Man­fred: Trump should not im­pact MLB in­ter­na­tional plans

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Ron­ald Blum

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. » Base­ball Com­mis­sioner Rob Man­fred does not think Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion as pres­i­dent will slow the sport’s plans to stage more events in Latin Amer­ica.

Ex­pand­ing in­ter­na­tional play has been one of Man­fred’s goals since suc­ceed­ing Bud Selig as com­mis­sioner in Jan­uary 2015. San Diego and Hous­ton played a two-game spring train­ing se­ries this year in Mex­ico City, where the sport opened an of­fice last March and which Man­fred has men­tioned as a pos­si­ble ex­pan­sion site.

Tampa Bay met Cuba’s na­tional team in Ha­vana on March 22, the first visit to the is­land by a big league base­ball club since 1999. MLB hopes to es­tab­lish a process that would al­low Cuban res­i­dents to sign big league con­tracts.

“Haven’t heard any­thing with re­spect to the Cuba is­sue that would sug­gest that there’s go­ing to be any change, and I think we’re all fa­mil­iar with things he said about Mex­ico,” Man­fred said Wed­nes­day at the an­nual gen­eral man­agers meet­ing. “I think we need to wait and see what ac­tu­ally hap­pens.”

Team ex­ec­u­tives and agents dis­cussing deals watched elec­tion cov­er­age in shock Tues­day night in the Mbar off the cen­tral court­yard at the Omni Scottsdale Re­sort & Spa at Mon­telu­cia, some with looks of an­guish on their faces.

Man­fred opened his news con­fer­ence by stat­ing: “It’s been an in­ter­est­ing cou­ple of weeks. Cubs won the World Se­ries for the first time in 108 years. Don­ald Trump got elected pres­i­dent. Pretty in­ter­est­ing all the way around. So here we are.” He then laughed.

On other top­ics:

Col­lec­tive Bar­gain­ing

Dan Halem, base­ball’s chief le­gal of­fi­cer, up­dated GMs on talks for a la­bor con­tract to re­place the five-year deal that ex­pires Dec. 1. Man­fred had hoped for an agree­ment be­fore the end of the World Se­ries last week. Teams with high pay­rolls would like to know the level of the lux­ury-tax thresh­old, which was $189 mil­lion this year.

“There’s a cou­ple of nat­u­ral dead­lines,” Man­fred said. “One is the be­gin­ning of free agency and the other one’s ob­vi­ously the ex­pi­ra­tion date. Well, we missed dead­line one, so we’re look­ing at dead­line two now.”

Jeurys Familia

Man­fred said he an­tic­i­pated it would take time for MLB to in­ves­ti­gate New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia un­der its do­mes­tic vi­o­lence pol­icy. A com­plaint in mu­nic­i­pal court in Fort Lee, New Jersey, dated Oct. 31 al­leged the All-Star pitcher caused “bod­ily in­jury to an­other.” A hear­ing is sched­uled for Nov. 14.

“I think that it is usu­ally dif­fi­cult for us to com­plete our in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­fore the crim­i­nal process has run its course,” Man­fred said. “We have the lux­ury of not be­ing on the field right now, and we’re go­ing to take ad­van­tage of that.”

2020 Tokyo Olympics

MLB has not yet spo­ken with the World Base­ball Soft­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Ja­panese base­ball and Olympic of­fi­cials would like ma­jor lea­guers to par­tic­i­pate, but MLB and its play­ers are re­luc­tant be­cause the Olympics will be held from July 24 to Aug. 9.

“We’ve had an ex­change of let­ters, We’ve asked them to come in and ex­plain ex­actly what the pro­gram is go­ing to look like in or­der to put us in a po­si­tion to make a firm eval­u­a­tion,” Man­fred said.

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