MLB commissioner Rob Manfred held a wide-ranging news conference on Tuesday at the MLB Winter Meetings
SAN DIEGO — Touching on topics ranging from the future of the Oakland A’s to the impact of big contracts handed out to Trea Turner and Justin Verlander on the first day of the MLB Winter Meetings, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred held court with members of the media on Tuesday here in San Diego.
Here are some of the big highlights of Manfred’s media session that lasted just over 20 minutes.
Rob Manfred shared plenty at the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego
On the Oakland A’s and their potential relocation to Las Vegas
“We’re past any reasonable timeline for the situation in Oakland to be resolved. If you read the Collective Bargaining Agreement, you know there is an actual trigger in there, I think it’s like the 15th of January, 2024, and they need to have a deal by then, so this is a very, very important year.
“If Oakland wants to keep the A’s, they need to figure out a way to get a deal in front of the A’s that acceptable.
“An owner who is prepared to invest a billion dollars in building a statement is an unbelievable commitment on the part of ownership.
“I have not spoken to the new mayor (Sheng Thao) yet, but I will in the near future. I’m pleased to report that it is my understanding that she’s been supportive of the project.”
On lawsuits among the Angelos family that could impact the future of the Baltimore Orioles
“As long as I have this job, I think you can count on the fact that the Orioles are going to be in Baltimore.”
On the sale of the Los Angeles Angels
“There are multiple parties in the data room, which is where you actually see financial information. It’s an important step in the process. My understanding is that the club would like to have the sale resolved before Opening Day.”
On the possibility of the Boston Red Sox or Chicago Cubs hosting an All-Star Game in the near future
“We have Seattle next season. We have Texas in 2024, and we know we’re going to Philadelphia in 2026. So the window is there for 2025 or after 2026.
“We’re lucky, and this is in the category of embarrassment of riches, that we have a number of really good cities that are very interested in having All-Star Games. These are cities that will allow us an opportunity to raise the profile of the game and have a great celebration. We’re going to try to make the best decisions we can about where we’re going to go.”
Looking back on the decision to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in 2021
“I think that everything you do, whether you get it exactly right or not, I hope you still have the capacity to learn from it. I think that we have really focused on the idea that we need to make decisions that are as inclusive and welcoming to everyone as possible, and keep us as apolitical as possible and put us in a position to do whatever it is that we’re looking to do in any one of our events.”
On if he has spoken to Texas governor Greg Abbott, who said he would boycott MLB events after the All-Star Game decision impacting Atlanta and Denver (the Texas Rangers will host the ASG in 2024)
“I’m going to give you a one-word answer on that and no more, out of respect to the governor, and the answer to that is yes.”
On what he is looking for with the upcoming rule changes
“It’s a combination of things because each rule is a little different. I do think, overall, we’re hoping and our experience suggests there will be an improvement in pace of play and more offensive action, not only with balls in play but the running game as well.
“52 percent of the players in the big leagues last year had played with a pitch clock. There will be a period of adjustment and I always try to go out of my way to recognize that. A lot of players have told me in the last few months that there is a big difference between minor league baseball and Major League Baseball, and I understand all of those things. I do think there will be a period of adjustment but these are great athletes and they will adjust to these changes.”
On the big contracts already handed out this offseason
“The free agent market is going to be what it is, right? It’s a product of a whole bunch of economic forces and individual decisions by process of what they want to do.
“On the positive side, a week in December where this is a focus on players and where they’re going to be is a good thing in terms of marketing the game. On the downside, everyone in this room understands the real level of revenue disparity in this sport that makes it impossible for some of our markets to compete. Like everything else, there is good and bad.”