Blakeley and senior advisor John Hart both left their positions as well.

Alex Anthopoulos was named Braves’ GM on Nov. 13.