Commissioner Rob Manfred Visits the Cleveland Indians

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As new commissioner Rob Manfred embarks on his first season at the helm of Major League Baseball, Manfred met with the players and coaches of the Cleveland Indians yesterday in Goodyear, Ariz. According to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Manfred’s meeting, which was similar to various sit-downs that have occurred with a number of other clubs this Spring, was both to introduce himself and to discuss some issues that Major League Baseball will encounter over his tenure as Commissioner.

After meeting with Tribe players yesterday, Manfred made himself available to reporters and, although he did not provide any updates on the Pete Rose reinstatement issue, he did discuss attendance at Progressive Field and an international draft.

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Manfred addressed low attendance in Cleveland, saying that attendance is “an episodic activity” and that he was confident Tribe ownership can “produce the kind of product on the field that will result in good attendance in Cleveland.  Cleveland is a Major League market, and it will support a Major League team.”

Manfred went on to say that having international players enter the league via a draft would help with competitive balance, as the system in place now is no longer working. According to Manfred:

"With the relaxation that’s taken place with respect of Cuban players, it has put a stress test on that international system. Frankly, it has proved wanting. I am of the view that at some point, for the good of the game, for the good of competitive balance, we are going to have an international draft."

He was not able to greatly elaborate, as any changes to the current method would need approval from the MLB Player’s Association, but did suggest a preference to one singular draft opposed to two drafts. Paul Hoynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group expanded upon Manfred’s thoughts on an international draft.  

Manfred’s brief appearance in Goodyear yesterday provided players and fans some insight into his goals and visions as commissioner, but his announcement today that he will throw out the first pitch on Opening Day at Nationals Park leaves him with a more immediate goal – making sure his toss makes it to the plate.

Next: Indians Have Leverage in Corey Kluber Negotiations

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