Search For New MLB Commish Down To Three, As Some Owners Reportedly Stump For Werner
MLB's search committee "has identified" COO Rob Manfred, Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan and Red Sox Chair Tom Werner as the three finalists to replace Commissioner Bud Selig, and the league will "vote on the successor Aug. 14," according to a source cited by Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Approval is required from 23 of 30 owners to elect a commissioner. Selig "is scheduled to stay aboard until Jan. 24, 2015" and "expected to remain in baseball in a limited capacity." The search committee "finalized their Commissioner's candidate list late last week, and will present the trio to MLB's executive council at their quarterly owners' meetings next week in Baltimore" (USA TODAY, 8/6). In N.Y., Bill Madden notes MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman "was also believed to be a candidate for the commissioner’s job." But sources said that he "told the committee he preferred to stay in his present job." Sources added that MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations Joe Torre, who "had expressed mild interest in the job, was not considered by the committee" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/6).
FIRM WERNING: Werner last night said, "A number of owners asked me to consider the position. I am not running against Rob Manfred, but to be able to articulate my vision for the future." In Boston, Peter Abraham cites sources as saying that Werner "greatly impressed the committee with his thoughts during the initial round of interviews." Werner: "I have ideas that I believe the owners should hear" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/6). Also in Boston, Michael Silverman notes if Werner "were to be named commissioner, he would likely have to sell his ownership stake in the Red Sox." Few "expected to see Werner’s name among the finalists ... but he is a familiar face, as well as an owner." That last fact "could wind up helping his candidacy if the owners, just as they did with Selig, are inclined to trust one of their own kind to best represent their interests" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/6). However, the N.Y. Times' Jorge Arangure wrote, "Pretty laughable that Tom Werner, who nearly killed baseball in San Diego, is a candidate for commissioner." The San Diego Union-Tribune's Jay Posner wrote, "That Tom Werner for commissioner thing is a joke, right? Who'd he beat out, Jeff Moorad? Roseanne?" (TWITTER.com, 8/6).
BEHIND THE SCENES: ESPN.com's Jayson Stark noted Manfred "has long been viewed as the favorite to succeed Selig." However, sources said that a dissenting group, which "has been led" by White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf and Angels Owner Arte Moreno, "has nominated Werner for the job and has been working behind the scenes to rally the eight votes needed to block Manfred's election." If no candidate "is elected on the first ballot, owners would have to hold a second vote -- and possibly more -- until a candidate is finally elected." Manfred "has been to Selig what Adam Silver was to former NBA commissioner David Stern -- a longtime trusted aide who negotiated labor deals, handled crises such as the Dodgers' bankruptcy saga and was intimately involved in major issues ranging from drug testing to revenue sharing." Manfred "has taken criticism in recent months, however, for some of the methods baseball employed in its controversial Biogenesis investigation." Brosnan "has worked in the commissioner's office for 23 years and has had his hands in every significant broadcasting, licensing and sponsorship issue for more than a decade" (ESPN.com, 8/5). CBSSPORTS.com's Jon Heyman reported Reinsdorf "might possibly also favor a potential fourth fall-back candidate," D-Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. Manfred in any case "is seen as a strong favorite after a big last couple years in which he negotiated a CBA more favorable to owners." While Reinsdorf "declined to say even who has his support, and in fact suggested he only has a 'leaning' at the moment, he did suggest no one should assume anyone always sees eye-to-eye with anyone else, no matter how close they may be" (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/5).
A LASTING LEGACY? SI's Joe Sheehan writes baseball was "unequivocally, permanently changed" by Selig's time in office. Twenty-two years "after he took over as acting commissioner, we're watching pennant-race baseball that would be nearly unrecognizable to fans a generation ago." With two months remaining in the season, Selig's "fingerprints are all over the standings, the schedule, the game on the field and the maneuvers in the front offices." Driving revenue to small-market teams like the Mariners, Indians and Royals was one of Selig's "pet projects" (SI, 8/4 issue). However, in L.A., Bill Shaikin writes on his way out, Selig "might be stained again with the residue of a drug scandal." Biogenesis Founder Anthony Bosch "has agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy to distribute testosterone." A source yesterday said that in cooperating with MLB last year, Bosch "told league officials he had given them 'all the names he had,'" related to his clinic's doping scandal. An ESPN report indicated that multiple players not previously linked to Biogenesis "were identified in the federal investigation." If those names "are released, the inevitable suspensions could affect the pennant races and the free-agent market" (L.A. TIMES, 8/6).