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MLB Commish Manfred hopes games in Cuba happen next spring


MLB Commish Manfred hopes games in Cuba happen next spring

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Will there be an Orioles game in Cuba next March?

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred won’t endorse the Orioles playing there, but he would like to see games in Cuba.

“I hope so. There are a variety of issues involved there, not all of which are not wholly within baseball’s control,” Manfred said.


Manfred spoke at a press briefing Tuesday morning at the General Managers meetings.

The Orioles were the last major league team to play in Cuba in March 1999. They played against the Cuban National team.

“The federal government has some significant influence on whether that’s going to take place, and there are issues that need to be resolved before that can happen, but I’d like to say ‘yes’ to that. I’m still committed to the idea that it would be a good thing for baseball to be able to play in Cuba next spring,” Manfred said.

Manfred said there was no hard deadline to decide on games.

“We’ve got a little time still,” Manfred said with a laugh.

The Orioles’ first scheduled spring training game is March 1.

“There’s isn’t really a firm cutoff. We’re going to proceed internally and get to the point where we sort of identify who would go, meaning which club would go, if we can get it done and one club maintaining flexibility with respect to a spring training date is a lot easier than 25 clubs maintaining that flexibility on the theory that they don’t know who we’re going to pick to go,” Manfred said.

On other topics of note, Manfred said a possible rule change on sliding into bases was being studied and will be discussed at next week’s owners meetings. The Players Association must also agree on any possible change.

-He said the qualifying offer system was working well. In its first three years, none of the 34 players receiving an offer accepted one. Twenty, including Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, have received qualifying offers this year. The deadline for accepting them is Friday at 5 p.m.

-Manfred is encouraged by the elected change in St. Petersburg, Fla. city government. He’s optimistic that the Tampa Bay Rays could have a new home in the area in the near future.

-On the question of stadium safety, Manfred said that it would be hard to have uniform rules on netting down the foul lines because ballparks differ so much.

-Manfred said he hoped to have a decision on Pete Rose’s application for reinstatement by the end of the year.

-He has few issues with the strike zone. “The umpire’s calling of the strike zone is probably more consistent than it’s ever been in the history of the game.”

-The commissioner’s office issued a statement on the domestic abuse charges against Colorado’s Jose Reyes. Manfred said the policy on the issue negotiated with the Players Association was a good one, and this will be the first test.

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.


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2018 MLB All-Star Game voting update: Manny Machado maintains big lead among A.L. shortstops

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2018 MLB All-Star Game voting update: Manny Machado maintains big lead among A.L. shortstops

Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado took an even larger lead in the latest update for 2018 MLB All-Star Game voting.

The superstar shortstop maintained his position at the top of American League shortstops in the second round of All-Star voting updates, released Tuesday morning. 

After the first ballot was released, Machado led the shortstops category by over 100,00 votes.

This week, he now holds north of a 200,000-vote lead over last year’s American League starter, Carlos Correa.

The Astros’ Correa jumped from fourth to second this past week while the Indians’ Francisco Lindor dropped to third.  

Machado now has 671,133 votes, seventh among all American League players. For the second straight week, Machado remained the only Orioles player on the list.

Through 69 games in 2018, Machado is batting .310 with 18 home runs, 15 doubles and 53 RBIs. He is posting his best OPS (.945) and on-base percentage (.377) in his career, a bright spot for the O’s, who sit dead last in MLB with a 20-50 record.

The All-Star voting will be open until July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET and fans can vote five times every 24 hours.

The next AL voting update will be announced June 26.